As frustrated as I was with the Battlefield 2042 trial and the game’s shortcomings, there was a silver lining earlier this week as the multiplayer portion of Halo Infinite launched early for free on PC, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One. Halo Infinite’s multiplayer will stay free-to-play throughout its duration with in-game purchases available as well as a Battle Pass. It is the upcoming campaign that is slated for an early December release that will bear the $59.99 price tag. This is a gamble for the folks at 343 Industries with the free-to-play multiplayer model and one that I’m hoping pays off.
I had a gut feeling that Battlefield 2042 would be riddled with bugs and not be ready by its release date. The game has plenty of potential, but it seems as though Electronic Arts is rushing the latest Battlefield to the finish line to achieve a budget goal rather than putting out the best product it possibly can. Its Battlefield Portal option that allows you to mix and match assets from previously selected Battlefield titles is a great concept, but not yet realized the way it should be. I was unsuccessful in getting that part of the game to work during my experience with the 10-hour trial due to a “global server error.” Overall, I did not care much for Battlefield 2042 in its current state and uninstalled the game after just under two hours of play. At best, Battlefield 2042, especially with its online-only approach, may be worth $20, but really should be a free-to-play game. I say all this about Battlefield 2042 so that we can contrast how Halo Infinite gets many things right that Battlefield 2042 doesn’t. And indeed while the new Call of Duty: Vanguard is another first-person shooter on the market, I have zero interest in another Call of Duty game, especially another one based on World War II.
The number one reason that I chose Halo Infinite over Battlefield 2042 is that Halo Infinite allows you to play offline against bots. Offline play is something that Battlefield 2042 should have implemented but didn’t. The fact that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer suite is free-to-play makes it all the sweeter because being able to play offline feels like 343 Industries is giving away a truly free game. There are tons of options in order to customize your multiplayer experience to your liking, as well as room for the inclusion of custom content. So not only does Halo Infinite bring bots to the table for the first time in a Halo title, but it also is giving players the freedom to create content that will no doubt help with the longevity of the game. Between this and the release of mod tools for Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 3 within Halo: The Master Chief Collection, 343 Industries is putting the power in the hands of the players. If EA were to do the same with Battlefield 2042, it would easily become the greatest Battlefield game of all time.
I’m a fan of both the Halo and Battlefield franchises. Regarding Halo, I arrived late to the party. As I pointed out in a post last month, it was my experience with Halo Reach that led to the “Aha!” moment about why Halo is a great series. Since Reach, I’ve been hooked on Halo ever since. I can’t say why it took me so long to come around because I was not impressed by Halo for years. But my Halo Reach playthrough changed all of that.
The approach of the two franchises concerning their latest outings couldn’t be any more different. I feel like 343 Industries showed its appreciation to its customers with the free-to-play model. The free release of Halo Infinite multiplayer felt like an early Christmas present. Like Battlefield 2042, there are still bugs and kinks to be worked out. Because of 343 Industries’ generosity with free multiplayer, I feel more inclined to support Halo Infinite’s efforts by purchasing the campaign next month than I do paying full price for a new Battlefield game that feels more like EA taking me as a consumer for granted. Being free-to-play and having an offline option would have changed my perspective on Battlefield 2042 considerably. As a result, I probably would have done this post favoring that game instead even though it takes nothing away from how good of a game Halo Infinite is on its own.
Being free-to-play with no purchases required, I highly recommend that you download the Halo Infinite multiplayer if you have a PC, Xbox Series X/S, or Xbox One. If you have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can play the game on even more devices through the cloud gaming option. Kudos to 343 Industries for their approach to Halo Infinite and taking a path that shows more value to their customers. Halo Infinite is currently in its first season and I’m looking forward to seeing what the developers add to the game over time. But I do believe that Halo Infinite’s model is one that other companies should be adopting for first-person shooters going forward.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF HALO INFINITE?