Halo Infinite’s abnormally-long first season is about to come back to a detailed. On Could third, Season 2 will roll in with two new maps, three new modes, a brand new battle go and a mercifully shorter runtime of three months, hopefully giving Infinite a much-needed shot within the arm.
It is in all probability not contentious to say that, within the run-up to Season 2, the temper within the Halo group is not nice. Infinite could be a strong shooter, however its first season has been hit with setback after setback after setback. Even I, the positioning’s resident Halo buff, fell off the sport arduous after solely a month. So how did we get right here, and what can Season 2 do to win over lapsed followers?
Halo Infinite ought to have arrived on a excessive. Reception following the sport’s two technical multiplayer assessments was glowing—right here was Halo, refined into the strongest iteration 343 had thus far delivered, that includes playful gear, balanced weapons, tight maps and an aesthetic that lastly ended the tyranny of overdesigned greebles.
But it surely did not take lengthy after the sport’s launch for followers to begin asking: is that this it? Regardless of arriving a full 12 months after its once-planned 2020 launch, Infinite’s multiplayer felt shockingly skinny. Staple modes like King of the Hill, Assault, Fiesta and even free-for-all Slayer had been lacking from the launch lineup, and Infinite shipped with the smallest map pool of any Halo thus far.
Over the season, 343 would slowly roll in modes like Fiesta and FFA as time-limited occasions (although would finally make them everlasting). However that choice nonetheless felt skinny, particularly contemplating Big Team Battle was straight-up broken for a lot of the season. Restricted playlists additionally means you had little management over what map or mode you had been enjoying—and whereas we’ll get into what that meant for development, it was exhausting to have an already small map pool really feel even smaller, if solely as a result of matchmaking hardly ever (if ever) determined to let me play maps like Behemoth or Launch Website.
It is simple to say that the addition of Forge, which might let each gamers and builders bash out numerous new variations of current maps and modes, would treatment this sparseness. However Forge remains to be not slated to arrive until Season 3 hits this August—and its absence is way from the one indicator that Halo Infinite wanted a bit extra time within the oven.
All of us keep in mind how naff the Season 1 battle pass was, proper? A number of uninspired, sometimes unfinished armour items doled out at a piecemeal charge. 343 would finally velocity up the speed of unlocks, nevertheless it hasn’t modified the truth that, between items being locked to armour cores and colors being tied to pre-set coatings, customisation merely is not enjoyable. Six months after launch, and it nonetheless appears like I am preventing the identical few clones.
In fact, the battle go is not the one supply of customisation. And whereas the in-game retailer had its personal issues (costs and forcing up prices by making you purchase every thing in bundles), in-game occasions promised loads of thematic choices unlocked just by enjoying.
Issues began off on a nasty foot with Fractures: Tenrai, an occasion that recurred six occasions over the course of the season and, at first, would not allow you to unlock greater than seven tiers without delay. In its first iteration, Tenrai shared the Season’s battle go challenge of being padded out with problem swaps and XP boosts, with precise cosmetics being skinny on the bottom.
Later iterations would make precise cosmetics extra frequent and simpler to amass, fortunately. And later occasions like Winter Contingency, Tactical Ops and Cyber Showdown added extra beauty goodies to unlock (even when a few of them had been poorly attached). By the tip of the Season, it began to really feel that Infinite was hitting a extra comfy rhythm, even when issues had been beginning to really feel extraordinarily stale six months in.
That is Season 2’s greatest problem then, is not it? To make a recreation that is already fallen stagnant really feel contemporary and thrilling once more. As a result of for all of the enhancements, my newest try to leap again into Infinite had me exhausted inside three rounds. It is nonetheless the identical Infinite, even when a few of my opponents have extra garish hats.
Season 2 is including two new maps that look implausible, and three new modes together with the curiously battle royale-adjacent Final Spartan Standing. And at a mere three months, I am hopeful Season 2 will strike a greater cadence with in-game occasions, and will have realized to be extra beneficiant with its go choices.
However I am not assured Season 2 will preserve me round as soon as the novelty of recent maps and modes has worn out. Customized video games nonetheless do not provide the identical potential for daft nonsense as The Grasp Chief Assortment did, nor does it have that assortment’s huge array of player-made Forge maps.
Possibly in a number of seasons time, Infinite will show itself to be a implausible subsequent step for Halo. In spite of everything, it took The Grasp Chief Assortment a decade to hit its stride after an infamously clumsy console launch. As a result of even when Season 1 felt like an limitless collection of missteps, there’s nonetheless one thing particular in Halo Infinte. Season 2 in all probability will not be a whole course correction, however it will possibly not less than give the sport its first step in direction of one.