Halo Infinite’s December Update Is A Very Big Deal

Let’s go!
Poison: 343 Industries / Kotaku

There are those who said this day would never come, but here we are: after a remarkably shaky launch last year, Halo infinity just deeply leveled in one of the best ways possible. With a new/old map, a custom game browser, new customization options and more, the game feels more like Halo than it has felt all year. Is it time to say”Halois back, dear”? I think so!

Today, Halo infinity received the long-awaited December update. Building on the momentum the game gained when the Forge, the creator of the maps, hit open beta a few months ago, there’s now a fully custom game browser that lets you jump into user-created maps with other players. The limited customization options for your Spartan have also been improved, with all previously released types (cores, as the game calls them) unlocked for everyone, and a boost to the color of several skins. And if you were a fan of Halo 3 cards, you have a nice surprise in store. There are also a number of network improvements and some PC-specific updates.

If you want to read the full details on all the improvements of the December update, you can check out the patch notes here. Let’s cover the highlights.

For starters, the game features an all-new map. “Empyrian” is a remake of Halo 3‘s classic “The Pit.” This time it has a cyberpunk-esque vibe and features some weapon changes: the Bulldog is where the sword would normally be. UNSC turrets have been replaced with the new (and beastly) scrap cannon. But sniper rifles, battle rifles, needle machines and more all feel like they’re where they’re supposed to be. Jumping in here is an instant dose of nostalgia, and it works really well with Halo Endlessmovement styles.

A Spartan fires at enemies with a scrap cannon.

Classic vibes with new looks!
Screenshot: 343 Industries / Kotaku

And speaking of maps, you can check out now all those Forge reproductions of classic maps I told you about last week with real players, now, as a custom game browser, found in the Community tab, for all Spartans to enjoy. And while the list is small at this point, it’s been impossible for me to enter a room since they’re all packed and kill each other on maps like Peach’s Castle and a remake of Snowbound, to name two that I saw in the list.

read more: 24 Halo Infinite Forge cards inspired by the classic games

Is that all? Not yet, Snake. It’s not done yet. Halo infinityPlayer customization features were previously limited, bound by a silly set of rules that meant only certain colors and armor options could be used on specific armor cores. While much of it is still in place, the walls are beginning to crumble. All players now have access to the Mark V [B], Rakshasa, Yoroi and Eaglestrike armor cores. In addition, these cores now all have access to the cadet color skins. These colors, previously dull, screamed “I didn’t buy the battle pass!” But now they are much more vibrant, with “less wear” and “polished silver” trim pieces.

A menu shows off different colors for a Spartan.

Screenshot: 343 Industries / Kotaku

The game also received some tuning under the hood. The infamous ‘desync’ issue that many players face was given some attention, and melee attacks, and the way they connect to moving players, would connect more consistently. Persistent problems with reloading guns and blank shots have also received attention.

We PC players got some love too. Finally, we have access to red reticle indicators, where your reticle glows red (or your chosen enemy color) when you’re within effective range of a given weapon. This was previously disabled to restrict general purpose aimbots using this information to perform inhumane responses. Hopefully we don’t see a wave of cheaters. Improvements have also been made to mouse aiming and scroll wheel.

Since the custom games browser is also live, it’s great to see improvements for player reporting as well. The patch notes state that you can now “mute and report other players during multiplayer matches via the in-game leaderboard”. When reporting someone, you can choose from the following options:

  • Inappropriate User Generated Content
  • Discriminatory language
  • Harassment or bullying
  • Vulgar language
  • Team murder or self-destruction
  • Inactive or stop
  • To cheat

I bet the idling and stopping will probably get a lot of use. If you’ve played Halo infinity not lately at all, you know what I’m talking about.

Halo has not had an easy past year. A lack of content, various technical issues, and a major delay for Season 3 have all made the game feel much more depressing than it should be. Hopefully, this update dramatically improves the experience for those of us who keep returning to this unique arena shooter experience, and sets the stage for better times ahead.

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