If Halo birthed the modern console-based competitive shooter , then Halo 2 perfected it. At least by the standards of the day.
While it’s understandable that Microsoft desires to keep the series going, those early titles created quite the legacy to uphold.
I’m not sure Halo: Infinite is the way to do that.
Hardcore players have lamented the series changes put in place since 343 Industries took over with Halo 4.
“New” features like kill streaks and sprint emulated popular shooters like Call of Duty rather than building on the franchise’s history of innovation.
In an attempt to keep Halo relevant, the team ironically neutered much of what made it great.
Halo 5 brought the competitive scene closer to the franchise’s roots, with tighter maps, the return of the powerful pistol, and a focus on the core PvP experience. Unfortunately, changes like ground pound, thruster pack, and slide were a collective dud.
And we all know Halo 5 featured the series’ worst campaign by far:
After watching today’s Xbox Games Showcase, I’m skeptical that Halo: Infinite has addressed these concerns.
Infinite still has sprint. It introduces a ton of shiny, new (but ultimately unnecessary) guns and, for some reason, a grappling hook?
The latter fits in with the campaign’s wide-open scope, but what does it mean for multiplayer?
What made OG competitive Halo great was its tight, symmetrical map design.
Balanced loadouts and a focus on precision weapons incentivized skill-based play, instead of the mindless button-mashing and “twitch play” that pervade Call of Duty and so many other titles.
Infinite might feign a commitment to skill-based play, but retaining sprint and adding a new grappling hook looks like a recipe for disaster.
While verticality has always been Halo’s bread and butter, this was balanced by an even playing field. Both teams ran at the same speed, had equal access to weapons, and so on.
Sprint varies player movement for no real purpose, and the grappling hook might make things too vertical. It’s easy to see matches getting pointlessly chaotic.
The inevitable result is that players will spend less time fighting and more time maneuvering.
Halo isn’t suited for Quake’s insanely-fast strafes and jumps, but it’s not slow enough for grappling hooks either. How will 4v4 competitive matches play out on maps that cater to grapple and sprint?
It’s impossible to please everyone, but with these drastic departures from the franchise’s competitive roots, I worry Halo: Infinite multiplayer won’t oblige anyone.
That’s the last thing the Xbox Series X needs.