Let’s Talk… Halo Infinite Multiplayer

You could think that this review is overdue, but that’s simply because I have been playing loads of it.  According to Steam so far I’m sitting at over 26 hours, and I’ve loved every moment.  I desperately wanted the series to return the feel of the old days, and it’s safe to say with this version of the Halo Infinite Multiplayer, 343 Industries have finally captured what Bungie mastered with the original.  They’re still classing this as a beta, though I’m not entirely sure why.  When you’re playing you don’t encounter anything that would associate it with a beta, like bugs or the feel of it being incomplete.  I can only assume it’s because the single player component isn’t here yet.  However, it’s a mere few hours away at this stage.  Every entry since Bungie retired from development duties has been okay, and their remakes have been on point, but the PvP has always been off.  It’s just not felt right, and it’s not had the same Halo feeling of old.  This changes all that, they really have done a marvellous job and it’s fun again!

The gun play in the Halo Infinite Multiplayer is spot on, landing the battle rifle headshots feels so good, and the pistol seems perfectly balanced.  In the past the pistol has had a tendency to be far too powerful, yet here most of the weapons are a joy to use.  The assault rifle feels like it has a purpose unlike the last two games where using it online never felt a wise choice.  The only weapons I feel that are wasted and very rarely used by players are the alien weapons, like the Pulse Carbine and Shock rifle.  Both seem to be left to one side, unloved, whilst the Skewer and Needler on the other hand are a ton of fun.  The Skewer is a one shot kill with a drawback in the length of time it takes to reload, yet because it essentially shoots a large pointy needle of instant death into enemies you need to be highly accurate to land the shot.  It’s a shame though that whilst there is plenty of choice with the weapons, they don’t all get used and I sense they just need a few tweaks to make them worthwhile.

Speaking of choice, Halo Infinite Multiplayer has had some stick already due to the play list options.  There is ranked play, big team battle, bot play and finally quick play, but within these what you can’t choose is the mode e.g., SWAT or the returning Oddball.  That said, I have found it quite refreshing you can’t which may seem odd, but I’ve mostly stuck to rank play and it’s nice because it mixes things up.  It’s random what match type you’ll get so it may go from Capture the Flag to Oddball and then to a classic slayer match.  This makes the evening’s gameplay more interesting as it forces a constant change on how to play each game.  Of course, long term this needs to change as it’s the reason why the player base find this frustrating as you may just want some SWAT action with a group of friends, and in good news 343i have confirmed more options are coming soon.

To support the rotating modes, the map design is brilliant, and I haven’t found a map I dislike.  There are maps that feel too big for 4v4 such as Launch site, but that’s not the maps’ fault, it’s the player number that’s the issue.  There are two maps which I’d say are perfect for balance, these are Streets and Recharge with both quick to navigate around and give great intense combat, yet have enough options to engage differently without ever feeling it’s unfair depending on where you spawn.  These also have power weapons placed about so that you feel you always have a chance to get one.  Streets also gives the feel of a classic city environment, which is not something often seen in the Halo Infinite Multiplayer, and due to this it feels more believable.  You get a feeling that you’re engaged more in the universe.  Recharge on the other hand is a classic power station which has some good vertical points for combat, but each area interconnects well and it leads to some close combat fun.  Of course I have to mention big team battle as I’ve had some great moments in this.  This is 12v12 on larger maps with vehicles… and brings on excellent moments.  Grappling a Banshee mid-air and stealing it to then splatter people instead of using guns will bring a big grin to anyone’s face; as would using the little quad Gungoose for darting quick attacks.  There is one thing that doesn’t sit right in particular and that’s the footsteps audio.  Considering all players are running around in super armoured suits it’s… well… quiet.  There are times you will be hit from behind and you won’t have heard them coming which not only makes it baffling, it’s annoying too.

Interestingly, Microsoft has decided that the Halo Infinite Multiplayer is free to play, which is something that hasn’t done before.  This does mean that there’s a battle pass system, because they need to make money to fund it after all.  Most multiplayer shooters that go this route all have micro transactions of some kind too, and it’s the same here, but it’s all cosmetic and you can’t buy any form of advantage.  Simply put – to get the kills you have to use your skills.  Putting your Spartan in a fancy suit gives you no in game benefits whatsoever, you may just look a bit prettier.  The downside to this battle pass system compared to say Apex Legends is the sheer grind.  It’s been mentioned plenty in forums since the launch and it has been tweaked slightly, but the progress is slow compared to other games that use a similar system.  I’ve done 26 hours focused on some challenges where I can and bought nothing besides the initial pass, and am only just scraping level 13.  Considering the game time that’s not great.  That said, I’ve bought into the pass mainly because I’ve been having so much fun and I wanted 343i to get something from me for it.

Halo Infinite Multiplayer has brought so many players back from the old days and it’s all because it really does have the classic Halo feeling again.  Cross-play helps massively in this, and when you have a group of people, some on PC and others on Xbox, it makes it easy to keep playing together.  It’s been a blast each time.  With the work that’s been put in, and it being backed by Microsoft to keep the base accessible, I really can see this going on for years, especially if there are more events and the progression gets re-balanced.  Got to go though… it’s time for me to return to the Gungoose and Banshee madness.  See you out there Spartans!

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The newest member of the Codec Moments team… you can find me on nearly every gaming platform there is.

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