Eleven months ago, Halo Infinite released with an ambitious goal: Become a platform for Halo stories for the next ten years while succeeding in delivering what its two predecessors failed to (depending on who you ask): Have both a great campaign and a great multiplayer.
Halo 4’s campaign was praised, while its multiplayer was largely seen as a downgrade from the original trilogy’s design. Halo 5: Guardians received the opposite treatment – bad campaign, good multiplayer.
The launch went decently well for a game that was unable to deliver on all its promised launch-ready features. The campaign is solid, if a little too afraid to take risks with the story, and the multiplayer felt like a return to form. Plagued by a storm of both pandemic-related workflow issues and in-studio management problems, however, Halo Infinite stumbled when it came to delivering the amount of content a live-service game demanded.
We picked Halo Infinite as our game of the week because tomorrow is the day the Winter Update releases! This update marks what is hopefully the beginning of the ‘true plan’ Infinite was meant to follow, with postponed launch-ready features finally making it into the game as well as several more really cool stuff that you can check more in-depth here.
First Floor: The Basics
For those who may be out of the loop, here’s what you can expect from Halo Infinite without all the Winter Update things we’ll get into later down the line.
Halo Infinite is the sixth mainline game in the series (meaning, with Master Chief as the protagonist) and the eighth first-person shooter title. It is quite different compared to previous entries:
- For the first time, the campaign is open-world, with a few classic “campaign levels” scattered around. One could argue Halo 3: ODST was open-world as well, but the scale of Infinite’s world is much larger.
- For the first time, the multiplayer is free-to-play and follows the usual battle pass + cosmetics shop monetization strategy. Battle passes you buy are kept forever and you can work through them at your own pace.
- Multiplayer also receives regular timed events that comes with their own free battle pass, rewarding more exotic gear pieces and various accoutrements.
- If you’ve never played a Halo game, Infinite is a decent starting point, but I strongly suggest grabbing The Master Chief Collection on Steam and playing through all the other campaigns (sans Halo 5) if you want to get the full story experience from Infinite’s campaign.
Second Floor: Winter Update – Multiplayer
Multiplayer is receiving a fully free, 30-tier battle pass with a bunch of sweet Halo: Reach skins that serves as a relaxing little treat to keep you playing over the cold months. Additionally, there’s two new maps entering the fray:
- Argyle, a beautiful, confined, cappuccino-colored map made in Forge (more on Forge later!).
- Detachment, a more open map that contains the first man cannon in Halo Infinite (the thing that shoots you far into the distance). Detachment is also made in Forge.
There’s also a new game mode joining the fray: Covert One-Flag! COF is a turn-based CTF. The attacking team has unlimited active camouflage. The defending team has unlimited threat sensors, which can detect invisible units. Halo is known for its clever custom maps and seeing a fun, weird game mode such as this be supported as an official way to play is a big step in the right direction.
Finally, we’re getting match XP. Until now, players would gain XP (used to progress the battle pass) by completing daily and weekly quests. With match XP, players will get some XP for every match they play, increased depending on whether they win and on how they perform.
Third Floor: Winter Update – Campaign Network Co-op
While rumors indicate local co-op has been cancelled, we are finally getting co-op for campaign (initially supposed to be available on release day), as long as each one of your friends has a PC or console to play it on.
Campaign co-op supports up to four players, adds a bunch more achievements to the game and, compared to previous games, when you die, you respawn with the same weapons you had before (which is awesome).
Bonus: Mission replay is being added, allowing you to replay a few of the previously mentioned campaign levels that weren’t accessible after passing through them once.
Fourth Floor: Forge Open Beta
Forge is the name of the in-game level editor that’s been a staple of the franchise ever since Halo 3. Halo Infinite’s Forge is a very powerful tool compared to its previous iterations, allowing you to add up to 7000 objects in your custom map, scale them however large or tiny you wish, change their materials to hone your interior design skills and so, much, more.
This time around, there’s also a visual scripting language (similar to Blueprints in Unreal Engine), allowing you to essentially code even more complex game modes, interactions and whatnot into whatever awesome map you’re making.
Forge has been in closed beta for a while, but everyone will be able to test it out starting tomorrow, with 6 canvasses (empty maps in different biomes) available from the get-go. Navmesh support is also being added, allowing your map to be used by bots.
If you’ve forsaken Halo Infinite due to its large swath of issues, now is the time to give it another shot. The development team seems to be catching up with their gigantic backlog of work, and the Winter Update marks a fresh start to the game – a Halo Infinite 2.0, if you will.
What are your thoughts on the Winter Update? Have you played Halo Infinite before? Let us know in the comments below!
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