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Did 343 Just Forget To Give Damage To Half Of The Guns In Halo Infinite?

There’s a lot of people, myself included, complaining about the Halo Infinite metagame – that is, the battle pass, progression system, and customization options – but its defenders have been quick to tell us that we’re getting too hung up on playing dress-up and ignoring the fact that the game itself is quite good. They make a decent point; purists might complain about sprinting, grapplejacking, and PC crossplay, but Infinite does feel incredible. The gunplay is on point and the mobility options make every match feel chaotic and thrilling, while the smaller maps and limited number of game modes help flatten the learning curve so that new and old players can both have a great time. It’s one of, if not the, best multiplayer shooters out right now – but that doesn’t mean it's perfect. In the interest of providing Infinite with balanced criticism – I am an equal opportunity complainer after all – allow me to point on some aspects that definitely have room for improvements. Top of my list: how come half the guns feel totally unusable?

I want to start by distinguishing utility from useability because, of course, different weapons have different purposes. I wouldn’t complain that the Ravager isn’t good at fighting from long range because that isn’t what it’s designed for. The problem is that the Ravager isn’t actually good at doing anything. The Ravager has two firing modes: it can launch a burst of bouncing projectiles that explode in a small radius and deal low damage, or it can be charged up to fire one big glob of plasma that creates a flaming area in a large radius, dealing damage over time to anyone that stands in it. It’s meant to be used for area denial in chokepoints and capture zones, but the damage is too low and its bounces are far too inconsistent to be used effectively. It’s incredibly easy to outplay a Ravager-wielder by simply shooting at them while they awkwardly try to bounce little plasma balls at you. It’s harder to use than a point-and-shoot rifle, and the damage and utility it provides aren’t worth the trade-off.

This is the case for many of Infinite’s guns. The Hydra is one of the worst-performing weapons thanks to its weak damage and lock-on targeting that’s useless unless the target is standing completely still. With the Needler, you need to land at least seven shots to take out a fully-shielded enemy, but the needles travel so slow and take so long to detonate that your chances of killing them before they kill you is minimal. The Bulldog shotgun does not one-shot opponents no matter how close you get, meaning it will always be a worse choice than the Energy Sword and Gravity Hammer at close range. It can kill in two direct hits, but more often than not you’ll need to land three, which is excruciatingly slow at its current rate of fire of 150rpm. Energy weapons seem to be underperforming across the board despite the fact that they are meant to deal bonus damage to shields, with the Plasma Pistol topping the list as the most useless gun in the game.

The only guns that have any right to be underpowered are the MA40 and the Mk50 Sidekick, since these are the weapons you start with. It would make sense to tune these guns towards the weaker side to encourage players to swap out quickly and reward people with map awareness who know where to find the best guns, but in reality, you’re often better off just sticking with the default loadout. I’d rather go into almost any fight with the basic MA40 than try to make do with the Plasma Pistol, Needler, Hydra, Bulldog, Stalker Rifle, Ravager, Pulse Carbine, or Heatwave. Can you get kills with all of these weapons? Certainly. But the other options are just so much more reliable.

Weapon balancing and damage tuning is an ongoing effort for any live-service game, and I’m confident Halo Infinite will tweak things frequently, but I am concerned that there’s so much disparity between the weapons. It makes sense to have good guns and bad guns in a battle royale like Apex Legends because finding quality guns feels so rewarding, but in a game like Halo where each life lasts for a few precious moments, I don’t think it’s right to have to filter through so many filler weapons. Halo’s arsenal should offer variety to help keep things fresh, but as it stands you need to refer to a tier list so you know which guns to avoid completely. I’ve played dozens of hours and I’ve never once been killed by a Hydra or a Ravager. I wish I could believe it’s because I’m just that good, but the truth is a lot of Halo’s guns need a major boost.

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