Halo Infinite releases on December 8th for Xbox and PC but its multiplayer surprise-dropped recently to celebrate the franchise’s 20th anniversary. The reception to the actual gameplay has been mostly positive with fans praising the new pick-ups, maps, and gun play. However, a number of issues have also emerged which, unfortunately, can’t be hidden behind the “beta” tag (especially since the multiplayer is already content complete). Let’s take a look at 15 things that currently plague the experience.
The first thing that will immediately jump out is the lack of unlocks for multiplayer. Previous Halo titles included a variety of different colors with the default character customization and locked things like armor behind challenges. While some coatings are available from the outset, the majority is tied to the Battle Pass, the campaign (which has yet to be properly confirmed by 343 Industries) and the store. You could argue that it’s because the multiplayer is free but even other games offer something for free upon leveling up, even with their excessive monetization and loot boxes.
Underwhelming Battle Pass
Several cosmetics, from different colors and visors to armor parts and Cores are tied to the Battle Pass. But the Battle Pass is pretty underwhelming, mostly due to how armor customization works. Instead of unlocking entire armor sets, you’re now leveling up to get a shoulder pad, a knee pad, a chest part, a helm and so on (and yes, those are singular unlocks). While having kits that resemble Noble Team from Halo: Reach is great, all of their parts aren’t even in the Battle Pass – recent datamining indicated that separate shoulder pad and pieces would be coming to the store later. Furthermore, if you’re a free player, good luck getting a Rare Chest at tier 21, an Epic Visor at tier 26, Epic Shoulder Pads at tier 46 and 49, and – no joke – a Legendary Wrist at tier 100.
The armor coatings system faced a significant amount of backlash when it was first revealed due to concerns of excessive monetization (cue irony) and less customization. Fast-forward to now and both concerns are real but the customization itself is also just really weird. Some coatings can’t be applied to certain armor kits and cores; others are similar to coatings being sold in the store for real money. Esports kits simply can’t be modified in any way. You have to be extra careful when buying anything, just to ensure that it actually supports what you’ve unlocked and, of course, you don’t have the freedom to just mix and match whatever you’d like.
Paltry XP Rewards
When multiplayer launched, no XP was given for playing in matches. Leveling up in the Battle Pass was slow enough and if you weren’t ignoring everything for the sake of completing challenges (more on that later because of course there’s more), then you’re simply not getting enough XP. 343 Industries did attempt to “fix” this by adding a challenge for match completion – this awarded 50 XP for each match, regardless of whether you played or went AFK. Still nothing for medals or any kind of performance – simply show up, get your 50 XP and get out. A recent change that gives bonus XP for the first six matches played in a day is a good start but there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Challenges aren’t a new thing for Battle Passes – titles like Fortnite have used them for years – but Halo Infinite ties all of its progression to their completion. On top of giving a paltry amount of XP, they encourage one to simply ignore the objective – which is a problem when you can’t select modes like Slayer separately – to try and complete challenges. Trying to complete a challenge involving a Wraith but haven’t found any till date in Big Team Battle? Too bad! How about swapping that out with a Challenge Swap, earned from either the Battle Pass or by paying real money? You don’t get to choose which challenge you end up with, which means the new challenge could be worse or better. How? Why? Who thought this was a good idea?
Less Vehicles in Big Team Battle
Speaking of missing vehicles, Big Team Battle feels somewhat underwhelming in that sense. With 24 players running around and the maps being fairly large, you’d think having Wraiths, Banshees, Scorpion Tanks and Wasps running around with the usual Mongooses, Razorbacks, Warthogs and Ghosts would be ideal. But no, you start off with the most basic stuff, usually a Mongoose and Warthog, and other vehicles are slowly deployed throughout the match. It really takes away from the chaotic feel that Big Team Battles should have and make them feel more like, well, 12v12 Arena matches.
Some weapons like the Sidekick, Assault Rifle, Battle Rifle and Mangler feel very, very good, and there’s no denying just how utterly powerful the Rocket Launcher and Spiker can be. But the overall balance feels kind of odd in places. The new Bulldog shotgun takes three shots to kill an opponent, which means that Brute Hammers reign supreme in more close-quarters maps (which isn’t helped by the lackluster radar). Other weapons like the Ravager, Heat Wave and Pulse Carbine feel terrible. There’s still plenty of fun to be had, don’t get us wrong, but it feels like the dominant weapons are on top because the rest are either underwhelming or just trash.
The current meta also isn’t helped by some of the audio. While the radar isn’t nearly as great as previous titles (which is odd since the developer reportedly reverted it after closed beta feedback), it wouldn’t be an issue if footstep audio was a thing. You’ll never really know if someone is casually walking up behind you or just around the corner until it’s too late, and it can become especially annoying when walking into a 2v1 fight.
With Fracture: Tenrai having gone live recently, we received our first glimpse at Halo Infinite’s approach to event design. Suffice to say that it’s pretty terrible. The event is only live for a week and while it will return again in subsequent months, your progress is gated. It’s only possible to progress the 30 tier Event Pass by completing Event Challenges and only seven are live during that week. The challenges can only be completed in the Event Playlist, which is Fiesta: Slayer. So not only will you have to keep coming back to earn the entire samurai-themed Yoroi armor, but every advertised item isn’t even in the free Event Pass – some, like the actual katana, are locked behind the store.
No SWAT, Snipers, Infected etc
SWAT, Snipers and Infected are just some of the big modes lacking from Halo Infinite at launch. You’d think the developer would have learned its lesson from the launch of Halo 5: Guardians but alas Given their popularity, it seems a given that they’ll be added, sooner rather than later. But not having them at launch, especially given their popularity, is just strange…
Limited Time Playlists
…Until you realize that they’re likely coming back as limited time playlists. This can be seen in the current event, Fracture: Tenrai, which features Fiesta Slayer for a limited. Again, limited time modes aren’t anything new for free to play games but it’s been particularly jarring for Halo fans that are used to having these modes available at all times (if not longer than a week). Hopefully, modes like SWAT and Infected don’t fall into the same trap.
Missing multiplayer modes is bad enough but several iconic weapons have also been omitted from Infinite. These include the SMG, DMR, Brute Shot, Fuel Rod Cannon (not counting the Banshee’s). Others like the classic Shotgun and Magnum have been replaced by the Bulldog and Sidekick respectively. While 343’s head of creative Joseph Staten told Game Informer that more weapons being added is a “safe bet,” but which favorites will return and when remains to be seen.
When Halo Infinite was announced to be free to play, there was genuine enthusiasm but also plenty of concern. How would cross-play and anti-cheat work? What would content updates look like? How was monetization being handled? With the multiplayer beta’s launch, it seems very clear that the developer – and Microsoft – have opted for abject greed with the monetization. Numerous simple colors are locked behind the store and require real money to purchase. XP boosts, a solution for the issues with paltry XP rewards, can also be purchased and they only last for one hour (and count down even if you’re not in a match). Purchased a coating for the Mark VII armor and want to apply it to the new Yoroi armor? You can’t.
You need to purchase that same coating (with a different name, of course) for the latter. This doesn’t include the number of armor pieces, armor sets, vehicle and weapon skins, and so on that can only be obtained from the store. Some are truly absurd in pricing – you’ll need to spend $20 to obtain one armor set and $10 for a single helm. This probably wouldn’t be as annoying if there were enough items that could be unlocked for free in a straightforward fashion but here we are.
Cheating is an issue that affects every multiplayer title, free to play or otherwise. And while one can’t measure the true extent of Infinite’s cheating at this point, the fact that it’s been out for this long and already has aimbots, wall-hacks and even players phasing through walls is concerning. The development team has spoken about the importance of anti-cheat before but has been silent on its current measures and what it’s doing to combat rampant cheating. Time will tell but for now, it’s another nuisance to add to the pile.
Player collision has been a rather dicey topic – it clearly works with enemies but not allied players. However, a desync bug when fighting in close quarters is causing significant issues for those who melee opponents. Sometimes your melee will whiff completely – other times, you’ll pass right through an enemy who ends up insta-killing you with a melee attack from behind. It’s a bug, which means it can be fixed sooner or later, but it’s still incredibly frustrating.