I think it’s safe to say at this point that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is pretty good, a blast from the past to an older style of FPS with a few much needed injections of modern design philosophy here and there to keep things fresh and interesting. If I had to rate my time with the game so far, I’d say it sits comfortably amongst the series’ best. Perhaps, in time, it could even topple one of the top three…
But who elected me king of Halo, ranker of games and determiner of series quality? No one, which is why I wanted to reach out and talk to individuals with a passionate history with Halo in order to gauge their overall opinion, hear what stands out as overly good (or bad), and figure out whether it's one of the best in the series.
I first wanted to get the perspective of someone with a competitive history, who’d understand the games at a fundamental level. For this, I reached out to Alex Buck, formerly known as BUCK 20, who was once one of Britain’s best competitive Halo players. Both him and his brother have been top European competitors since the Halo 3 days, claiming numerous top 8 placements at worldwide events.
“When I first saw Halo Infinite being announced, I was super excited even with limited content and gameplay footage. Halo has always been a game close to my heart so to see it return once more was great to see.” As you’d expect, Alex has been jumping into the Halo Infinite multiplayer beta whenever he can get an opportunity to do so.
In terms of positives, Alex is a fan of a lot of the new weapons and abilities added to the game. He makes a point to mention the grappling hook specifically, stating “[it] is so fun to use and I think we're only scratching the surface as to what some will end up doing with it.”
Then there’s the early support for the competitive scene. 343 has pushed the esports angle from minute one, and made sure to include competitive playlists to entice hardcore players. “Also the fact that Halo Infinite launched with a ranked playlist on Day 1 was very promising for the competitive scene. There was even Halo Championship Series tournaments in the major regions on the first weekend, talk about hitting the ground running!”
But, Halo Infinite is not perfect. For Alex, the new UI isn’t quite as intuitive as the old menus. As a competitive-minded player, he also has a soft spot in his heart for the ranking systems of old. “I'm also a diehard fan of the old school Halo 2 ranking system which seemed much tougher, that added with the aspirational goal of getting a level with a symbol instead of a number (44 onwards) was a huge deal to me and I think it would still be to many to this day.”
Shifting away from the competitive accolades of Alex Buck, to someone with a more analytical perspective. Leon Massey is a content creator who specialises in longform videos on a vast range of video game topics. His recent video on Halo 2’s controversial combos exposed not only his eye for the finer details, but his experience with the series.
Leon has been playing since Halo 3, skipping 4 and 5 until everything came out on PC. In his own words, “They've all got something great to them, but aside from 3 it really felt like most of the games never brought all of its ideas together in a way that felt comfortable.”
I asked whether he was excited about Halo Infinite when he first saw it revealed, to which he responded: “HELL NO, I've got a lot of respect for 343, but I wasn't keen on anything they'd made up to this point. I was ready to not like this game.”
“Halo 4 tried a lot of new things after Reach passed over the torch to 343, and while I'm welcome to change, they seemed to take a lot of the ideas people didn't enjoy about Reach and exacerbate them. I was ready for them to ignore the sandbox in favor of 4v4 competitive elements, but the sandbox was what made 4v4s so fun. I was afraid of a repeat.”
However, perhaps as a surprise to Leon, there was a lot there to like! One such aspect they liked came from the objective game modes. “Stockpile being a gamemode where you can throw the objective to your team mates means you can engage in rugby like strategies, where you just need one more point and set up a line of passes between you and all of your pals - as the enemies scramble to get the 5 other seeds together to pile into a warthog. Other objective modes have had collaborative scrambles like that before, but never on the same level.”
Now, onto the pressing question on everyone’s mind. Where does Halo Infinite rate amongst the other titles in the series? According to Alex, there’s big potential in that regard, “I would say it's still behind Halo1, 2 & 3. But as this is Halo "Infinite" it has plenty of time to move up in the rankings. The fact that it's free-to-play, has a competitive structure in place from Day 1 and cross-platform support means this game could have a very bright future if supported well.”
Leon shares this positive perspective, and alongside the same caveat that it’s early days, feels confident in its potential to land among the upper echelons. “I'd say that in terms of multiplayer experiences it's got a lot of potential to land comfortably in the top 3 of the series for me. I think that there's enough here that could give this game some real staying power for now. In terms of the level of depth that this game has to offer from a competitive level, only time will tell, but in terms of the sandbox - I think there's so much here for casual and Big team matches to work with.”
He concludes, “Play it in a group, this could be one of the best multiplayer experiences you'll have all year. 2/10 terrible game." He's joking of course. "It's like a 7 or an 8, too early to say right now.”
We’ve heard what these guys think, but what about you! Let us know how you’re finding Halo Infinite in the comments below, and where you’d rate it against the rest of the series. If you’re looking to power through the battle pass, we’ve covered how to level up the Halo Infinite seasonal pass quickly, as well as Halo Infinite’s problem with cheaters.