The first Halo Infinite Multiplayer weekend has come and gone, and it’s fair to say from the outpouring of support from fans on twitter and forums that it’s been a rousing success. From Halo Infinite’s initial reveal there’s been a lot of worry about this upcoming title. After having laid hands on the game itself, what is it about the Halo Infinite Multiplayer weekend that felt so good?
There are a lot of tweaks from Halo 5 to Infinite. It’s been no secret that from Halo 4 onwards there was a much larger emphasis on the eSports and competitive angle of Halo. The game got faster, introduced common mechanics like sprinting, and opted for smaller teams in competitive settings. While Halo Infinite definitely still feels like a game that’s being targeted at players who may be looking to get involved competitively, there are also a few mechanic changes that do make Infinite feel more Halo and less Call of Duty or Battlefield.
There are still smaller teams and faster-paced combat but elements like the ADS are less extreme and sprinting has also been given a sizable nerf. Where sprinting would be required in Halo 5 to get around the map quickly, in Halo Infinite you get maybe a 5-10% boost in speed. The downsides of sprinting, like active camo being less useful and being louder as you stomp around the map, can outweigh that additional speed. I still have some personal grievances with getting pulled out of ADS every time you take a hit; in some scenarios can make it feel a lot less useful, especially as the starting weapon was the AR. Even sniping from a distance, the fire rate of an AR can really ruin any chance you have of picking off targets.
A lot of the guns included in the Halo Infinite Alpha were ones that fans will be familiar with, starting the test with the AR and Magnum. Around the map, you’d find BRs, Plasma Pistols, Needlers, new weapons like the skewer, and more. Standouts so far are the added speed and precision to the AR, especially if that’s going to be the starting weapon for Halo Infinite, and the needler feeling satisfying whether shooting or punching enemies away. The Skewer is a new one-hit-kill weapon where you fire a metal stake at an enemy. This high power is adequately balanced across its LONG reload time.
One of the biggest changes across the multiplayer was the inclusion of bots, a series first. The performance of these bots was… interesting to say the least. The bots, at ODST difficulty level that I assume is medium, displayed some really fantastic skill in weapon selection, seeking out abilities and Power Weapons, and sticking together as a squad. This level of coordination really gave them the upper hand; there was a not-insignificant number of times I’d be moving through a map on my own and turn a corner to stare down the barrel of four Assault Rifles.
For every moment that they each seemed unique and skilled, there would be the equivalent time where they were clearly bots working from the same script. Throwing a grenade towards two bots they both looked to the side and jumped in perfect synchronism. As I played more, it would also be easier to predict where the pack would be in relation to weapons spawning around the map. They were fun to face off against, and still managed to get the upper hand more times than I probably want to admit, but still gave off a very ‘bot’ feel to them.
To play around with some of the weapons in a bit of a less threatening environment, the Weapon Drills allowed players to pick from any of the available weapons and fire them off in a shooting gallery-like simulation. The levels of targets range from standing enemies to running enemies, and enemies that will actively avoid you. Beyond practice and trying to achieve a new high score on the range, you likely won’t be spending much time here though.
Customization is back in a big way. While a lot of the cosmetics and color schemes were locked behind the upcoming “season 1” of the battle pass, there was still a lot to see. For returning Halo fans you’ll see a lot of the same customization that you enjoy. It was particularly neat to see options for robotic limbs on your spartans.
As this was practically an alpha, there were all kinds of rough patches while playing. Some of my larger bugs included not being able to turn off an artificial limb in the customization menu, losing the ability to zoom in with weapons until I picked up a new one, and at one point while playing Halo Infinite my inputs completely stopped responding, prompting me to restart the game. Obviously frustrations while playing, I would hazard a guess that they’ll be improved in time for Halo Infinite’s launch… which we still don’t have set in stone.
This Halo Infinite multiplayer weekend has done a good job bolstering my confidence in the game. I was never overly worried from footage seen at prior events, or of the gameplay shown, but having it in my hands has me really excited for Halo Infinite's upcoming release. The balancing of competitive multiplayer with those subtle changes to make it more Halo will definitely help the multiplayer stand its ground and carve out a place in its competitive scene.