This week players who registered on Halo Waypoint were invited to join in the Halo Infinite Technical Preview to go hands on with the multiplayer and assist 343 Industries with feedback to work out final kinks and technical issues. Thankfully the gameplay as it stands is much more engaging than what previous trailers would suggest, even if it doesn’t push the envelope very far.
Sticking To Its Roots
Halo Infinite does the franchise justice by remaining true to the roots of the original games. Everything is still here from the iconic weapons, to the cool armors, special abilities and unique sci-fi art style. After playing a few hours of the Technical Preview you can tell 343 Industries was going for a die hard Halo experience from the early days and it’s amazing those mechanics still hold up so well today. I found myself still wanting to learn all the best ways to chip away enemy shields and figure out the best angles on the map to gain advantage over enemies. It was really nostalgic playing through the maps and seeing the iconic weapons. However, while this gameplay session was an awesome walk down memory lane, I began to notice that there were only a few new changes to the overall experience.
What’s New To Halo Infinite
As you scroll through the Preview options, you find the game offers two basic modes: Academy and Multiplayer. Academy is the new training mode of the game for players to perfect their skills and try out different weaponry. You have two options within the Academy and both modes allow you to get a better handle on your aim and also help expand your understanding of the combat overall. The first training mode is called Weapon Drills where you can select any weapon you like and go through training challenges to obtain the highest score possible within the time limit. The second option is simply called training where you are allowed to have free reign to play continuously against AI bots and you can select whatever options you want to test out and train with. In the multiplayer option, the only new mode was the bot Arena where you and a squad can battle it out against a team of lower difficulty bots.
In addition to the new Academy and bot Arena modes, there were a few new power weapons added to the game. A few of them seem to be inspired by the Brutes of previous Halo games mixed with some science experiments which was interesting. Each of their designs were awesome but most of those weapons were really challenging to use (particularly the Skewr which is essentially a large harpoon cannon). Besides the new guns, the only other new features were the voice customization of your AI partner/ announcer (which are lacking in design compared to Master Chiefs’ Cortana), and the grapple hook item pick up. Grappling really functions well to escape a gunfight or when you want to close the distance on a enemy, but the idea made me question why it was ever added in the first place, since Spartan armor already has a jet pack. The grapple hook felt like a step backwards as it was a more primitive way to navigate the maps. In previous games the Spartans armor is designed with jet packs built into their suits so it made no sense why they would need a grapple hook now if they could just boost their way up to any height or area they needed. It was a questionable addition in my opinion, but it was still fun to use.
Overall Gameplay experience
Getting back into the mechanics of Halo Infinite feels like you’re walking back through time. The memories of scoring the last flag for the win, or landing that perfectly timed grenade to score a multi kill all came rushing back. Halo Infinite is a nostalgia machine and 343 Industries has done a masterful job of reviving those core mechanics. Unfortunately this is also where the experience starts to become underwhelming. While the game has a new look, new weapons, and new item pick ups to balance out combat, the overall map designs feels stagnant. As I looked around each one I noticed it all felt like a toy box. There were no special weather effects going on, little to no platform navigation in most maps and a lot of missing sounds, with the exception of one map called Behemoth (which was the most open and dynamic). The biggest shocker and disappointment here was simply that there was nothing really new about the game. Essentially it felt as though it was the same Halo gameplay as before, you’re basically getting the same experience with some prettier graphics. As I always point out with early access gameplay, I am fully aware this isn’t the final game and it’s not a reflection of the final product, so some issues are to be expected.
Regardless of its issues in general, I still found the gameplay entertaining and addictive. It reminded me why Halo has always been one of the best competitive shooters ever made, and it still holds up even now. I am hoping a few changes will be made to the final release to perfect the auto aim issues, overall performance, and some level designs, but that was the purpose of letting us play this Technical Preview in the first place. Next week we are expecting the second wave of the Preview to start and I am looking forward to playing some Big Team Battles.
As always thank you for reading about my thoughts on the Halo Infinite Tech Preview, I hope you enjoyed the read. Have a great evening.