It’s been a long wait, but Halo is back! After spending a few hours with the Technical Preview a while back, I wanted to reflect on my thoughts and hopes for the game going forward.
I’ll start by saying that I really enjoyed the TP. The gunplay was pretty much bang on, feeling like classic Halo 2+3, while implementing some modern improvements that keep it in line with more current shooters. Although Halo 5: Guardians had a less than stellar campaign, the MP was something that hooked me in for almost a year, nigh-on every night. Even then, it had a decidedly different feel to the classic games, and it’s this that is most notable about Infinite so far.
There’s a heft to the movement that is classic Halo, but the sprint and mantle both add to the flow brilliantly – no more just missed jumps or slow plod to get back into the fight. Time to kill is spot on, with the default Assault rifle more than capable of getting kills even up against others with power weapons in the right hands. Add in the now legendary combo of melee and grenades and we’re transported back to the early 2000’s. It’s hard to escape the phrase ‘it just feels right’ but for me that sums up my time with Infinite as a whole. Sure, we only got to go against bots (we missed the brief PvP window) but even they were pretty capable, especially once they were upped to ODST and Spartan difficulties.
Having the power weapons dotted around again was great too, with some a permanent fixture such as the Needler, while others spawned in on a timer. Once either were picked up, it was an agonising wait for the next to spawn, as it should be. The newer abilities – like the awesome grapple hook – added a fresh spin to proceedings, and again were limited enough to make vying for them a real battle.
Map design was excellent all-round, with the three maps on offer tight enough to make engagement almost a constant thing. The later Bazaar map was the biggest feeling of the bunch, and for me could have used more than the 4v4 team size to make the most of it, but it was also the one I spent the least time on, so perhaps that’s just because I didn’t get to know it as well as the others.
The weapon drills were a nice addition too. Letting us get to use each of the weapons in three increasingly difficult drills per gun, it was a great way to try them out without getting beat down as soon as we picked it up in a match. The score attack element was a nice surprise too, and we can see this being somewhat of a challenge going on among friends to get the best score.
While overall pretty limited in scope and offerings, the Technical Preview for Halo Infinite has assuaged much of the doubt over the flagship holiday Xbox title. Sure, we’re still waiting on a more in-depth campaign reveal after that less than well-received debut, and the year delay surely has more to it than some graphical up-spuffing, but if this very early taste is anything to go by, we could be looking at a real return to form for Chief later this year. 343i have so far not quite delivered a satisfying whole in any of their Halo-related releases, but we’re quietly hopefully this will be the one to buck that trend.Become a Patron!