You don't have to worry about the Xbox flagship multiplayer: Our impressions of the Halo Infinity beta

Halo Infinite is inexorably moving towards release, and some time ago 343 Industries organized the second technical testing of the game's multiplayer - first for a wider range of registered users, and then for everyone.

Oct 12, 2021 - 14:57
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For two weekends, everyone could try out network battles in the long-awaited shooter from Microsoft. We will tell you about our impressions in this preview.

If the first closed test put a lot of emphasis on matches involving bots, then the current beta put at the head of the classic shootouts between live players. And it is in its usual form that the Halo Infinite multiplayer truly began to play with new colors. All thanks to the capabilities of the notorious sandbox, which the Halo series is famous for, which has reached a higher level in the new part. A lot of videos have already appeared on the network in which players experience new gameplay mechanics presented in Halo Infinite: they move around the map using a cat hook like a Spider-Man, launch equipment into flight with an explosion and cling to it with a hook, crashing on the head of an unsuspecting opponent, reflect flying projectiles from a rocket launcher and Skewer back into the attacker using a repulsor (and with its help even jump into otherwise inaccessible places) and much more. The gameplay of Halo Infinite is truly far from banal and monotonous shootouts.

As for the available game modes, this time, in addition to the standard sleer, Capture the Flag and control of points on the map (Total Control) were presented. The battles took place both in the standard 4 x 4 format and in the Big Team Battle playlist with 24 players in the lobby. In contrast to the intense struggle for each frag in the standard 4 x 4 BTB modes, on the other hand, as before, it offers a more relaxed and fan-like gameplay, where the influence of one person on the outcome of the match is not so great. So if you want to easily shoot a dozen or two frags, then you definitely need to go to Big Team Battle, where various military equipment is also waiting for you. The beta featured a classic Warthog with a machine gun on board, a nimble Mongoose ATV, a Scorpion heavy tank and an UNSC Wasp aircraft. The Banished faction's technique was represented by the familiar Ghost and Banshee. All of these tools are well known to fans of the series and do not have any drastic changes in their behavior compared to earlier games, except that visually the alien technique, for obvious reasons, has a design presented in Halo Wars 2.

As before, competent interaction between the driver and the shooter turns Warthog into a death machine, Ghost is still much more fun to use, knocking down opponents than monotonously shooting at them, but Scorpion sows death and destruction, and even powerful weapons will calm the tanker far from instantaneously. By the way, along with the introduction of various vehicles into the game in the second test, some other gameplay changes became noticeable. In particular, a loaded shot from a Covenant plasma pistol no longer knocks out equipment (but still completely removes the enemy's shield), for this there is now a separate type of grenades, as well as a pair of barrels that cause energy damage - a shock rifle and a disruptor pistol.

The last testing also introduced a couple of new cards to the players. In addition to the familiar ones from the first Bazaar, Live Fire and Recharge test, the 4 x 4 playlist received replenishment in the form of a Behemoth card, which is noticeably more spacious than other battlefields presented in this playlist, and in truth, it is too big for eight players. This problem is especially acute in modes with the capture of flags and territories – most of the time the players are very dispersed over a wide area, which makes it difficult to react quickly, say, to the theft of the flag by the enemy. Part of the problem is solved by the Warthog and Ghost placed on the map, but still the ideal lobby for this map would be 5 x 5 or even 6 x 6.

For Big Team Battle, one map was presented – Fragmentation, visually resembling the Valhalla map from Halo 3. It also consists of a set of open spaces overlapped by hilly terrain, and narrow corridors of caves and gorges. Of the innovations, two rooms can be noted on the right and left in the center of the map, access to which opens after breaking the doors containing certain paverapes or powerful weapons. Also, in BTB mode, the weapon respawn scheme on the map has changed somewhat. In addition to guns, which can always be found at fixed points, weapons are also periodically dropped at random points on the map. While it is difficult to judge the positive or negative impact of such a decision on the gameplay in Halo Infinite, but, for example, the Halo 4 network mode was coolly accepted, among other things, because of such elements of randomness. Otherwise, the mode is played quite fun if you don't expect the most competitive gameplay.

However, it is in BTB that technical problems are noticeable. To begin with, the increased scale of the map, apparently, entailed the need to reduce the detail of the graphics - the resolution of the textures of the environment is noticeably lower than that of the maps of the standard playlist. The frame rate in Big Team Battle also cannot boast of stability. If there are no noticeable drawdowns in the quality mode on the Xbox Series X, where the number of frames per second is limited to 60, then here is the performance mode, where in theory the game should work at 120 FPS, keeps on average around 80-90 with periodic jumps both higher and lower. I found the game uncomfortable in such conditions, even with FreeSync running. Another detail of a technical nature, albeit not the most significant - the developers for some reason changed the sounds made by some weapons. In particular, the changes affected the Needler (it began to sound less voluminous), the Gravimolot (bangs a little more powerful) and the plasma pistol (an awl for soap).

Summing up (and here it would be more appropriate to do this on two tests), we can definitely say that you can be absolutely calm for the Halo Infinite multiplayer. Employees of 343 Industries back in Halo 5: Guardians showed that they know a lot about how to make a competitive shooter that is fascinating and extremely demanding of the player's skills. And based on the results of testing the Halo Infinity network game, I have no reason to think otherwise.

There are two months left before the release of the project, and all the attention of the players will now definitely be directed towards the single-player campaign, about which very little is still known, and there is no need to worry about multiplayer. We are waiting for a great reason to spend several hundred hours proving whose skill is longer.

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