The response to Halo Infinite's recent multiplayer tech test has been overwhelmingly positive. We thought it was great—as Nat wrote, "a welcome return to the more playful sandboxes of older games." There were performance issues that showed Infinite isn't optimized yet, but developer 343 Industries said before the test to expect those, so odds are good they'll all be polished up before release.
There wasn't much that really felt off in the Halo tech test, but Infinite could definitely still use some tweaks to its UI, chatty AI assistants and customization options. Here's what we'd like to see improved and changed before Halo Infinite launches.
Add opacity settings to team outlines
We knew Halo Infinite's new freeform customization that lets any player wear whatever armor color they'd like in team games (and not just red vs blue) would have some growing pains, and this is one of them. Teammates now have a noticeable rim lighting around their silhouettes to help denote who is friend and foe. Sometimes they seemed too bright, other times too thick, and it's especially confusing when you end up with, say, a light blue teammate outline on a player with red armor. 343 is trying to make this visual language clear without going full Overwatch with comic book outlines around everything, and it's definitely a great idea for accessibility, but the implementation wasn't quite there in the technical test.
We think the key here is customization. You do already have the option to change the outline color, but that's not enough. Let us make the outlines softer or bigger or more or less opaque. And for the real wildcards, maybe let us turn them off altogether and rely on nametags, like the old days. — Morgan
Make shield status way more readable
The biggest drawback of the new outline system is how much harder it is to "read" an opponent's shields in Infinite. Shields still have a nice "pop" effect when you break them, with a wave of color pulsing out from a spartan's body and a distinctive sound. But if there's any more granularity than that, it seems to be totally lost in the outline glow. It's difficult, maybe impossible, to look at an opponent and quickly tell if they have a shield or not, or how much damage they've taken.
Halo 3 has much better shield readability. When someone's hit their shields crackle with golden electricity, which stays visible briefly after impact, so you'll often go into an encounter knowing if someone's already taken some damage. The shield "pop" is much more visible, too, with accent lines around a spartan's body giving the impression of a burst of air around them. Most importantly, an electric current circles around their body until the shield recharges. It's a super clear "no shields" indicator every player can pick up on in an instant.
Infinite has none of that clarity in the moment, and even scrutinizing footage after the fact I have trouble figuring out whether a spartan has shields or not. — Wes
Let me turn off or curate the AI quips
The new AI pals that accompany players seemed like nothing but a bit of vanity at first, but it turns out these little turds never shut up. In the technical test, my AI kept making little quips about my performance, the gun I picked up, or the shield I just deployed. Maybe I'm having a poor reaction to new things, but it felt like a lot. I'm conflicted, because the AI also shares helpful info like when a power weapon is about to respawn. I want that, but I don't need a second hype man when I already have my bud Jeff Steitzer calling out my Killamanjaro.
Again, some customization would go a long way here. Halo has always been a relatively quiet game with minimal voice barks clogging up the soundscape. It'd be nice to have the option to maintain that. Let me choose which lines I find useful and which get muted. But never turn off Steitzer. — Morgan
Speaking of oversharing…
Spartans talk too much
I know Master Chief's stoicism isn't some hard-coded personality trait that every other spartan has to share, but I have always appreciated his careful choice of words. My Halo Infinite spartan, on the other hand, blurts out everything that enters his mind. "We lost a spartan! Enemy's on me! That shot got way too many of us! I'm hungry!" The barks are constant and rarely helpful. Hearing a teammate blurt out that there's an enemy nearby is way more distracting than glancing at the motion tracker or seeing their death marker from across the map.
That's not to say voice descriptions aren't useful (they're an important accessibility feature), but I'd like to turn off these in-world spartan lines for my ears' benefit. — Morgan
Make the empty weapon rack hologram more subtle
In older Halo games, weapons were mostly just placed on the ground or leaned up against walls around the map. Infinite adds weapon racks that show a holographic blue outline of the weapon that spawns there when it's been taken. It's a nice touch—except it makes the weapon rack way more eye-catching when a weapon isn't there than when it is! It's a minor thing, but the weapon racks should either light up more prominently to show off what they're holding, or dial down the hologram brightness or opacity to keep it from being confusing. — Wes
Add a freeform weapon range
Halo Infinite's weapon trials are good, but they're a far cry from a proper weapon range. The gold standard that comes to mind is Valorant: a fully explorable map that lets players practice aim and movement at their own pace.
Every gun, melee weapon, grenade, and vehicle should be standing by. Distance markers should be painted on the ground to test damage dropoff and target dummies should share damage numbers. Timed aim trials are a great touch Infinite already has, but that should be a button players press on a counter when they want to be tested, not the default way to train. I'm sure this will be among the first maps created in Infinite's eventual Forge mode, but don't make us wait for that, 343. — Morgan
Make the 'X' death marks for teammates more prominent
This is a no-brainer. Classic Halo shows a big red X mark on your UI when a teammate dies. Halo Infinite shows a much smaller light blue X that treats the location of a teammate's death like an afterthought. But it's important info! It's odd how subtle 343 made the X, considering they added a welcome yellow exclamation mark badge over your teammates' heads when they're in combat. Halo Infinite giveth new visual information with one hand and taketh with the other. (343 left the X mark out entirely in Halo 4 before ultimately adding it back in a patch months after launch, but it was there in Halo 5. Why's it so muted this time?) — Wes
Change the new, bad motion tracker
I want to be open minded here—I think there's a good idea behind Infinite's motion tracker change, which makes it so that you only show up when you fire or sprint. This means players don't have to crouch walk to stay stealthy and should make for an overall faster-paced game. But I'm not sure it's a good thing that you can now be stealthy by walking around at full speed (sprinting in Infinite is only about a 10% speed boost). More than once I jumped into a fight against one opponent only to find two more there ready to kick my ass, and they weren't trying to be sneaky.
As a longtime Halo player it totally befuddles my senses, but I can adapt. I just wish that ambushes had more intention behind them. When someone crouch-walks into your base to steal your flag or gets the drop on you with an assassination as you attack their teammate, it feels earned. And "crouch = stealth" is just clearer game logic. — Wes
Keep the new, good motion tracker
Less time spent babysitting the motion tracker is more time spent actually playing the game, I reckon. By only revealing players that sprint or shoot, 343 has moved closer to Call of Duty in a way that I can get behind. I get that Halo veterans are used to all non-crouched movement being broadcast across the map, but in my experience, that simply led to the incredibly annoying playstyle of "crouch in a corner and wait by a doorway." That's still possible in Infinite, but lifting the severe penalty for moving around encourages better match flow.
The tracker is still there, but it's no longer a crutch. — Morgan
Maybe no motion tracker at all, actually
While I'm at it, Halo doesn't need a motion tracker at all. There are plenty of other ways to know where enemies are that are skill-based and more gratifying than a magic radar—sound, friendly death indicators, voice comm callouts, power weapon pickups, your eyes. Shooters without motion trackers (Rainbow Six Siege, CS:GO, Valorant, Overwatch) are better for it. Halo should join the club. — Morgan
Don't worry, Morgan. We'll definitely see Pro playlists (and SWAT) running without the motion tracker. I guarantee it! — Wes