Halo Infinite has been in an absolute groove ever since the December 2022 update, and it looks like 343 Industries has got plenty steam in them yet with Season 5: Reckoning. Whether its Pierre Hintze taking over or the usual drawn out wind up of live service games, Season 5 has again addressed why Infinite hasn’t felt like prior games.
It was just the other day I was craving the nonsense of Reach era Firefight, and wouldn’t you know, we’re finally getting remnants of goofy Halo PvE in Infinite. (Firefight King of the Hill and Forge AI). The Master Chief Collection is always there for that comfy hit of nostalgia, but I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting Infinite to be the full, rounded out package. It’s awesome to see PvE at least addressed, and 343 is also bringing forward some other missing pieces of the classic Halo experience with:
- Flood customization items (I’m not sure if this is even in MCC?)
- Two developer-crafted Arena maps (Prism and Forbidden)
- The ability to use any helmet across all Armor Cores
- The Mark VI Armor Kit as a reward for maxing out career progression
- A new reimagining of Halo 4’s Extraction mode
- The ability to earn XP in Custom Games (Subtle, but absolutely huge)
- New seasonal events (That won’t expire)
The only real lack here is the lack of attention towards Big Team Battle. Squad Battle was a great add to Halo Infinite, but the game desperately needs as many original BTB maps as possible. I’m really holding out hope that behind the scenes there are community made BTB maps to tide us over until more developer made maps are (hopefully) released.
The biggest standout for me is the combination of Forge AI and XP gains in Custom Games. The Custom Game Browser came…and kind of went. We’re at the point where people need to feel like they’re being rewarded for whatever they’re playing. Pushing out the Custom Game Browser without tying it to progression didn’t make sense, and I’m hoping this can be a shot in the arm towards a healthier state for customs.
For the first time in a while, Halo’s future has consistently been looking…not grim. I still think BTB is lacking, but most pain points are being addressed, so I’ll continue to hold out hope. It’s not a guarantee, but I’m dreaming of a mid-season surprise similar to Husky Raid and Squad Battle that introduces community maps. If anything, the fact that 343 has been unafraid of setting a good precedent says a lot, and it no longer feels like Halo fans, myself included, are just going through the motions.
Lover of games, tech, nature, and strange electronic music. Shaped by Sega, PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox – platform agnostic ever since. Currently overwhelmed by choice on my Xbox Series X thanks to Game Pass.