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Halo Infinite multiplayer beginner’s guide, tips, and tricks

Ready up, Spartan

Halo Infinite multiplayer tips and tricks Image: 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studio via Polygon

Whether you’re returning to multiplayer from a long absence or you’re just getting started, our Halo Infinite multiplayer guide will help you (re)acclimate to the venerated franchise’s particular brand of multiplayer.

We’re covering the basics here, easy-to-remember practices upon which you can build your Spartan strategies. We’ll explain how dealing damage works, how to pair you weapon with your situation, when to reload, and why you should use the buddy system.

Shields first, then health

In Halo Infinite multiplayer, killing your opponents with a weapon has two phases:

  1. Pop their shields
  2. Kill them

Every Spartan on the battlefield — including you — has an energy shield. Fire a bullet (I know, but let’s just use bullets as the generic term for things that fly out of weapons to damage enemies) at a Spartan, and their shield absorbs the damage first. Fire enough bullets at a Spartan’s shield, and the shield pops out of existence. Fire even more bullets at a Spartan without an energy shield, and they die quickly.

You can see this happen (in the video above). You can watch the shield pop. It’s basically Halo Infinite saying, “Yo, this person’s almost dead.” If you see a shield pop, do whatever you have to do to keep causing damage. Chuck a grenade. Switch to your other weapon. It takes longer to pop a shield than it does to kill a Spartan without a shield, so once you get them vulnerable, keep up the pressure.

Use enemy shields to adjust your aim

Halo Infinite’s shields tell you a lot about where you’re aiming. It’s not just that you’ll see when you’re hitting an enemy at all — you’ll be able to see exactly where your shots are landing. Use that information to tweak your aim toward their torso. That way, you’ll be positioned for a headshot when their shields pop. That matters because …

Headshots don’t matter until shields are down

Spartan shielding absorbs all damage equally. That means those headshots you’re working so hard to land don’t mean anything until your target’s shields are down. (While this isn’t true of every weapon, it is true of the most common weapons you’ll be using.)

Instead, while you’re unloading everything you’ve got to get those shields down, aim for the bigger target — their torso and body in general. As you land more and more hits, you can adjust your aim upward — and remember that you can track where you’re hitting by watching which part of their shield lights up.

With your bullets already heading for their torso, you can just let recoil shift your aim upward to finish them off.

When you hear your shields pop, get to cover

If you’re on the receiving end of enough bullets, you’ll hear an alarm when your shields pop. It’s basically Halo Infinite saying, “Yo, you’re almost dead,” and you need to avoid damage for a few seconds while your shield recharges. Use that as an opportunity to get out of sight. Duck behind cover. Slide out of reach. Run inside a building. Avoid the hail of bullets streaming your way when you’re at your most vulnerable.

There’s no cover mechanic in Halo Infinite, but there’s lots of waist-level terrain around. Ducking is entirely valid here — you can’t aim over your cover or peak around corners, but it gets you behind protection.

Pick your weapon based on your situation

When it comes to the best gun to use in Halo Infinite, the answer is almost always: Whatever you have in your hands. Between the pace of the multiplayer matches and how much ammo it takes to drop an enemy’s shields, you don’t have time to be picky.

That said, different weapons are (more) effective at different ranges. Your assault rifle or a shotgun are great up close, but they quickly lose accuracy as the distance to your target increases — even a pistol is better at medium range. Similarly, rifles like the BR75 or Commando work better at medium range than at close range.

Pay attention to the aiming reticle as you pick up new weapons. Its basic function is to turn red when you’re aiming at a bad guy, but it also considers range. If the target is too far away for your weapon to be effective, it won’t change color.

Shooting from the hip can be better than aiming down the sights

Aiming down the sights (with the left trigger on a controller) gives you much better control over your shots. It also slows you down a lot. When fighting gets close and everyone’s moving fast, that’s time you can’t afford to lose.

Get used to attacking without aiming. Start firing from the hip to keep yourself moving fast. Once you start landing shots, you can aim for fine adjustments.

Pick your reload opportunities carefully

Nothing is worse than running out of bullets just before you take someone down — except for maybe getting killed while reloading. While we’re firmly on the “after every shot” end of the reloading spectrum, you’ve usually got a lot of ammo to work with and reloading costs you a lot of valuable time. Choose your reload opportunities carefully — either when you’re safely behind something or when you’re low on ammo and don’t have a choice.

Better than that, though …

Swapping is faster than reloading

It’s often better (by which we mean faster) to swap to your other weapon than it is to reload. If you’re in the thick of it with an enemy in your sights, don’t even bother reloading. Instead, just swap to your other weapon and keep sending bullets their way.

Stick by your teammates

The buddy system works great for team-based multiplayer combat. Pairing up means your enemies will have to split their fire and that you’ve got two people working to pop shields (two guns are better than one). A little more cynically, it also means you can pinpoint where your enemies are while they’re shooting your friend.

This might be obvious when you’re teamed up with your friends, but it works even when you’re playing with randos. Pick someone and follow them as kind of an unwitting buddy system scenario. Even if they’re off doing their own thing, you’re going to be there to help them out. At the very least, you’ll get some kill assists.