hello infinity is out now, and as I summer wisely predicted back, is an absolute blast. But while moment-to-moment Racing and Gunning may be 343’s best, the studio is certainly having a hard time reassuring fans that it can handle this new free-to-play transition for Halo.
This battle is near, friends. It’s just not very good.
Ahead of launch, the 343 earned affection with the claim that Infinite’s Battle Pass would last forever. Unfortunately, it seems like even one of them will take forever to complete—going through the hello subreddit, and it’s immediately clear that there are some frustrations with the pace of progress to Infinite.
The problem is that, unlike many similar systems, Halo doesn’t offer a flat XP advantage for finishing matches or performing well. Instead, Battle Pass progression is based entirely on weekly challenges (resetting every Tuesday), with a basic daily challenge that only gives 100xp for playing a game. Progressing slowly, with 1000xp needed to reach a rank. I played five games myself this morning and barely made a dent.
Those challenges are made more complicated by the fact that some weekly challenges require certain game modes to be played. As Tyler C has already pointed out, you Just can’t get into the 24/7 Slayer playlist, and the same applies for CTF, Strongholds and Oddball—the modes I’m currently tasked with playing for challenges.
The thought of completing 100 of these levels seems immediately distracting at this pace, and that’s only doubled by the fact that Halo’s customization options are kinda, well, naff. The current pass has plenty of exciting unlocks for you to cosplay the characters from Halo Reach, but most levels will give you a dull new helmet, kneepad, or armor coating (color scheme).
Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s seasonally unlocked trees had the same rewards, but by default you had enough options (and a completely free color system) to make you a Spartan that still made itself felt. Infinite, in contrast, barely gives me any tools to stand out.
Here’s the thing: I don’t hate battle passes. Despite having serious concerns about the many ways the game is monetized (laden with loot boxes and limited-time offers), I still buy the Apex Legends Pass every season because it’s a reasonable way to support a free game. Looks like a way. Hundreds of hours of play.
Yes, most of the cosmetics are unusable to me as a move to Horrible Horizon, but I’m unlocking them through regular play at a faster rate, and there will probably be at least a few weapon skins or charms that find their way. in my rotation. But more importantly, I’m not going to go out of my way to pursue challenges that will net me only a Mozambique skin and some crafting materials.
Hello Infinite also promised to fix the problems I had with Battle Pass. It’s disappointing that I’ll never be able to get into Apex’s voice synthesis bagpipes Because I wasn’t playing in season 7. Seasonal FOMO sucks, and it’s good to know that I’ll never miss a chance to dress up my Spartan as George from Hello Reach because this season’s gifts aren’t going straight anywhere.
But I’ll probably never get the chance, because I can’t see myself climbing this pass tearing my hair out. A good fight pass lurks in the background, providing you with new toys and sometimes inspiring you in new ways to climb the ranks faster. Infinite makes me feel like I’m constantly being punished for playing the wrong game, and that’s a problem that’s only going to get worse as new seasons fall with a pass of their own. We have 6 months to move on to Season 1—but what happens once Seasons 2, 3, and 4 roll in? Do we have to divide our time and progress between multiple passes at once?
I don’t envy 343 for the challenge of figuring out what a good Halo battle pass looks like. Halo armor is spartan by design—it’s what you manage to create with the available parts and colors that makes your soldier special. The Master Chief Collection strikes a fine balance of giving you enough basics to work with while keeping the more esoteric designs in its seasonal passes, but as later seasons will prove, it’s too easy to push. downright ridiculous,
It’s hard to create a singular, compelling outfit in a world where the most iconic character is a green tank carrying a motocross helmet. But I think Infinite has done a good job of creating interesting armor parts within an established genre. I just wish I could unlock those parts at a faster rate.
I’m playing Halo Infinite this week, and I’m excited to see how our regular Halo group takes on it in the coming months. But I’m sorry to immediately spend money on a battle pass that makes the main sin of being both slow And Inspirationless. Unless something changes dramatically, it’s hard to see itself paying off the next time the 343 arrives at my door with another season of trinkets.