AMD Ryzen – Halo Infinite’s Tech Flight – First Impressions
I was able to play the Halo Infinite Technical Preview on Xbox Series X and PC, putting 20+ hours into it. As you may know, Halo Infinite has been my most anticipated game since it was announced back in 2018, so I was very excited when I got accepted into the multiplayer test flight.
Out of the gate, though, 343 Industries needs to find a better way to get invites out for future flights. I never received an email invitation and found out I was on the flight via Halo Waypoint at almost 1 AM Friday. Nevertheless, let’s talk about my thoughts on Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer!
The Sandbox & Gameplay
The base movement is fast, with sprint acting more like a tool – encouraging me to keep my gun up more often. The weapon handling is superb, especially as almost every weapon was useful and satisfying to use. For myself, the standout weapons were the new Bulldog shotgun and Banished Ravager!
Equipment was also beneficial throughout, and I loved how often they dropped! The grappling hook works very similar to the grapple in Titanfall 2, which means slingshotting around corners is magnificent! I would like to see the reach of the grapple extended, however. The Dropwall is also very useful when taking on multiple enemies!
The three maps previewed in the flight, Live Fire, Recharge and Bazaar, were shockingly well designed. It feels like they took Halo 5‘s movement mastery with Halo 3‘s sandbox designed maps – and it worked so well with Infinite‘s movement and gunplay. I even discovered a meta where it’s possible to deflect a frag grenade with a melee!
While it may be a little early to say for sure, as somebody who plays Halo religiously, Halo Infinite may contain my favourite multiplayer. I genuinely haven’t had this much fun with a multiplayer sandbox in years, and the blending of all my favourite Halo elements was a real treat!
Multiplayer Bots were excellently designed and way more intelligent than I had anticipated – at least on ODST & Spartan difficulties. They were some of the best bots I’ve played against since Unreal Tournament 2004! They weren’t too challenging, but just enough to keep the game fun for the entire weekend!
In addition, 343 Industries allowed real PvP to go live for 2 hours on Saturday evening. Playing against real people was a real treat, as we got a taste of what the online experience would *really* be like. As expected, it was tense as use hardcore Halo fans had been practising all weekend – and I had a great time playing it!
From my perspective, matches seemed balanced and fair, with powerful weapons and equipment spread out in equal territories. While some weapons could use a bit of tuning, they all felt powerful which made for a great experience.
I wasn’t expecting to like the new Friend or Foe system, replacing the classic Red Vs. Blue. However, playing it changed my mind early on as I appreciated seeing everybody’s unique spartan. I also found the enemies red shielding easier to recognise as they glowed. Though I do think the visuals for broken shields need to be easier to identify.
I found the armour customisation to be vast and deep. Despite the limited amount of armour and options to customise in the Flight – it’s clear this system will be the most throughout in any Halo game! While I am not yet sold on the new colour coating system, the designs themselves looked outstanding!
The ability to choose my AI’s design and personality was a nice touch as well. Having AI companions is an excellent addition to the announcer setup that I fell in love with instantly. It was almost hard to pick with several humorous personalities, but it’s evident that BUTLR (Pocket Alfred) is the best!
Players were given free in-game credits to spend on gun skins! Now, while I wasn’t a massive fan of how some of them looked – it was neat to have a fully fleshed-out system for gun customisation. It’s easy to use and navigate and is great for an extra spice of personality for players to have!
While the customisation, in general, was pretty limited throughout the flight, it was an excellent taste of what is to come. Of course, I hope to have it expanded upon in future flights to understand better how colour coatings and armour cores work, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
While I don’t have very many issues with the game, there are a few I would like to address. Don’t mistake this for needless complaining; part of the flight provides both positive and negative feedback. 343 Industries needs this input so they can improve the game for launch!
My main criticism is how Halo Infinite handled the XP in the Tech Flight. The only way to advance XP was to complete the daily challenges – which meant once they were complete, you couldn’t rank up the rest of the day. 343 Industries needs to ensure there is XP that is earned for just playing – or people will get tired of grinding the Battle Pass quick.
In addition, it seemed there was lacking features or sounds in some of the weapons. For example, the Needler had no sound when a super combine occurred, and the shooting noise seemed buggy and broken. In addition, the Skewer didn’t pin Spartans to walls – which was pretty disappointing. The Sniper and Battle Rifle aiming felt a bit shakey as well.
Finally, I am a bit concerned with the enemy outlines in the Friend or Foe system. They’re always highlighted, and it can be hard to tell when their shield was down – there needs to be better animation or clarity for it. In addition, glowing enemies ruin any chance for stealth plays, so I hope 343i can find an excellent way to address these issues.
Aside from apparent bugs, Halo Infinite’s graphics were stunning, especially with the build that was two months out of date! Playing on the Xbox Series X meant that the small details stood out: from the build-up grind on Spartan armour to the tiny crevices in weapons. As if there was any doubt – this is shaping up to be the best looking Halo game to date!
Performance mode ran at a solid 60-120FPS while Quality Mode ran at 60FPS 4K UHD. While the game looked good in both, it truly shined in quality mode. However, Performance Mode made the gameplay silky smooth, which is always a plus in multiplayer.
I also had the opportunity to play on a PC (Ultrawide Monitor, AMD Ryzen 7 3700x 8 Core Processor, 16GB Ram, Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070 Super). In addition, I was able to play a few rounds on the Xbox ONE X.
Unfortunately, the Xbox One X seemed to be capped at 30FPS, and while it ran pretty well, I did run into more bugs. On the other hand, playing on the Ultra-Widescreen PC was very neat, and it performed admirably, despite getting kicked out of matches semi-often.
Ultimately I found Halo Infinite to be everything I’ve wanted from the game and more, based on what I’ve played. I knew the game would be good, but I couldn’t fathom the multiplayer being this good. Nevertheless, I am genuinely happy with how Halo Infinite is turning out, and it seems to be the best multiplayer experience so far.
In addition, the music featured in the flight is some of the best in the franchise so far! Specifically, the Post Rock menu music is in my top 3 Halo music; it worked great in exciting me for the next match! Especially when mixed with the awesome pre & post-match animations of the teams!
There are a few criticisms and bugs I had with the flight. By sending feedback and bug reports to the Halo Waypoint Support page, I hope I have helped make a difference for launch. If you got into the flight, make sure you do so as well!
Now I am suffering withdrawals without playing it. Nevertheless, I am thrilled and cannot wait for the next test flight! It’s beyond clear that 343 Industries knows what they’re doing with Halo, and it’s turning out brilliant!
The Infinite Wait
Halo Infinite will be launching in Fall/Holiday 2021 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC, alongside Xbox Game Pass! Additionally, 343 Industries has promised more test flights, including actual PvP and BTB matches and modes. I genuinely cannot wait for more, so stay tuned to Informed Pixel as we cover more Halo Infinite through launch!
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I am Grunt 4500, the COO for Informed Pixel, and a Writer, Podcaster & Social Media Manager working in the Video Games Industry. If you would like to support me further or view my other content, follow me on Twitter at @InfiniteGrunt & visit my Linktree to find my podcast and many other projects! Your support means a lot!