To say that Halo Infinite’s path thus far has been tortuous would be an understatement. Originally planned as a launch title for the Xbox series, it received a full year delay after the initial reveal was plagued by a number of technical issues. However, it turned out that the year was not enough time to improve the game. Although most of the technical issues have been removed, Infinite lacks many features expected at launch. Halo fans are used to things like co-op multiplayer and Forge, but those things were completely absent.
343 Industries has doubled down on the game, promising to add these features later. The Slipspace Engine aims to make updates easy to implement.
It’s now been a year and a half since Halo Infinite’s initial launch, and 343 seems to have lived up to its promise. The game now has Campaign Co-Op, Forge, and a dedicated game browser, and just launched Season 3 of the free-to-play narrative-driven multiplayer.
Moving on to Season 3 after taking a break from the game is great. Returning to Halo always feels like coming home: immaculate gun duels, a chaotic mix of foot and vehicular combat, original sound design, and many other aspects very unique to Halo, and Infinite does these things as well as any other game in the franchise. Finally, it feels like a completed game.
The third season has many new experiences that you will love. The new maps are excellent. In particular, I’m fond of the new Big Team Battle map, Oasis. It brings some much needed variety to the game’s color palette, and it plays as well as it looks. The first time I picked up this map and jumped into a piggy bank, I couldn’t help but get a huge grin on my face. That smile only widened as I began to mow down the opponents and hear the match announcer yell, “Killing Spree! Double Kill! Triple Kill!”
The new official maps aren’t the only new maps I have to play. Infinite now has a huge roster of Creator maps, all built into the very powerful Forge mode. Some of these maps were completely new, while many were exceptional rehashes of classic Halo maps. Veterans of the series will be happy to see the return of The Pitt and Damnation, to name a few. It feels great like picking up a sniper rifle on these maps and hunting down some Spartan enemies. Just make sure you are not on the losing side of those duels.
Season 3 also has some new toys to play with, and this season’s weapon is a new familiar favorite. Dubbed the M392 Bandit, it’s basically the DMR you know and love from Halo Reach, Halo 4, and Halo 5, albeit without the long-range scope. This gun is as punchy and accurate as you’d expect, and a worthy addition to the sandbox.
Also new to Season 3 is the Shroud Screen, a type of holographic smoke screen that will block enemy lines of sight but not grenades or bullets. I found my favorite way to use this new game when I had an energy sword. Simply throw a Shroud Screen over some enemies so they can’t see you coming, and charge right in while hacking through anything that turns your reticle red. It’s easy to exaggerate.
Now that Halo Infinite is finally a full game, it’s time to look forward a bit. Remember, this is supposed to be a 10 year game, and now that you’re finally on the right track, will 343 take the opportunity to turn things around and try to hit us with something out of left field? Infinite now has the expected stuff, but it could use some unexpected stuff.
Because of the leak, we already know the beloved Infection mode is back. Previous games in the series also contain unexpected modes, such as Halo 3’s Firefight or Halo 5’s Warzone. Personally, I’d love to see these modes return to Infinite with some updated features and functionality. But much of the gaming world has a different mode in their collective mind: Battle Royale. Now that Infinite is a full game, what’s to stop 343 from putting a custom BR mode into Halo Infinite?
Any of these modes will add more replayability to Halo Infinite, as well as returning players to gameplay elements they have enjoyed in every other Halo game. The combination of these experiences, consistent seasonal launches, and a worthwhile battle pass can do wonders for a game.
And don’t forget, there are even whispers about Halo Infinite getting additional campaign content on the way. A new race of aliens known as the Endless were introduced in the Infinite Campaign, and the incarnation of these mysterious beings in the story expansion would energize a large group of Spartans who couldn’t care less about the competitive multiplayer aspect of the experience.
What will happen next is still a bit of a mystery. Word on the street is that the engine Slipspace spent all those years building is kind of a nightmare to use, and the developer wants to try and port the game over to the Unreal Engine. If that’s the case, it may be a while before we add any of these huge modes.
But even if 343 isn’t able to add every little thing we want, we can at least be happy knowing that every time we launch the game from now on, it will have the content we love and expect from the series. Going forward, the release of Halo Infinite will be a return to that game that many of us have loved for 20 years. After all, there is nothing else quite like Halo.
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