Halo Infinite, which is slated for full release on December 8 but had its multiplayer mode surprise-released in beta last week, features as robust an arsenal as any other Halo. Series stalwarts are fundamentally the same as ever: The battle rifle still fires in three-round bursts, the needler still turns enemies into explosive pink porcupines, the sword still swords, and so on. But amid familiarity, Halo Infinite adds 11 totally new weapons to the mix.
These new weapons of not-mass destruction work in some unexpected ways. Of course, rules one (point) and two (shoot) apply across the board here. But nearly every new gun features aspects that might not immediately be apparent — especially if you haven’t availed yourself of Halo Infinite’s single-player weapon drills, a series of tutorials billed as challenges but utterly devoid of any stakes.
There’s incentive to get a handle on each one, too. Halo Infinite’s divisive battle pass is entirely contingent on progressing through daily and weekly challenges. Some of those challenges are of the “kill X enemies with Y weapon you’ve never used” variety. (I balked at a recent challenge that asked me to score 10 kills with a stalker rifle, a weapon I’d used maybe twice prior. Then I figured out how best to use it.) If you want to rank up fast, you’ll need to make use of every available gun. Here’s how every new weapon in Halo Infinite works — plus some advice for how to run the table with them.
In a series first, Halo Infinite doesn’t have a plasma rifle or any of its variations. Instead, the standard-issue Covenant energy weapon is something called the pulse carbine. Think of it like a plasma rifle (spews shield-draining globules) that fires like a battle rifle (in three-round bursts). Your best bet is to use it as you would its predecessor: shooting an enemy a couple times to pop their shields, then switching to your pistol for a headshot. Note, though, that the plasma carbine’s projectiles move glacially and are easily dodged, so use it straight-on rather than against someone who’s strafing.
The shock rifle is a sniper…ish rifle that shoots electrified rounds. Its gimmick is that a fraction of any damage you deal will jump to enemies adjacent to your target. Thing is, the damage is so negligible that you shouldn’t bother strategising around it. Instead — and this might not occur at first — the shock rifle is enormously effective against vehicles: Two shots stalls every vehicle I’ve tested it on (mongoose, ghost, chopper, warthog, that silly warthog that doesn’t have a turret). Beats the hell out of trying to land that near-impossible shot on the ghost’s gas tank.
At first glance, the mangler looks exactly the same as the mauler, a longtime Halo weapon that fell somewhere between pistol and shotgun. It’s not anything like the mauler — not even remotely. The mangler, despite its appearances, is a single-shot mid-ranged weapon. It’s strong, too: Three shots (two body, one head) to take out anyone. Just be mindful of the bullet drop, which is pretty significant once you pass “kinda far away” and veer into “pretty far away” territory.
The disruptor doesn’t immediately dish out much damage but rather applies a damage-over-time effect which can bleed your foe out after you stop hitting them. You can fire it a bit faster if you manually pull the trigger for each shot, and the disruptor’s shots seem quite effective on enemies who’ve already lost their shields. (The plasma carbine can help with that.) Further, it prevents shields from recharging, so if you tag someone with it a few times and they duck behind cover, you might be able to get the drop on them before their shields recharge. Ultimately, if you can land around six shots, your foe’s likely going to die. I’m still trying to figure out the best use case for this one, but I will say this much: It’s suuuper funny when you posthumously kill someone with it.
Halo Infinite does away with Halo’s traditional (and arguably overpowered) shotgun. Its replacement, the bulldog, can’t kill a fully shielded enemy in one hit. But it’s blessedly faster-firing, and you needn’t reload every round individually. Two or three shots will kill most enemies in close range, or you could land one shot and immediately follow it up with a melee attack. That’ll kill anyone instantly, provided they’re not covered by an overshield.
The heatwave requires some on-the-fly calculations. See, it fires six projectiles. You need slightly more (I’m not sure the exact number) than 12 to kill someone. By clicking the right joystick, you can switch between a horizontal or vertical firing pattern. Also, the rounds can bounce off surfaces. So here’s the solution: Land two shots when the reticle is vertical (totaling 12), then switch to the wider-berth horizontal scheme, which is a bit easier to hit someone with, to finish opponents off.
In another instance of 343 Industries gutting the Covenant armory, Halo Infinite doesn’t feature the beam rifle (a sniper rifle) or the carbine (a mid-range gun). They’re jointly replaced by a singular weapon that marries aspects from both: the stalker rifle. At first glance, you’d think it’s a sniper; you can zoom in twice, and it has the same energy sink as the beam rifle, rather than the clips of closer-range weapons. Don’t let that fool you. The stalker rifle is more like the carbine than anything else: fires fast, deals moderate damage, and gets the job done at pretty much any range. Your “clips” are measured by a semicircular gauge in the centre of the screen, which slowly turns from white to yellow to red as you shoot. Seven shots causes it to overheat. Vent after the sixth shot; otherwise, the process takes several seconds.
Don’t make the same mistake everyone makes: The commando, which sports a similar silhouette as the DMR from previous games — and, you’d think, is a similarly single-shot weapon — is a fully automatic rifle. That said, shooting it all full tilt causes the barrel to veer wildly out of control. Keep things steady by firing three or four rounds at a time.
The skewer is, without question, the funniest weapon in the game. Though it’s admittedly difficult to land shots, what with that dime-sized reticle, you’ll kill anyone in one shot no matter where you hit them. But the skewer shines against bigger targets: Two shots to a warthog’s hood and kaboom. Same for the ghost (and other vehicles).
For a gun that’s presented as an alternative to the rocket launcher, the cindershot is a bit of letdown. As a sort of grenade launcher, the cindershot is no doubt powerful, able to kill enemies in just a shot or two if you land direct hits. You can bounce grenades off surfaces, too, so there’s a strategy in trying to angle them off walls and floors and into opponents. Per the in-game weapon drill, there’s a laser-guided component to every round, but I’ll square with you that I haven’t fully figured out how to use it effectively on Xbox just yet. My friends on PC tell me it’s a lot easier with a mouse and keyboard than with an Xbox controller.
Don’t even bother. There’s too much of a gap between shots with its standard firing mode, leaving you wide open. Meanwhile, the secondary fire (hold down the trigger to generate a pool of fire that hurts enemies over time) takes too long to charge, is easy to dodge, and doesn’t even kill enemies who do get caught in it. If the ravager shows up in any form on your weeklies, just use one of your challenge swaps.