The first Halo Infinite flight has come and gone. Players who secured an invite put the game’s multiplayer through its paces. This build proved to be the first tangible preview of the game. 343 Industries, developers behind Halo Infinite, voiced their excitement and hopes as the flight began last week. Despite a delay due to graphical controversy, anticipation for Halo Infinite is now at an all-time high.
First in Flight
Over the course of the weekend, 343 gave access to three maps for players to enjoy in a 4v4 Slayer setting. Live Fire, Recharge, and Bazaar were relatively small in feel with two prominent pickups to acquire and additional weapon spawns throughout the map. Players faced off against bots during the majority of the flight. The difficulty began at Recruit (easy) progressing to ODST and finally Spartan difficulty (hard) for the last day of the preview. Lastly, players were given a taste for things to come with access to PVP slayer matches during the last night of the flight.
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Additionally, players had access to weapon drills. This mode provided quality practice for each gun available in the Halo Infinite flight. Bots were present in a shooting gallery-like area allowing one to practice your aim against stationary and moving targets. I found this to be especially useful for getting acquainted with the weapons new to the franchise. These modes gave players plenty of things to enjoy, let’s dive into the highlights.
Presentation and Feel
The Halo theme greets players upon first logging in. The sound design is so well done that it gave me goosebumps. Music has always been a strong suit for the series. Whether waiting in queue for another match to load or seeking cover in a firefight, the iconic scores were all solid from start to end.
Accompanying music scores will be a number of voices. Spartan chatter makes its return from Halo 5. A few different spartan voices are used in matches, however, the same quips will be used by all. This could become tiresome quickly for some players, yet a new friendly voice in my ear broke the mundane audio cues.
Spartan’s Best Friend
Aside from the classic Halo announcer, players will become well acquainted with an A.I. of their own. The Halo Infinite tech preview revealed Lumu, Fret, Butlr, and Circ as A.I.s available to join Spartans in their firefights. Each A.I. has its own unique personality and will alert the player to weapons becoming available on the map as well as praise for precise kills or continuing a kill streak. Lumu’s dark humor and desire for destruction were enjoyable. I found myself smiling with each new voice line whether prompted from a headshot kill or nearly escaping death myself with a sliver of health.
I found the A.I. to be the standout for spartan customization available in this flight. Additional A.I.s will most likely be available at launch. I can even see this easily being monetized by 343 within the game’s shop. The armor choices available were rather few and were accompanied by some standout armor shaders and visors. The ability to equip your spartan with a prosthesis has also expanded to include trans-humeral and trans-radial options or just a hand. A great addition for inclusivity. However, overall I did not experience as many options as I wished to make my Spartan stand out. This is a talking point 343 has discussed on numerous occasions. It is the basis for the decision to remove the “Red vs Blue” filter for multiplayer in favor of spartan individuality.
On your Left
Players now differentiate friend or foe via a red aura over the enemy along with a small diamond overhead. This color can be changed in the settings to your preference. Although, it will still take time for players to adjust. After two or three matches, I identified enemy Spartans more quickly when snapping them into sights. There were instances on occasion where the enemy would casually walk by me. This gave me pause to question the scenario myself before quickly dispatching them with a melee. There is still time for 343 to tweak the UI before launch. I enjoy seeing my Spartan stand out among the starting lineup and would hate to lose such individuality.
The tools of war found within the Halo Infinite flight felt stellar for the most part. The starting loadout encompasses the classic Assault Rifle along with a new sidearm, the “Sidekick.” Sound design for all the weapons and equipment felt robust and each weapon had a great response with shooting and handling.
The Assault Rifle felt stronger than I anticipated in this build. It proved to be a viable option even in medium distanced engagements and occasionally long ones. The Sidekick was especially satisfying to use. It is not as strong as the magnum in its prime, but the sidearm proved to be one of my favorite weapons used during the flight. This gun has a very low time to kill value when using deadly precision.
Up Your Arsenal
Additionally, new weapons such as the Skewer and Heatwave proved to be fun and satisfying. The heatwave is an energy-based shotgun whose projectiles ricochet off surfaces. This leads to cheeky blind fire kills around corners if the player is skilled enough. As its name implies, the Skewer is essentially a high-powered harpoon gun. Landing one-shot kills with the weapon felt almost as enjoyable as kills with the classic sniper rifle.
New equipment, such as the drop shield and grappling hook, shows Halo Infinite is bringing a new feel to the arena shooter genre with style. The grappling hook can be used to reposition, press an attack, or pull weapons to the player for pickup. This along with the Gravity Hammer proved to be a deadly combo. It is one I personally took advantage of on the map Recharge.
Fixes and Hopes
This Halo Infinite flight is the first among many. 343 aims to conduct numerous tech flights before the game’s full release. The build felt stable and solid, despite the initial launch hours being rocky. The main bugs I encountered were few. Joining a game mid-match would cause an audio bug. Spoken audio and map music were largely missing along with noise from gunfire. Going into the customizations tab would default your A.I. to Butlr regardless of player input. Sometimes this would randomly happen match to match even when remaining in the lobby queue. Lastly, there were instances of weapons not registering on hit including melees.
Things like these can be easily fixed by launch. Overall, these issues did not detract from the fun experience I had. The development team has provided the next evolution for Halo while also incorporating a classic feel to the experience. It felt familiar to long-time fans, yet easily accessible to those brand new to the franchise. You can sign up for future flights as well for PC or Xbox consoles. Players must register as an insider at Halo Waypoint. Simply follow the instructions to verify your profile. Afterward, you will be in the pool of potentials for future flights. The year delay seems to have given the team the much-needed time they needed. Has this increased your anticipation for Halo Infinite? Let us know in the comments down below!
Note – Halo Infinite flight was tested on an Xbox Series S console.