After much anticipation, Halo Infinite Season 4 has finally been released. With the new update comes a slew of additions, such as a brand new battle pass and the return of the fan-favorite mode ‘Infection.’ 343 Industries has hyped up Season 4 as the “biggest Halo Infinite update to date.” But is the update enough to justify all of the delayed features in Halo Infinite? Here are my first impressions of everything Halo Infinite Season 4 has to offer!
In an earlier guide, we detailed some of the history of the ‘Infection’ mode. But to summarize, ‘Infection’ was first introduced in Halo 3 as a simple horde mode. Two players would start as the infected, armed with swords and fast movement options. In comparison, the other non-infected players would be armed with nothing but a shotgun to fend off the infected players.
The mode has been a constant fixture of the franchise since Halo 3. A different variation was introduced in Halo 4 that changed the infected players aesthetically: rather than looking like ordinary players, they looked like more traditional zombies.
In Halo Infinite, the mode has been aesthetically changed once again. Rather than the characters being infected by zombies, they are infected by a rogue AI. This new story development was first hinted at in a cutscene revealed in Season 3. For the most part, the mode works the same as prior versions.
In this version, however, the non-infected players can access a shotgun and a rifle with limited ammo. They also can fire tracking darts to mark the infected on the map. Infected players, on the other hand, are constantly cloaked and can teleport or obscure the view of other players.
Theoretically, this seems like a great new way to spice up the ‘Infection’ formula. But in execution, it isn’t as well balanced as other modes. The shotgun does very little damage, and the rifle is completely useless. Plus, with the maps being so cramped, the balance is often far too skewed in favor of one side. As a result, unfortunately, the mode gets old quickly.
The Battle Pass and New Ranking System
The issues with ‘Infection’ are only the tip of the iceberg. With the new Season also comes a new Battle Pass. The first two battle passes added interesting customization options in the form of brand-new armor sets and new AI companions. However, Season 3’s battle pass was lacking in comparison. As such, there were very few notable features that encouraged players to devote time and money to its progression.
In that aspect, Season 4 is very similar to Season 3. Beyond some aesthetic changes, there aren’t a lot of notable new features that make Season 4’s battle pass worth purchasing. The new armor sets aren’t that remarkable, the new stickers and weapon skins aren’t worth spending ten dollars on, and we haven’t gotten a new AI character since the second Season.
Another feature added is a brand-new ranking system. Rather than the player leveling up their battle pass, they level themselves up for nothing more than bragging rights. As a result, not only is this a system that should’ve been included since the beginning, but it’s also redundant.
Back in 2010, Halo Reach had a similar progression system. Every time you leveled up your career rank, you were given access to new armor sets, effects, and other bells and whistles. Rather than being forced to pay for these unlocks, you earned them by playing more of the game.
Unfortunately though, this is not possible with Halo Infinite‘s current infrastructure. So, as a result, many of the new additions end up falling flat and becoming almost entirely unnoticeable.
Most of the other issues with Halo Infinite Season 4 are issues that have been consistent with Halo Infinite for the past three years. These problems usually relate to how Infinite is structured as a live-service game. Few maps are available, weapon options become scarce and bland the more you play, and it doesn’t have the same level of gameplay variety as previous Halo games.
With this season though, there are a few brand new issues too. One thing that made previous Halo Infinite seasons enjoyable was the story cutscenes they implemented. It helped to spice up the gameplay, and it expanded the world of Halo further.
In a recent tweet however, Brian Jarrard, community director at 343, mentioned that the multiplayer narrative cutscenes have been cut entirely. This seems like a massive loss, especially with the story getting more interesting this season.
Additionally, while there are two brand-new maps, I never saw them in my first few hours of play. This is a long-running problem with Halo Infinite. As a result of the map rotation, you’ll often get maps that have been in the game since launch and not any of the new ones. Currently, there are no ways to specify what maps you want to see in rotation.
After a few matches, I found myself constantly exiting games and reentering so I’d get to see something new. Additionally, I couldn’t experience any of the new power-ups because of the lack of a balanced map rotation. An example is the quantum translocator. When the player activates it, move around for some time. After that, they will be returned to where the tool was activated. So, as a result, the only new feature I could experience was ‘Infection,’ which wasn’t enough to hook me.
Since Halo Infinite was released, one question has bugged me: Why shouldn’t I play the other games in the series instead? Halo: The Master Chief Collection includes every Halo game except Halo 5 and the Halo Wars games. It’s available on Xbox Game Pass and often goes on sale on Steam. In the three years since Infinite has released, I’ve hoped there would be one update to justify its purchase.
But based on my impressions of Halo Infinite Season 4, even though this is supposed to be the most significant update so far, I’m not sold on it yet. The sad reality is that I’m not sure if Halo Infinite will ever be “fixed.” The biggest problems with Halo Infinite are built into its very infrastructure and can’t be fixed without years of development and rebuilding the game from the ground up.
Halo has been put on the backburner by Xbox if its absence at their Showcase is anything to go by. While years of Halo Infinite updates have been planned, I can’t see any more support being given to the game beyond the following year at the maximum. So while it is possible that Seasons 5, 6, or even 7 of Halo Infinite could improve the game, I can’t ever see the game ever being fixed without a fundamental restructuring of the game’s systems.