Halo Infinite has a lot to live up to with its multiplayer, so first impressions are very important right out of the gate. The previous 343 Industries releases have received mixed reactions all around are generally considered to be the weaker entries in the Halo franchise. However, one consistent bright spot has been the multiplayer in both Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians; if nothing else, 343 knows how to make a pretty fun multiplayer mode, even if it isn’t traditionally Halo.
On November 16th, the beta version of the Halo Infinite multiplayer was stealth dropped for gamers to enjoy before the official release on December 8th. The full version of the mode will be free to play regardless, so this beta is essentially a preview of things to come. So, having said all that, how does the multiplayer stack up in Halo Infinite? Did 343 succeed in what Bungie did long ago before moving on to Destiny? Or are we going to have to hope that the single-player is going to hold the entire game on its shoulders?
Spar with some Spartans
I’ve never been the best at Halo multiplayer, as I only try my damnedest to get as many kills as I can, but Halo Infinite has encouraged me to try harder and get good as of now. When starting my first ever match in Halo Infinite, I got completely creamed. There was no way I could keep up with the more experienced players that already had a grasp of things. It really is a different kind of beast when compared to other competitive shooters. But it’s so much fun, even when you’re getting decimated by the enemy team time after time.
The disparity between an experienced and inexperienced player is fairly wide, but the learning curve is reasonable enough that you can bridge that gap with some effort. To help with that endeavor, 343 was gracious enough to include some training modules for you to use, like weapon challenges that let you play with every currently available weapon and bot matches to practice in. Every single feature is well designed and does a good job of preparing you for real matches.
The gameplay itself is fast, frenetic, and filled with plenty of choices; do you want to equip the powerup that allows you to do a quick dash around your opponents? Or do you pick up the active camo and quietly rack up those assassination medals for yourself? Or do you just go full Rambo and use the Overshield to become an unkillable monster for a brief period of time? You get plenty of options to approach combat and all of them feel pretty viable. You’re encouraged to use your tools to be as aggressive as possible; however, if you’re unfamiliar with how gunplay works in Halo Infinite, your aggression might lead you to many unnecessary deaths in your first couple of matches.
Learning where to push and when to play it safe is the key to victory in these matches and they definitely require you to learn the map as quickly as you can. The maps themselves (that are currently available) are varied and fairly well designed, with many allowing a variety of different play styles and places to retreat, regroup, and refocus efforts on outfoxing your opponents. Having said that, it’s easy to overlook these elements when starting out, and it’s easy to get caught in various chokepoints when you’re still coming to grips with the map layout.
What are good maps without any good game modes that take advantage of them? Well, don’t worry, there are plenty of game modes to pick from, especially various fan favorites like Slayer, Oddball, Big Team Battle, and Capture the Flag. Capture the Flag has been my favorite so far, as it’s a game mode that isn’t over until you’ve got all three points; just because you’re ahead and one point away from winning, doesn’t mean that the other team can’t turn the tables completely in seconds. I’ve had a blast with every game mode and have found myself jumping in joy whenever my team and I won a match by the skin of our teeth.
Is Halo is back for real? (Kind of)
Halo Infinite is nothing like its predecessors, but it definitely doesn’t have to be; what I’ve experienced myself over several matches has been nothing short of fun and a bright spot for the franchise. The purchasable Battle Pass is the only sticking point at the moment, as you level it by completing challenges, and it’s so. Damn. Slow. I just ranked up once sometime before writing this article and that was over the course of several matches. 343 has addressed this and has made tweaks to make the process of leveling it less grindy, but here’s to hoping that they continue to tweak it to be just even less grindy.
Thankfully, you can complete any Battle Pass well after it leaves the store; it’s a really customer friendly move in a landscape of passes that just aren’t friendly at all (looking at you, Destiny).
As far as betas go, this one has been one of my favorites as of late, and I’d strongly recommend you give it a shot if you have a PC or Xbox. It’s free and will still be free even after its official launch on December 8th. Any progress you make during the beta will carry over to the full version of multiplayer, so it’s a good chance to get a head start on those rank-ups.
I hope to see you all out on the field, Spartans.