Note: I apologize for the novella I’m about to write, but hey that’s what you get when you invite a dude with an English degree to the technical preview of your upcoming game in one of his most favoritest game series ever. You want feedback? I’ll give you some feedback.
So, right from jump I want to be as clear as I possibly can be: I love this game. This game is shaping up to maybe be my favorite game in the franchise. From aesthetics, to music, to gameplay, to (seemingly) story direction. This game feels like someone over there at 343i has a direct line into my brain and is making this game for me. I also want to give a specific and well-deserved shoutout to every single solitary person who put their blood, sweat, tears, and love into this game. It shows. And I appreciate you. That being said, we’re here to talk feedback, so without further ado, let’s dive into my ever-so-slightly rambly thoughts on what I experienced over the last few weekends.
Movement & General Gameplay: The movement in this game is a fantastic blend between old and new, and I’m actually very satisfied with it. Well done!
Two things I’m not so satisfied with are no team collision and no friendly fire. To me, both being turned off just sort of… sterilizes the Halo MP experience in a way that I feel is unnecessary. Oh, and explosion knockback/physics too. Bring grenade jumps back pretty please.
The motion sensor was also… sort of pathetic in the build we had. 18m is just too short a range for it to be useful. 25m felt fine in every game prior. This is definitely a “ain’t broke don’t fix it” piece of Halo. Oh, and also please bring back the height indicator.
Now, I want to preface what I’m about to say with this: what we just experienced in the tech test was just that, a work-in-progress snapshot of a much larger game. I’m aware that things may have been set up the way they were because it was a tech test, and I’d be delighted for my worries to be unfounded. That being said. PLEASE DO NOT DROP MCC’S MATCHMAKING COMPOSER. This was, without question, my biggest issue with the flight. The MCC matchmaking composer is a feature that I refuse to belive has any downsides whatsoever. Allowing players to choose what specifically they want to play will not only keep people engaged longer, but it’ll make sure that people who are in each match definitely want to be there. Seriously. Even as a diehard fan, being forced to play a game type that I simply don’t enjoy (Strongholds) over and over and over and over again with no way to play what I want made me stop playing the flight early during the first weekend.
Vehicles: The vehicles we got to play around with in the tech preview all felt good, but a couple could use a second pass I believe. Let me start out by saying that the Ghost, Mongoose, and Wasp feel… perfect to me. Speed, damage, health, the whole nine yards. Amazing. Sadly, I never got the chance to use the Scorpion (more on that later).
My issue with the Warthog is mainly one of how it feels. It feels far too light on its feet. In fact, I couldn’t really notice a difference between the Warthog and the Mongoose, weight-wise. It feels like both flip -Yoink–over-teakettle at a stiff breeze. The Warthog’s turret (and turrets in general) feel incredible. The removal of the overheat mechanic was the right choice.
The Banshee’s problem is a very simple one. It’s too weak. Both as the driver and the one shooting at the thing, it felt like it was destroyed by small arms fire faster than it could do anything. Give it a solid boost to its health and it’s good to go. Oh, and keep the speed. Minus the health bit, this Banshee feels the best to pilot.
Weapons & Equipment: This is where we have a bit more of a subjective mixed bag. So I’ll do this is a bit of a rapid-fire way so I don’t run out of characters.
Assualt Rifle: Feels amazing. Less powerful than H5, but not… let’s be honest. Worthless, like in every Halo game preceding H5. Keep as-is.
Sidekick: Feels good, but a little strong. I think a very slight damage nerf would make it perfect.
Commando: The surprise underdog for me in this flight. I’ll admit I wasn’t sold at first. Now I am. I love this gun so much.
Battle Rifle: Old reliable. Feels great. Sounds great.
Bulldog: While not my favorite gun aesthetically, it performs like I’ve wanted the shotgun to perform for years now. It may not be as pretty as the shotties of old, but it feels amazing to use.
Sniper: I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of feedback on this one, so I’ll keep it brief. It just feels… off. Specifically when hip-firing. Shows just kinda… miss sometimes. Even when the crosshairs are dead-on (I double-checked on some poor bots just to be sure).
Pulse Carbine: This one’s a bit odd. I like it, but I still haven’t quite figured it out yet. I am holding out hope that we’ll get the classic plasma rifle back in all its glory someday (with CE stun effects maybe?) now that the Covenant (or I suppose I should say Banished) “Assault Rifle” doesn’t do the exact same thing as its classic counterpart.
Plasma Pistol: Bring the stun effect back. As is, this gun is pretty much useless. I really don’t think it having an EMP function will overshadow the new electric weapons, the same way the Reach grenade launcher didn’t overshadow the plasma pistol when it debuted.
Needler: Love it.
Grav Hammer: Feels INCREDIBLE. My only gripes are the lack of player physics effects, and that its “melee” attack (the one where you smack an enemy without using any battery) is too slow and deliberate when it doesn’t have the AOE effect with it. Let us use that big sharp blade on the back of the hammer like in Halo 4. Please? I love that animation so much. I’ll take it as a personal favor if it makes a return.
Skewer: Gamer like railroad spike gun. Like very much.
Ravager: Definitely my favorite new weapon overall. This thing feels like the perfect “brute” version of the plasma caster (though I wouldn’t complain if the caster made a proper return sometime down the line).
Shock Rifle: Felt great. Maybe a tad too easy to EMP with, but overall a great addition.
Heatwave: As someone who never really jived with the Promethean aesthetic, this thing feels right at home alongside the Sentinel Beam. Very well done.
Grenades: Overall feel great, though the Dynamo Grenades do feel a little too easy to get vehicle EMPs with.
Grappleshot & Repulsor: The best parts of Infinite. Bar none. So much fun.
Threat Sensor: I think the range on the pulse could be upped very slightly.
Drop Wall: Needs a buff in one of two areas. It either needs to be stronger if it’s meant to be used proactively or deploy faster if meant to be used reactively. It feels like it’s trying to both, and in so doing failing at both.
Overshield: Needs a buff, as-is it barely gives an advantage in a fight.
Camo: Great as-is. Love it.
The last thing I want to touch on is pelican drops in BTB. I love the concept, but they could definitely use more work. I really want more powerful vehicles to spawn naturally on some BTB maps, and I think the pelican dropzone needs to be randomized to a certain degree. It really sucks when the most fun parts of the sandbox are locked behind RNG drop-offs that you’’ most likely miss out on because a teammate got there first, or an enemy is camping the one drop-off spot for easy kills.
I’m nearly out of characters, so I’ll just say this: Thank you 343. This game is incredible, and I can’t wait to play more.
See you out there, Spartans.