Now is an opportune moment to revisit the 2021 shooter games that received harsh criticism upon release. The recent news is that Battlefield 2042 is now highly rated, giving players an enjoyable experience. Additionally, Halo Infinite’s multiplayer received a substantial update during the latest Season 3: Echoes Within, and I’m beginning to view it more favorably.
Let’s start with the positives: Season 3 brought in some much-needed changes to Halo Infinite with the addition of two Arena maps, Chasm and Cliffhanger, and one Big Team Battle map, Oasis. It’s a breath of fresh air since the game’s release, and all three new maps are fantastic. Chasm, in particular, has a distinctly Halo feel to it and could potentially be the best map 343 has ever created for the franchise.
At the core of an enigmatic extraterrestrial complex lies Chasm—a pair of corridors separated by an unfathomable abyss. Connected by a few delicate light bridges and hovering hexagonal platforms arranged like a 3D game, it poses an intricate challenge to navigate through.
The hallways’ symmetrical arrangement is ideal for combats between Battle Rifle enthusiasts and pistol experts, with most of the intervening space being a precarious chasm of doom. Consequently, opponents tend to remain on their respective sides while employing the side-strafe technique until one of them emerges victorious. This approach contrasts sharply with the customary Halo tactic of exchanging gunfire then engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Despite being more expansive than it appears, the area is not sufficiently vast to ensure that whoever obtains the top-floor sniper rifle will inevitably rule the map.
Chasm has an alluring and familiar vibe reminiscent of early Halo games. The polygonal structures, cold and geometric, transport players back to the franchise’s early stages. However, beyond the architecture, it’s the simplicity of the blocky maps that stands out. It’s almost impossible to imagine a Call of Duty map with such ample negative space. Chasm’s design echoes the good old days of PC arena shooters, which is where Halo: CE belongs, despite its Xbox roots.
A quick overview of what to expect from Halo Infinite Season 3:
The three cartographic depictions available are Chasm, Cliffhanger, and Oasis.
Introducing the M392 Bandit – a new addition to the arsenal.
A novel gameplay mode has arrived: Escalation Slayer (also known as Gun Game).
Introducing the latest addition to our equipment range: the Shroud Screen. This innovative device enables the user to create a protective dome that is invisible to the naked eye, keeping you safe from pesky no-see-ums.
A battle pass system consisting of a hundred tiers.
Ray tracing is a rendering technique used to generate realistic images by tracing the path of light as pixels in an image plane and simulating the effects of its encounters with virtual objects.
Chasm is a prime location for experiencing the thrill of Halo Infinite’s new firearm, the M392 Bandit. This semi-automatic kinetic rifle, a cherished descendant of the iconic Halo Reach DMR, is tailor-made for precision shooting. Despite firing at a slower pace than its predecessor, the Bandit’s more aggressive recoil and steady rhythm increase the chances of landing successive headshots. Although it may not outclass the famed Battle Rifle, it remains a preferred choice over the Commando, its automatic sibling.
The Bandit, a sought-after weapon in the Halo series, can be discovered in weapon lockers scattered throughout arena maps. However, its most significant reveal was in the newly-added “BTB Unlimited” playlist, which replaces the conventional pistol loadout with a Bandit/Assault Rifle pairing. I can hardly contain my excitement at the throwback to Halo Reach, and I hope it remains a permanent addition to the game.
Halo Infinite’s Season 3 introduces a refreshing twist to the classic Gun Game mode with the addition of team-based gameplay. Unlike traditional versions that involve swapping single guns, teams now alternate between 11 pairs of weapons with a common theme. While I wasn’t a fan of Last Spartan Standing, the new Escalation Slayer mode has won me over. With distinct weapons in Halo, Gun Game mode fits like a glove, and turning it into a team sport adds depth and strategy. This also avoids the issue of one player dominating the game and ending it prematurely.
Although there is a free-for-all version of Escalation for the Gun Game enthusiasts, I have yet to come across it during regular matchmaking.
As someone who lost interest in the game soon after its release, the quality and quantity of content in Season 3 is reassuring. It’s great to see that there are now ample activities to participate in within Infinite—a lengthy playlist and the ability to shift from a thrilling ranked match to an equally exciting Mongoose race on a faithful recreation of the legendary DK Mountain from Mario Kart is particularly noteworthy.
Despite the futuristic setting of Halo Infinite, the game’s 100-tier battle pass remains stuck in 2021. Even after grinding through nine tires, players often find themselves bored and underwhelmed. Although earning XP is more accessible, players who opt for the premium pass are often disappointed by the lack of gun skins and emphasis on individual armor pieces. Meanwhile, those who stick to the underwhelming free track receive non-rewards like challenge swap tokens.
Given the apparent openness to design modifications at 343, I propose a fix: Separate the armor from the battle pass and create a unique category for it. Personalizing my Spartan’s armor akin to dressing up a tactical Barbie is enjoyable, but obtaining it through a linear progression path obstructs the visualization of an ideal look and the ability to strive for it.
I believe that achieving a unique samurai helmet through completing personalized challenges would be far more valuable than unlocking an arbitrary shoulder guard by reaching tier 11. An excellent example of a successful progression system is Call of Duty’s gun camos, which prompt millions of players to dedicate themselves to the game for an entire year. It’s noteworthy that Call of Duty’s battle pass and progression ladder work together seamlessly. Rest assured, 343’s monetization department needn’t fret. There is ample space to sell the pricey skins.
The recent Halo update is great and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. My sincere wish is that 343 Industries seizes this momentous opportunity and transforms Halo Infinite into a triumphant comeback story in the coming year.