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Halo Infinites first season has been an awkward mess

From thin content to disappointing events Halo Infinite put its worst foot forward. Halo Infinites abnormallylong first season is about to come to a close. On May 3rd Season 2 will roll in with two new maps three new modes a new battle pass and a mercifully shorter runtime of 3 months hopefully giving Infinite a muchneeded shot in the arm. Its probably not contentious to say that in the runup to Season 2 the mood in the Halo community isnt great. Infinite might be a solid shooter but its first season has been hit with setback after setback after setback. Even I the sites resident Halo buff fell off the game hard after only a month.

So how did we get here and what can Season 2 do to win over lapsed fans Halo Infinite should have arrived on a high. Reception following the games two technical multiplayer tests was glowing—here was Halo refined into the strongest iteration 343 had so far delivered featuring playful equipment balanced weapons tight maps and an aesthetic that finally ended the tyranny of over designed greebles. But it didnt take long after the games release for fans to start asking is this it Despite arriving a full year after its onceplanned 2020 release Infinites multiplayer felt shockingly thin. Staple modes like King of the Hill Assault Fiesta and even freeforall Slayer were missing from the launch lineup and Infinite shipped with the smallest map pool of any Halo to date.

Jumping fight

Over the season 343 would slowly roll in modes like Fiesta and FFA as time limited events though would eventually make them permanent. But that selection still felt thin especially considering Big Team Battle was straight up broken for much of the season. Limited playlists also means you had little control over what map or mode you were playing—and while well get into what that meant for progression it was exhausting to have an already small map pool feel even smaller if only because matchmaking rarely if ever decided to let me play maps like Behemoth or Launch Site.

Its easy to say that the addition of Forge which would let both players and developers bash out countless new variations of existing maps and modes would remedy this sparseness. But Forge is still not slated to arrive until Season 3 hits this August—and its absence is far from the only indicator that Halo Infinite needed a bit more time in the oven.

Battle passed
We all remember how naff the Season 1 battle pass was right A selection of uninspired occasionally unfinished armour pieces doled out at a piecemeal rate. 343 would eventually speed up the rate of unlocks but it hasnt changed the reality that between pieces being locked to armour cores and colours being tied to preset coatings customisation simply isnt fun. Six months after release and it still feels like Im fighting the same few clones.

Of course the battle pass isnt the only source of customisation. And while the ingame store had its own problems prices and forcing up costs by making you buy everything in bundles ingame events promised plenty of thematic options unlocked simply by playing. Two feudal Japanesethemed Halo spartans Things started off on a bad foot with Fractures Tenrai an event that recurred six times over the course of the season and at first wouldnt let you unlock more than seven tiers at once. In its first iteration Tenrai shared the Seasons battle pass issue of being padded out with challenge swaps and XP boosts with actual cosmetics being thin on the ground.

Later iterations would make actual cosmetics more frequent and easier to acquire thankfully. And later events like Winter Contingency Tactical Ops and Cyber Showdown added more cosmetic goodies to unlock even if some of them were poorly attached. By the end of the Season it started to feel that Infinite was hitting a more comfortable rhythm even if things were starting to feel extremely stale six months in.

Retooled and rearmed
Thats Season 2s biggest challenge then isnt it To make a game thats already fallen stagnant feel fresh and exciting again. Because for all the improvements my latest attempt to jump back into Infinite had me exhausted within three rounds. Its still the same Infinite even if some of my opponents have more garish hats. Season 2 is adding two new maps that look fantastic and three new modes including the curiously battle royal eadjacent Last Spartan Standing. And at a mere three months Im hopeful Season 2 will strike a better cadence with in game events and may have learned to be more generous with its pass offerings.

A lineup of halo spartans

But Im not confident Season 2 will keep me around once the novelty of new maps and modes has worn out. Custom games still dont offer the same potential for daft nonsense as The Master Chief Collection did nor does it have that collections vast array of playermade Forge maps. Maybe in a few seasons time Infinite will prove itself to be a fantastic next step for Halo. After all it took The Master Chief Collection a decade to hit its stride after an infamously clumsy console launch. Because even if Season 1 felt like an endless series of missteps theres still something special in Halo Infinte. Season 2 probably wont be a complete course correction but it can at least give the game its first step towards one.

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