Xbox has been having an incredible week this week, and it isn't stopping. Last night we got our first look at Halo Infinite's free multiplayer in a new technical preview that aired last night and will be playable to those who "enlist" on Halo Waypoint this weekend. I have loved Halo ever since I first got hands-on with the OG Xbox and fell in love with the multiplayer with Halo 3. I will be honest after Halo 5, I have been quite on the fence about Halo Infinite and what direction it may go in. Before I go into my take from last nights preview stream, it is important to say that what we are looking at in the technical preview is not the final take of Halo Infinite. We are seeing a preview of what to expect and a lot of changes that could happen between now and launch. The opinions I share below are also not my final take on Halo Infinite and are only based on what I have currently seen from the live stream that aired last night and previous articles and trailers from 343 Industries.
Unfortunately, this preview has not budged me from the fence. The trailer that was shown at the beginning of the showcase was full of hype and exciting moments, but when we got our first moments checking out the map Bazaar, all I could think was this is Call of Duty with Halo weapons. My first impressions were that this looks like every other modern FPS at the moment. I like that customisation is playing a bigger role. However, removing red vs blue in team game modes also takes away a certain charm that Halo used to have.
Moving away from the first map, I am impressed by the numerous skills and abilities we will be able to add to our armoury, which will include the grapple that we also saw in the Halo Infinite story trailers and what looked like a bayonet which will really make those melee attacks pack a punch. This is what excites me the most for Infinite. It is making positive changes to improve the gameplay and bring new strategies forward to change the game, much like Halo 3 with perks like the bubble shield and active camo and then again in Reach when we fly around with Jetpacks or protect ourselves from grenades with armour lock. I love seeing franchises evolve in these positive ways, but I am once again brought back to my original point. Whilst everything does have a Halo appearance, many of the actual gameplay moments do, infact, look like every other modern FPS out there. I feel like we are missing Halo's iconic bright colours and tight arenas.
It's not just in the levels either but also in the weapons. Whilst weapons are now customisable in their skins, I just feel like there is a certain Je nais sais quois missing from them. For example, when we see the weapons hanging on the walls in the bazaar they just don't seem to carry that character the OG weapons used to have. Now don't get me wrong, when looking through the weapons bench or holding your own weapons you have customised, they all look incredible. The enhanced details and features of the weapons are great, and many weapons to choose from. A lot of character can be added to your weapons, and I like that it adds a certain degree of uniqueness to your character. There is just certain situations when seeing these weapons throughout the technical preview video where I thought to myself, this doesn't look or feel like Halo to me.
One feature I am actually really excited about is "Weapon Drills", a game mode that will allow you to get to grips with each weapon, understand the damage each weapon gives at certain parts of the body, and even give you an overall score on how to improve. There will also be a few different tiers of Weapon Drills too, which will allow you to practice against static, moving and smarter AI targets. The 3rd tier will see enemies strafing and even hiding behind cover. You will also be able to practice against smarter AI's too in the final version that will give us bots that will be tiered like other players in online game modes based on their ranking.
Of course, the other feature that keeps me on the fence with Halo Waypoint is the inclusion of the battle pass. I absolutely loved how Halo used to make the majority of its armour unlockable only by completing certain feats within the game. The armour was bragging rights through and through. And whilst some customisation options are now unlockable for free in challenges outside of the battle pass (something I am glad to see), most of the new and desirable items will be hidden behind a paywall. Whilst this makes armour accessible to every player with a bank card, I feel like this takes away from the true sense of reward and bragging rights Halo gave back in its golden age. While battle passes aren't anything new, I love having that option to brag to my friends that I've completed Halo on legendary or earned 49 achievements in such a visual way.
I really want to hope I am wrong here, though, and that Halo Infinite's multiplayer is the best thing 343 Industries has brought to the Halo Universe. You can see a lot of work has gone into the game. My only fear is that it will blend into the many other free to play games already available and established and will not be a timeless classic much like many of its predecessors. I, unfortunately, will not be able to get a real feel for Halo Infinite's Multiplayer as I have not yet been invited to the technical previews, but I will keep trying and keep waiting so that I can give a more honest and valid opinion on this new Halo experience before it releases later this year. Until then, if you manage to experience Halo Infinite's Multiplayer, do not hesitate to reach out to us on our social media platforms (@3BitUK) or our discord and let us know what you think. Is the gameplay a lot stronger first-hand, or is my worst nightmare coming true, and Halo is losing its edge.
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