By Braedon Martin / Staff Writer

Nov. 12 was the anniversary of the massive gaming company Xbox, and during a celebratory livestream they revealed the secret release of the free-to-play multiplayer mode for the upcoming “Halo Infinite” release.

In the days since it’s launch, I have played more than 48 hours of “Halo Infinite” multiplayer. This is why I feel uniquely qualified to talk about it.

“Halo” is fun, it’s always been fun, as far as arena shooters go, it’s one of the only remaining IPs that can still hold its own as an arena shooter without having to sell out to the ever expanding influence of battle royales.

Recently, Twitter has been exploding with the idea that “‘Halo Infinite’ needs a battle royale to stay relevant.”

Those people are wrong. Not only are they wrong, they are wrong and you cannot trust them.

This past weekend only proves that point. “Halo Infinite” has been one of the most talked about games this month, on top of the releases of numerous other games. Heck, “Battlefield 2042” is fully released Friday and “Infinite” has overtaken it in the news.

I’ve seen a lot of folks saying that the multiplayer doesn’t even feel like “Halo” anymore. Once again, these people are wrong and cannot be trusted. While it has added a few things, those few things serve exclusively to improve the gameplay and its fluidity. Some believe that it’s heretical for sprint to exist in a “Halo” game, and “Halo 5’s” multiplayer definitely had its issue with the sprint function, but Infinite has fixed each and every problem that 5 had, while “Halo 5’s” non-sprinting speed is a walking pace, “Halo Infinite” is constantly at a running pace, and the sprint is essentially a super speed. “Halo Infinite” may only be good now, but once Forge mode releases and custom games ramp up, and especially when the full roster of game modes release, there is a very real chance that it could be the best “Halo” multiplayer in the series.

Gameplay fluidity is something that 343 Industries has always been good at, and with this release they’ve gotten even closer to the classic Bungie Halo gameplay. The gunplay is, for the most part, fantastic. The weapons really feel like they’re genuine weapons. The kinetic weapons look, sound, and shoot just like real guns, and the damage they deal, while it feels a bit underwhelming, makes sense because you’re shooting through energy shields. Once the shields come down, it only takes a few bullets to completely decimate your foe. On the other hand, the energy weapons I’ve had experience with feel completely underwhelming. They’re horribly inaccurate, and the damage boost towards energy shields hardly helps when you have to have near perfect aim in order to take their shields out effectively.

My only real gripe with the weapons is Infinite’s shotgun. Compared to the previous iterations of the franchises shotgun, which feel like you’re firing a freight train full of thermonuclear weapons at your enemy, Infinite’s shotgun, the Bulldog, feels like you’re gently tossing a handful of nerf darts at your enemy, only for them to turn around with a .50 cal sniper rifle and send you to meet your maker.

On top of the disappointing nature of the Bulldog, the battle pass, which is Infinite’s only way to unlock cosmetic items, is drop dead terrible at this time. The only way to level up the battle pass is to complete arbitrary challenges, and even then you don’t really get that much experience points for completely said challenges, and you need to complete three or four challenges for every level.

Speaking of cosmetics, the sheer customizability of “Halo Infinite” is wonderful. On top of the typical customization of choosing your characters gender, armor colour, and emblem, just like previous halo games, you can customize almost every aspect of your character’s armor. Their helmet, shoulderpads, chest piece, knee pads, even the visor color. For the first time in the franchise, your character can have artificial limbs. I had a blast unlocking and looking at new armor pieces, and coming up with a backstory for my halo character. It’s easily the most bought into a customization system I’ve ever been for a game.While every game has its problems, “Halo Infinite” is an incredible breath of fresh air for the arena shooter genre, and has only left me more excited for the complete release of the game on Dec. 8.

Braedon Martin is a Buhler freshman studying journalism.

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