Halo Infinite has been in an extended slump since its second season began 10-months ago, but 343 Industries are hoping to turn things around when Season 3: Echoes Within starts next week on March 7th. Echoes Within is undeniably the biggest update to Infinite since launch, as it’s adding new maps, weapons and equipment, and expanding the multiplayer’s narrative - which has been a series of perpetual teases so far.
The new big team battle map Oasis is the perfect addition to Infinite’s roster. Fans have been craving environments outside of Infinite’s Seattle-inspired mountain forests, so it’s nice to see a red hot desert enter the fray (snow next, please.) The two other Arena maps remix Infinite’s standard aesthetics. There’s Cliffhanger - the grassy rocklands - and then there’s Chasm - the blue tinted Forerunner interior. They’re all gorgeous and I’m glad to see Halo’s whacky alien vehicles in some bigger Arena maps.
The trailer for Echoes Within also highlights the game’s Community Collection Playlist, allowing fans to play matchmade games on Forged maps. Forge mode has been Infinite’s saving grace these past few months, and it’s blessed us with fan-made recreations of Mario Kart’s DK Mountain, Whiterun City from Skyrim, and some other generally wild stuff. The most exciting Forged map in the trailer is Art’s Room, a normal bedroom where spartans are shrunk down to the size of toys and battle it out across a work desk, an Xbox mini fridge, and a skateboard.
Infinite’s multiplayer has been trying to tell a story since launch, but it’s amounted to nothing more than awkward cutscenes so far. Who’s to say if this will change in Echoes Within? The trailer certainly teases some big revelations, and a change in location is definitely welcomed.
Season 3’s other additions include a new 100-tier battle pass (of course) the single-shot M392 Bandit rifle, and the Shroud Screen equipment which works like a smoke grenade that's been stuck in a bubble.
343 have been struggling with layoffs and turbulent dev cycles, but hopefully they can keep Season 3’s momentum going with shorter seasons in 2023. Halo Infinite’s multiplayer portion is currently a free-to-play download on Steam and the Microsoft Store.