A surprise launch has us jumping in to try out Halo Infinite’s Multiplayer Beta and I have some thoughts about it!
Yesterday, November 15th, was the 20th anniversary of Xbox. Which also means it was the 20th anniversary of Halo, since it launched with the system. To celebrate, Xbox premiered a stream on their YouTube channel to reminisce on Xbox’s history. While the announcement of a new documentary and Halo TV series was undoubtedly exciting, what took the proverbial cake was the announcement that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer would enter open beta starting later in the day.
Funny how sometimes the things you read on the internet are true. Thanks, Pringles.
The beta became available on both Steam and Xbox Store as a free download. Worthy of note with this beta is that all progress from the beta does carry over to the full release of the multiplayer on December 8th. I took some time to hop in for a few matches yesterday with some friends and I must say: it feels really, really good.
Last night, I joined a few friends for Big Team Battle and ended the night with 4v4 Classic Slayer. Big Team Battle is as good as you remember it but with a few new objectives. We mainly got the objective variant that required our teams to collect energy seeds to power our bases. BTB is as chaotic as I remember it from back when I primarily played it in Halo 4. The addition of the equipment a la Halo Reach was a surprising welcome addition to the combat and allowed for some interesting firefights. I saw teammates use the grapple hook to help get our team’s seeds back to base faster while other teammates set down a shield of light to block incoming fire on one of our seed carriers. The vehicles present were the standard fare ground types (Warthogs, Mongooses, Ghosts, Brute Choppers). The maps we played had tight enough corridors that allowed us to escape the vehicles if they came at us but could also easily mow down unaware players. One last note regarding BTB, it’s 12v12 but each team is broken up into squads of 4. This may be common knowledge to returning players but it’s worth mentioning for those jumping in afresh.
Classic 4v4 felt more like the Halo that I used to know. We played both a round of Slayer and Capture The Flag. The smaller maps required more tactical maneuvers and listening to the sounds of the battlefield. Which I have to commend 343 on the sound design for multiplayer: it’s truly stellar. It’s designed well to where you have situational awareness and have enough time to prepare for an enemy, or three, approaching your position. This was the best Halo multiplayer has felt and I had a hard time ending the night early enough so I could get some sleep.
I do want to take a moment to discuss the Store and Battle Pass. Since Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is free to play, it has the usual accoutrements that we’ve seen in other FTP games like Fortnite and Apex Legends. The Store contains a series of featured, and non-featured, cosmetic items as well as XP boosters and tokens to rotate out your challenges for easier or more preferred ones. I’m a little concerned about how expensive the skins are (the MLG ones coming in at 1,000 credits, or $10). The featured skin pack was the most egregious price point at $20, granted you got more than just a armor color and armor set with the addition of a battle stance and visor color. Opinions may differ on this point here but I found the pricing of these to be a bit expensive.
Battle Pass Blues
Speaking of expensive, the Battle Pass Bundle is especially expensive. While the battle pass itself is $10, about on average for other FTP games, the bundle is $28 which nets you guaranteed 100 xp gains after matches, 25 levels towards your battle pass, and a few cosmetic items. I want to talk about why I think this battle pass is not worth the money.
Whereas other Battle Passes in games have everything you do count towards your progress (Warzone), there’s others that require you to complete challenges in order to progress in your battle pass (Fortnite). Unfortunately, Halo Infinite goes for the latter and it quite honestly sucks. In order for you to progress in the battle pass, you have to complete a random set of 5 daily challenges and one weekly challenge. Once you complete a daily challenge, a new one rotates in. It’s only THOSE challenges that give you XP towards the battle pass.
Did you get a couple Triple Kills in the last match? Cool. Doesn’t count. Did you do a great job supporting your time and taking down flag stealers? Cool. Doesn’t count. That perfectly timed snipe? Cool. Doesn’t count.
It’s such a weird set up for a battle pass that actively does not reward players for playing well or supporting their team. In prior Halo games, you would earn XP that would level you up in the ranks based on what you did. But it appears that’s no longer the case. Which has me wondering what the point is of the 2XP codes printed on the Pringles can. It’s clunky, frustrating, and needs reworking in a bad way.
However, despite all that and some minor moments of lag, Halo Infinite’s Multiplayer Beta runs surprisingly smooth. It’s a blast to play and I look forward to getting more time in with it with some friends this weekend. If they can rework the battle pass and reward players who play well or support their teams well, this could be a very popular and long-lasting multiplayer.
Are you playing the Halo Infinite Multiplayer beta? What’re your thoughts? Sound off in the comments below!