Game News Halo Infinite: A season 2 worth seeing (and your return)?
Available since May 3, season 2 of Halo Infinite arrives as the community of the title shaped by 343 Industry shouts to anyone who will listen that it is starting to go around in circles. It is true that for a free-to-play based on Microsoft’s star series, the multiplayer mode has not evolved much since the release of its early access in November 2021. Concerns that the studio led by Bonnie Ross hopes to allay with multiple additions. What to bring the Spartans back to the battlefield?
A progression system that does not budge
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The American studio has been criticized for several months on social networks and on its forums, the fault of additions deemed too rare for a 2022 game-service. By opening with a new cinematic scene, 343 Industries obviously wants to mark the hit. In a way, this intro sequence is a promise to the player of a fresh start. Season 2 titled “Lone Wolves” (Lone Wolves) comes with a new 100 Tier Battle Pass giving access to over 180 unlockables, some of which are obviously accessible without spending the 1,000 credits required by the Premium version. If you haven’t finished acquiring all of the Season 1 content, don’t panic, there’s an option to select which Battle Pass is active.
We find a progression made up of challenges to complete, sometimes during specific events (such as the Interference event which runs until May 15, or the next Alpha Pack which will take place from July 19 to August 1). The Fracture event will allow you to unlock thirty personalization elements for free for your Spartan by completing challenges in the future Land Grab game mode (activating areas as quickly as possible), which will be released on May 24. Additions to the Season 1 progression system are still there: the first two matches bring 500 XP points minimum, and it is possible to exchange challenges with special consumables. Like other F2Ps on the market, the Battle Pass Premium gives access to 1,000 credits once completed (10 times 100 credits), which potentially pays for the purchase of a future Battle Pass.
In Spartan mode
Of the three new game modes officially listed by 343 Industries, two are actually throwbacks/variants of well-known modes Halo fans with King of the Hill (4v4 where you have to capture an area on the map. Once the area is captured by a team, a new area is determined) and Attrition (4v4 with common respawn pool and a danger zone Mode introduced in Season 1 with the Cyber Showdown event). The Attrition mod was particularly appreciated by players who had not hesitated to ask 343 Industries to make it a permanent mode. They are now granted. The real new mode of this season 2 is therefore based on “Last Surviving Spartan”, an each for himself where 12 players fight with unique conditions: only 5 reappearances before a final death, points acquired by killing enemies and recovering their AI to spend which allow them to improve their armament, and a combat zone which shrinks after 5 minutes. The last Spartan to be still standing at the end of the clashes wins the game.
Rather fun and quite stressful, this mode requires both to play it safe and to take risks by recovering AIs or by going in search of camouflages and other shields.. Although the shrinking area is a tension-boosting element during games, its integration leaves something to be desired. There were times when we would respawn outside of the cleared area late in the game, causing us to lose our shield and thus making ourselves weaker against the remaining opponents. Let’s hope that 343 Industries will find a way around this concern caused by the integration of a feature straight from the Battle Royal. Matchmaking also welcomes new variants in its playlist with Ninja Slayer (unlimited Elite sword and grappling hooks on the map), Vampireball (Oddball except that the skull kills once) and Rocket Repuslors (unlimited rocket launchers and Repulsors galore) . Enough to have a good time in parties with immediate fun.
Two cards in hand
Five months after its official launch, the multiplayer mode of Halo Infinite finally welcomes new maps. Two new maps, to be precise. The first Breaker, is a Big Team Battle map representing a Paria demolition site formed by two bases separated by a long central path. Its level design offers long clear lines ideal for snipers but also interior passages for sustained close combat, while the central aisle encourages breakthroughs in vehicles. It is nevertheless necessary to be careful where you put your wheels, since a destructive laser moves, ready to dissolve the stunned soldiers. Compared to other Big Team Battle maps, Breaker offers more verticality and is well thought out for Capture the Flags thanks to its multiple side paths allowing many strategies. The map also has multiple ledges and elements to jump on, allowing speedy enthusiasts to create daring courses.
The second, thought for the Arena, is called Catalyst. It is a Forerunner structure located in a cave and is home to waterfalls as well as vegetation. This map has excellent readability. There is always an opening to peek through. Opponents are quickly spotted, and the paths to take to flush them out are immediately understandable. You would have understood it, this level is ideal for sustained action, and is especially fun in Skull mode. In its level design, Catalyst is reminiscent of some fan favorite maps such as Lockout, Epitaph and to some extent Waterworks (more condensed, of course).
Alterations in a Major’s glove
Season 2 of Halo Infinite multiplayer also incorporates various rebalancing and additions, sometimes discreet, sometimes substantial. Melee damage has been reduced slightly, the Mangler sees his ammunition magazine melt like snow in the sun. The Ravager, on the other hand, is gaining in power and can now kill a Spartan in two hits. Other tweaks have been made to vehicles to improve Warthog handling, Chopper power while boosted, and Banshee velocity. Drop Wall and Overshield are also gaining in efficiency.
Regarding the interface, the movement detector has a new functionality in unclassified games. The border of the circle reveals the general direction of players sprinting, shooting, or using vehicles. In Arena mode, the Motion Tracker displays the precise points of enemies located up to 18 meters away, but the border detects opponents located within 30 meters. In Big Team Battle mode, the maximum distance of the Motion Tracker is 24 meters, and the edge functionality reaches 40 meters.
Among the tweaks we noted, Spartan Academy now allows workouts with no time limit, bots gain new behaviors, theater mode is more stable than before, and the outline around player armor offers different options customization (opacity, thickness). Finally, Xbox Series S owners will be delighted to learn that they will be able to have fun online at 120hz (at the expense of resolution), a feature that was currently only present on Xbox Series X.
When it’s blurry, is there a wolf?
Under cover of bug fixes, 343 Industries took the opportunity to review a few systems. The speed of slides on ramps has been decreased, and many collisions have been reworked. For example, it is no longer possible to lean on certain edges. This decision struck a part of Halo Infinite players who did not hesitate to voice their displeasure. The presence of queues that are too long, challenges with progression issues, desynchronization in certain games, and the always-noticeable absence of a 100% slayer free-for-all playlist are starting to annoy some historical fans of License. Professional players like Snip3down and Tyler Ganza have already contacted 343 Industries on the problems encountered. As of this writing, Joseph Staten, Head of Creative at 343 Industries, said on Twitter: “this week has been hectic. It was not our goal. We take your comments to heart (…). We are reviewing the options and we will have more news to come”. To make amends, the studio is going to offer 5 XP Boosts and 5 Challenge Swaps to people who log in during the Interference event.
Generally speaking, players were asking for more new game modes, more new maps, and new weapons for Halo Infinite’s multiplayer. Microsoft met some of their expectations with Lone Wolves, although the amount of genuinely new stuff fell short of expectations. Of course, we understand the importance for the studio to add a ton of customization elements in order to push the progression in the Battle Pass, but we would have preferred efforts on other types of content. Let’s hope that good surprises await us in the future.
Buy Halo Infinite for Xbox and/or PC from €39 at Amazon
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By CarnbeeJournalist jeuxvideo.com
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