In terms of gameplay I think 343 did a great job in trying to find a middle ground between old vs new school Halo. What I can’t understand is why 343 put so much time and effort into adding a ton of content that was missing in MCC but then left all that same stuff out with Infinite??!!!
Whether or not you liked the game, I think Reach from 2010 is a great example of this. 343 have gone back to Reach multiple times over the years (mainly for cosmetic purposes), hell the first Infinite battle pass is Reach themed but everything that Reach did well in terms of the UI, has been missing in Halo games since.
Menu: A simple but easy to navigate UI with playlists in a list format so they can be viewed easily - now with the new playlists available you can’t even see the ranked playlist anymore which is beyond me. Reach also had great armour customisation without needing an over the top menu that makes it a hassle to alter.
The Reach Progression System: I still don’t know why to this day 343 have not gone back to this level system. Yes they kinda did it with MCC but similarly to H4 and H5 the ranks might as well have been a number too. Going through the general army ranks and then the mythic ranks was the most enjoyable social grind Halo ever had. Why 343 went to numbers in H4/H5 is again confusing to say the least but we don’t even get that in Infinite. Yes I am aware they are working on it but just make a carbon copy of Reach’s social rank and I’m sure 90% of the population would be happy to grind for Inheritor without a fuss.
Dedicated Server Selection/Good connection filter: This was removed in MCC and H5 and added over time but once again, not in Infinite despite 343 stating it would be in the game…
Medals: Reach medals were the best period, there’s no argument to be said here. When you got a medal it meant something, now they are just handed out for simply playing. Why did we go away from weapon spree medals but instead have medals for getting 5 kills with a weapon ? Anyone can get 5 kills with a rifle or a pistol, or a melee, it just doesn’t make any sense.
Social/Ranked MMR: It’s been around since H5 and it just doesn’t work. The MMR system just incites smurfing and boosting, it’s already happening in Infinite and the game hasn’t even been out for 2 months. It should be gone entirely from social as it defeats the purpose of the damn mode. The rank system from Bronze to Onyx is fine but I truly believe the 1-50 worked better because everyone started together. The current system could work if everyone started at Bronze 1. I really don’t see why this isn’t a thing. The ranks are currently inflated and once you hit onyx what do you do? Just keep grinding? For what? Too many people get bored grinding for more CSR as there isn’t a champ rank. It’s pointless. I’m sure 343 will add in a champ rank at some point but as with H5 it’s not hard to get especially when more playlists drop. If it was actually a grind then people would continue playing as they have something to work towards and make Platinum/Diamond actually meaningful rather than just a ‘placement rank’.
Challenge Rewards: Well what do I say here…Yes Infinite is a monetization monster but why is the ultimate challenge reward for completing absolutely stupid challenges a weapon emblem??? So you spend a few hours grinding challenges to then get a pointless emblem or background but in the shop you have all different armour pieces. You can do all the monetization you want but what is even the point of the challenge rewards if they are absolutely garbage, it’s honestly pathetic (both the rewards and the challenges themselves). 343 go back to the Reach weekly challenges and maybe you might learn a thing or too about challenges that are meaningful that people will actually enjoy going for instead of gametype specific challenges that people just hate to complete.
There’s a ton of stuff I’ve left out but it paints the picture. For a game that had 6+ years of development and a supposed $500 million budget, a 2010 Xbox 360 game still has many features that worked fine and we are impatiently waiting a return for.