Halo Infinite Season 2 impressions – lone wolves on the prowl

Lone Wolves kicks off season 2 of Halo Infinite multiplayer with a bang, with a new 100 level season pass, two new maps, a brace of new multiplayer modes and some important balance changes and QoL updates outlined in today’s hefty patch notes. My first impression? Cautious optimism.

I’m hoping Lone Wolves gets lapsed players fired up and new players interested, because the Last Spartan Standing mode is a ton of fun, and Infinite’s remix of the traditional King of the Hill format adds a very tenacious brawling dynamic to Quick Play and Ranked. Oh, and there’s some new story content in there too, but it’s too early to see if it’s going to be any good.

Halo Infinite Season 2

New maps and modes for Halo Infinite season 2

Last Spartan Standing is the big draw of Season 2, a mini battle royale where 12 Spartans slug it out in a free for all in the new Breaker map. Players begin with 5 lives and a limited arsenal as they compete to be the Last Spartan Standing (LSS), and while the battle royale DNA is evident, LSS really has closer ties to Season 1’s excellent Attrition mode than traditional BR’s like Fortnite and Apex Legends. 

Where it differs most from those battle royales is how it handles equipment and the progression power curve to encourage aggressive play rather than simply hanging back, looting, and swooping in like a vulture at the end. Players start with the Sidekick and Disruptor pistols, and level up their arsenal with XP gained from kills, rewarding a calculated aggression with access to assault rifles, shotguns and more. Kill-starved players still have tools available to them to help even the match, such as grenade pickups and intermittent drops of active camo and overshields. When a player loses their last life, players can take the risk of standing still to claim an XP sphere.

The generous 5 life allotment gives you room for error and a new strategic resource as you decide whether to risk quickly blowing through lives in order to make aggro kills to level up your arsenal, or hang back and save your respawns, at the cost of potentially coming in undergunned to the final showdown. It’s a neat added dimension, and the entire package combined with levelling up your arsenal mixes up pillars of the Battle Royale formula nicely.

The other major gameplay addition is Infinite’s remix of the beloved King of the Hill (KOTH) game mode where teams of Spartans vie for control of a victory point that moves throughout the map. KOTH really encourages hunkered down layered defense and decisive attack waves, rather than the more mobile play of Strongholds, and it leads to some great full-on brawls when it comes up in my game queues.

Breaker, an enormous Banished scrapyard, is a welcome addition to Big Team Battle’s limited map queue, with a good mix of big sightlines and vehicle avenues as well as tight spots for infantry battles. It also works great in Last Spartan Standing given the varied terrain it’s got on offer that rewards multiple playstyles. And that big plasma beam running down the midline of the map definitely offers some fun environmental shenanigans when comboed with the repulser and other knockback effects. The derelict Forerunner installation Catalyst has been harder to get in my queue so far, but more variety in what was a fairly content starved multiplayer scene is very welcome.

Halo Infinite Season 2

New customizations and the Battle Pass for Halo Infinite Season 2

Lone Wolves also offers players a new 100 level Battle Pass, filled with customizations for free and premium players alike. In particular, armor rewards for free tier players have almost doubled, with 46 armor pieces available to free players versus the 26 of Season 1. The Season 2 pass comes with armor parts for the free Mark VII Mjolnir armor, as well as the premium Rakshasha armor core for premium pass holders, which has a chunky, grungy, more rugged design than the Mark VII, and looks like it’ll be fun to collect pieces and assemble outfits for. This Season’s Fracture event, Entrenched, will also feature the dieselpunk retro stylings of the Eaglepiercer armor core, with its riveted trench warfare aesthetic.

In livestreams discussing the changes they want to make for Season 2, the dev team has also said that they’re listening to player feedback and plan to ditch the “armor core” system in the middle of the season, giving players much more freedom to mix and match customizations and armor parts they’ve accumulated to give a much more personalized look to their Spartan, and that’s a change I’m really looking forward to! Here’s hoping we get cat ears for the tacticool Reach armors as well?

In another break from traditional season pass formats, Lone Wolves doesn’t invalidate the earlier Heroes of Reach season pass, so if you haven’t finished grinding through Season 1, you can still choose to gain challenge XP for it by switching the active season pass between 1 & 2. In fact, you can still purchase Season 1: Heroes of Reach from the Halo Infinite store for 1000 credits, or about 10 US$, so there’s no need for FOMO, and is something I really appreciate.

New Story: The Lone Wolves & Iratus

Lone Wolves is also bringing in narrative developments through the seasonal multiplayer events. The launch of Season 2 for Halo Infinite comes with new cinematics that put your Spartan alongside Commander Laurette Agryna as well as two of the newly introduced Lone Wolf Spartan operatives, Sigrid Eklund and Hieu Dinh, who have just returned from an encounter with the Banished. The dangerous cargo that Eklund and Dinh are carrying sets the stage for the Last Spartan Standing exercises overseen by Commander Agryna as you attempt to tease out the secrets of Season 2’s other new character, Iratus, a blustering Banished AI. It’s an intriguing first look and a cute justification for all the Spartan versus Spartan brawling, and here’s hoping they do more interesting storytelling with it as the season develops.

Player counts have leaped up back up and Season 2 feels like a welcome shot in the arm. I’m hoping this helps right the ship of Halo Infinite’s live service ambitions, because I’m really enjoying my time with it.