After Halo Infinite’s release was pushed back last summer, it left many feeling uneasy about the game’s future. After that, things went quiet as developer 343 Industries continued to toil away fine tuning the next-gen Halo experience. Fast-forward to the conclusion of this weekend’s Halo Infinite Multiplayer Technical Preview and worries about the online component of the game have been completely dispelled.
After going hands-on for dozens of hours with the latest sampling of the Halo Infinite Multiplayer, I came away extremely impressed and wanting more! The vintage Halo experience is back, in exciting new ways.
Halo Infinite Details
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC
Release Date: Holiday 2021
Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
Please note that Halo Infinite Technical Preview features in-development gameplay builds that are not necessarily representative of the final experience and are subject to change over time
Taking flight with Halo Infinite
The Halo Infinite Multiplayer Technical Preview was available to those who were selected through the Halo Waypoint website. Within the test, two modes were available: Arena Slayer vs. Bots and Academy Weapon Drills. The multiplayer team slayer component had 4 real-life players face off against bots. The Academy offered a series of weapon-based challenges on a firing range allowing players to rack up points for quick, precise kills. It offered a look at new weapons like the ultra-powerful Skewer.
Academy Weapon Drills
One of the key elements in Halo’s signature gameplay has always been the series’ well-balanced weapons. The Technical Preview included the Academy Weapon Drills which gave players the chance to practice with each of Halo Infinite’s weapons. The mode appears to be an extension of a larger training mode for players. It provided a great way to experiment with armaments, lining up bots on a firing range so you can test out how each weapon feels and functions.
From classic weapons like the MA40 AR to the Pulse Carbine the armoury was fully stocked. Here’s a full list of weapons that I was able to experiment within the Weapon Drills mode:
- MA40 AR
- MK50 Sidekick
- CQS48 Bulldog
- VK78 Commando
- S7 Sniper
- Plasma Pistol
- Pulse Carbine
The overall feeling of the arsenal was fantastic, offering that signature Halo precision from weapons like the MA40 automatic rifle. One of the stars of the Technical Preview for me was the BR75 Battle Rifle, the balancing and accuracy was excellent.
Arena Slayer vs. Bots
Beta testers were taking on AI-driven bots that had gradually increasing difficulty as the Tech Test progressed. The first wave of bots were on the easy, or “Marine” difficulty, followed by more challenging ODST bots, then finally the toughest of the lot – Spartan AI. In the final day of the test 343 also allowed 4v4 player vs. player slayer for a brief window of play.
The bots themselves were extremely impressive with excellent battlefield I.Q. At times they even exhibited human-like behaviour in their tactics. I found that they worked as a group and would often flank player positions. They certainly weren’t slouches on the battlefield and I hope they make it into the final game as a multiplayer option.
Three Maps Introduced
The Technical Preview featured three well designed small-scale maps in Live Fire, Recharge and Bazaar. Each offered a plethora of unique paths to battle and were designed to keep the action constant. Let’s take a look at what each map has to offer!
During the first phase of the Tech Test players battled on a map called “Live Fire” with Marine difficulty level bots. The map is small enough that it keeps the action constant, while providing plenty of unique paths and skill jump opportunities. It also is a multi-tier map which provides great potential perches for long range weapon battles. I noticed through my multiple matches with the map that different weapon variants load in.
The second map that arrived was a hydroelectric dam facility called Recharge. As 343 describes the setting, “A resource infrastructure facilities such as those run by Axys’ hydroelectric division help maintain stable energy grids for colony worlds throughout the UEG.” The map plays right into the Halo lore with mentions of human colony worlds.
At this point in the flight newer, more difficult bots dropped with the “ODST” difficulty. I noticed right away they were far more cunning and resourceful, often making charges for power weapons on the map. This map offered a more open central area with multiple catwalks and hidden pathways.
The final map was a Bazaar in dusty streets of New Mombasa. The design was excellent with plenty of options for traversal, especially with the grapple hook. There were even hidden paths that could be followed to uncover power weapons.
Along with the new map Spartan level difficulty level bots were rolled out. This was the top tier enemy difficulty and they put up a great fight. They were highly aggressive and vigorously defended power weapon spawn points.
Outside of the superb gameplay, there was a lot to uncover and unlock. In the flight players were given access to the “Armour Hall” where you could customize the look of your Spartan. The options were plentiful with different helmets, visor tints and beyond. 343 really looks to be doubling down on armour permutation combinations so everyone will be looking unique on the battlefield.
Best Buy Canada Spartans Team Up
During the Tech Test I was able to join our resident Halo expert Matthew Rondina. He also put a ton of time into the flight and had a few thoughts to share:
“Thanks Jon! I had a great time squadding up and I hope everyone enjoys our epic team-up playthrough video on the blog.
As both Halo and Xbox are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, I found the Tech Test special in many ways to mark the occasion. I’ve been playing Halo since the OG Xbox and for me, I felt this early sampling was a return to greatness.
343i has found a way to return the Halo multiplayer experience to its roots while offering new and modern twists to the formula. All the old school weapons feel excellent and more like they did in Halo 2. The new map designs kept the action at a high tempo and the new weapon spawning is a clever way to keep each round feeling new and different. I am extremely excited to play more when Halo Infinite lands at the end of the year.”
Halo Infinite launches Holiday 2021
Halo Infinite will arrive on the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and PC sometime during the Holiday 2021 season. The campaign will be a paid experience, but the multiplayer is slated to be completely free-to-play. After such a positive experience with the Tech Test it’s an exciting time for the franchise.
Did you get selected for the Tech Test? Let me know in the comments below what your favourite part of the experience was. Happy hunting Spartans!
Pre-orders for Halo Infinite are coming soon to Best Buy Canada