Halo Infinite’s multiplayer launched back in November of last year, giving fans one of the best feeling Halo games in a very long time. Now, almost 6 months later, the game’s 1st season, Heroes of Reach, has concluded and the long-awaited season 2 titled Lone Wolves has finally launched. This update comes with a new battle pass, new maps, new modes and new armour to splash out on your Spartan.
So how is season 2 of Halo Infinite after a day of playing?
Still Some Core Issues
Let’s start with the new armour cores.
The new season 2 battle pass comes with a new set of armour and two new main armour cores: the RAKSHASA core and the EAGLESTRIKE core.
The RAKSHASA core is available for free as part of this season’s new battle pass and includes a huge suite of new gear and attachments to slot on.
The EAGLESTRIKE core is the second ‘Fracture’ armour core, different armour based on different reality versions of the current Spartan armour with the last one being samurai themed. This time, the fracture armour is based on industrial trench warfare from the early 20th century so think WW1 inspired helmets in steampunk style outfits, bulky Space-Marine-Esq armour and other such things. This ‘Fracture’ event goes live on May 24th.
Both armour sets look distinct and interesting enough to hold my attention: they stand out compared to last season’s offerings, making them a good pick up if you’re looking for some new gear to enter the new season.
One thing does still stand, however: cannon cores still cannot be combined. This is set to be coming at some point during season 2 but if you were hoping that it would be here at launch, sorry to disappoint. The ability to combine cores (excluding ‘Fracture’ cores of course) will go such a long way to helping the customisation and styling of each unique Spartan and help players truly feel like they are progressing.
Halo Infinite has one of the best customisations and suites of armour available in the Halo series: let us just hope that we get to experience it at its apex sooner rather than later.
A Cut Above, A Step Below
Next, the battle pass.
The season 2 battle pass houses 180 different items to offer, with 46 of them being free offerings. This includes the previously mentioned RAKSHASA armour core, new armour for both it and the Mark VII core, new armour effects (green holographic pieces titled ‘Pack Master’) and a new AI – Iratus – who hates you! The AI specifically has to do with this season’s story, involving a Spartan named Dinh who has managed to get a Banished AI stuck in his head and how we need to lure it out to flush it from Dinh without killing him.
This is the first time in Halo Infinite that 2 battle passes have been active at once: Heroes of Reach and Lone Wolves. As promised, you can switch back and forth between each pass whenever you want, meaning that if you didn’t grab everything from the last one you can go and grind it out whenever. This system is such a huge win for 343 and opens up the play possibility to new players coming to the game for the first time, or even just those with limited time. Hopefully, this system makes it into more games, because now it makes Halo Infinite a lot more appealing than some of its contemporaries.
What (still) isn’t so great is the way to earn progress on this pass.
Just like last season, core progress is tied exclusively to challenges – the easiest of which is a simple ‘Play A Game’ for 100xp. Alongside that, there are 3 other challenges (4 if the pass has been purchased) that all offer between 200-350 XP. So, if you’re completing around 1-2 challenges a game, that’s about 3 games per level of the battle pass: okay, right?
Well, unfortunately not. Many of the challenges are still tied to exclusive playlists and activities. Locking certain challenges to the limited-time mode is one thing, as 343 does want to incentivise players to engage with the new mode but locking progress behind other playlists just hurts the game as a whole. If I want to play Team Slayer or Big Team Battle, why should I have to play anything else to get challenge completions? Why do I have to pick progress over fun?
On the whole, Halo Infinite’s battle pass is unfortunately still a mix of both industry highs and lows: the ability to play any pass, whenever you want, and the amount of pure stuff offered for free and for paying customers is great and a real leader in the world of battle passes and seasonal offerings. However, the restrictive challenges really just go a long way to hampering this experience and make it feel more like a chore and less like a game.
Lone Wolfing It
Alongside the launch of season 2 comes a new limited-time event known as ‘Interference’. This is a 2 weeklong event consisting of a new limited-time game mode and items to earn from competing in that mode, from armour to AI colours to weapon coatings. It’s a nice small side activity to get people going during the starting weeks of the season, and while there is nothing phenomenal to offer from the free event offerings, it is still worthwhile to get them. I’m partial to the yellow AI colour myself.
What is this new event then? It is called ‘Last Guardian Standing’.
This game mode is a 12-man free for all, with all matches taking place on the new map ‘Breaker’. Each player starts with 6 lives each and the same loadout. They must aim to both stay alive and reduce the lives of the other Spartans they are going up against. If you manage to make it long enough, a damage-dealing ring like those found in battle royals like Apex Legends or Fortnite will slowly start making its way into the arena, forcing combatants together so that they can face off. Whoever is left standing at the end wins.
Additionally, there is an event exclusive challenge which grants one level of the new event pass per challenge completed. The 2 I have completed so far both include melee kills (1 backstab and 3 regular melee kills).
From personal experience, it’s a game mode that is more fun the more you play it. My first several matches were quite poor, both in terms of my gameplay after having not played for several weeks and in terms of getting used to the mode. If you get unlucky with spawns or simply get overwhelmed, it is very easy to die quickly and once all your lives are gone, you’re out. What can add further to that frustration is that when you lose all your lives the game will tell you that you can leave without penalty – which you can – but it means that you cannot achieve the requirement for completing a match for the battle pass. This means that you must sit and watch everyone else fight to get that challenge done: if you get taken out early, that could mean waiting 3-7 minutes doing absolutely nothing.
Despite this, the game mode is fun. Changing weapons using points means that you actively seek out engagements rather than hiding and having 12 players is enough that you can always find a fight close by.
While not my favourite mode in Halo Infinite, ‘Last Spartan Standing’ isn’t a mode that I despise playing. It’s something I will happily play as I work through the event exclusive challenges for the next week or so.
A Lonely Start
So far, Halo: Infinite season 2 just looks like more Halo Infinite.
There are new modes, new maps, new gear, and new things to chase, but at the end of the day nothing that drastic has happened. The game is still lacking core features such as Forge or even campaign co-op, and despite some steps in the right direction it still feels like Halo is lagging behind a bit. Most of this is attributed to employee welfare and wellbeing which of course is of the highest priority: nobody in this industry that we love should be overworked, crunched or made to do excessive amounts of overtime just to please us. For who will make these games if they do not take care of themselves?
But even still, it is plain to see that Halo: Infinite has yet to relive the peak of its popularity as players have come to understand its annoying intricacies and restrictive portions that limit expression and fun. Halo: Infinite has even failed to crack the top 10 list of Twitch for its grand opening of the second season, which while not a required metric does showcases that a brand as big and recognisable as Halo hasn’t been able to recapture as many people as it may have once.
Considering that this new season is set to be another long one, we better strap in and see what the future holds.
Halo Infinite season 2 Lone Wolves is out now on Xbox and PC for free.
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