Even I, a staunch and outspoken supporter of Halo, quit playing Halo Infinite. Even while the newest game from 343 Industries played as well as a Halo game should, for almost two years after its weird, staccato launch, there were no new maps added. As a result, I intermittently played it from the time it was released in November 2021 until the end of the previous year, and then I kind of forgot about it.
Then, in February of this year, 343 brilliantly enlisted the assistance of its extraordinary community to help spice things up by providing a number of new maps in official playlists that players could find and enjoy (rather than having to use the custom game browser to find Forge-made maps). Yet Infinite didn’t start to sing in earnest until last month’s release of Squad Battle, a new playlist that resembles the classic Large Team Fight and uses familiar Halo maps.
A horse can be guided to water, but it cannot be forced to drink. Similar to that, you can advise me to play Halo Infinite again, but you can’t force me to when Overwatch 2 and the brand-new Nicki Minaj Call of Duty operator are around. But, if you’re my fiance and persistent enough, you might be able to persuade me to play Halo Infinite once more out of curiosity, especially if you claim there are “additional ancient maps.”
Halo Infinite Squad Battle got me back into the game
A nice medium between the chaotic 12v12 Large Team Battle matches and the far less forgiving 4v4 face-offs, the Squad Battle playlist made its debut in July 2023. The 8v8 games take place on maps created by the Halo community and combine standard Slayer battles with certain objective-based variations. More significantly, every map is from a previous Halo game. That does indicate that Valhalla is back. cheers, Spartans.
When I queue up for a game and see images of the renowned Halo 3 map’s evergreen forests, ankle-deep water, and massive, futuristic skyscrapers while the match loads, I don’t even realize it is in the rotation. As I stumble out onto the inclined slope at one end of the vast, sunny valley, I am immediately struck by a powerful feeling of nostalgia and the cockpit of a Banshee. Splattered, boom.
The result is a contest that, combined with Halo Infinite’s rock-solid gunplay and a nearly immaculate design of a classic Halo 3 map, feels better than any Halo Infinite match has ever done. The scale and breadth of Valhalla are ideal for new weapons like the Commando, which allow me to kill players camped out in a distant Forerunner building while still having a use for them when one of them lands on my head.
Like I did in 2007, I lob grenades into the tunnel that runs parallel to the valley wall. Just like I did in 2007, I leap a Warthog through the gravity cannon and flip end-over-end towards the direction of the hill in the middle of the map. Just like I did in 2007, I grab a sniper rifle and sneak along the edge of a rocky protrusion while shooting heads. The bass drum is slamming in my chest, and the Gregorian chants from Halo are echoing in my ears.
The following game will take place on Exile, a Halo 4 map that is situated near a sunken UNSC ship. Once more, there are a ton of vehicles, as well as hiding places for opponents with weapons in hand. I leap onto a Banshee and fly straight up into the air, swooping down toward a single enemy Spartan like a peregrine falcon and swooping up and away from the ground at the last second. Throughout the entire game, I’m beaming from ear to ear, oblivious to the outcome, and unconcerned about dying. Why does this experience in Halo Infinite feel so much superior than anything else?
Since the game’s release, there have undoubtedly been large open areas with enclosed places scattered around the landscape and vehicles simply ready to be ridden. Yes, the weaponry and movement mechanics have always been fantastic, masterfully balancing the more traditional Halo physics with more contemporary FPS standards. Maybe this is all just one huge exercise in the power of nostalgia, and the only reason Halo Infinite has me so worked up is because it treated me to a little Rat’s Nest.
Yet, it’s possible that Halo Infinite has always been as excellent. It only required a dependable channel, a recognisable face, to serve as a reminder of that.