Halo Infinite Season 2 is not without its issues, but at least it’s given us Last Spartan Standing. The new game mode is likely the closest Halo Infinite will get to a battle royale, and gives players a chance to explore a much-needed new map. While it’s not without its own issues (343 had to promise fixes (opens in new tab) after players noticed they weren’t progressing in related challenges), Halo Infinite Last Spartan Standing is a fresh and fun way to enjoy Halo Infinite – and after the content drought that came to define the six month run of Season One, I’m delighted to have it. With a few tweaks, Last Spartan Standing could be a great permanent game mode outside of the Halo Infinite Interference event.
Last Spartan Standing pits 12 players against each other on the new map Breaker, which debuted at the start of Halo Infinite Season 2. You start the match with five lives and a Disruptor pistol, with kills and assists earning points that let you level up your weapon (it’s a bit like Call of Duty’s Gun Game in that regard). There are grenade spawns scattered across the map, random power equipment drops of Overshield and Active Camo can be found, and downed Spartans will drop extra XP that takes a second to pick up but will help you earn better weapons faster. Eventually, a circle begins to close, forcing players closer together.
Like Gun Game, some players can quickly take and hold onto a lead, as they get to roam about the large map with a Battle Rifle while you’re still trying to potshot someone with a pistol. But the five lives every player begins a round with gives a bit more cushion than your typical battle royale, and you can very easily go on a tear and end up in the top three after dying several times at the start of a match. It’s this kind of push and pull that makes Last Spartan Standing fun – although I get thoroughly trounced in the first few minutes of one game, I manage to pull into the top three before the match is over, thanks to a lucky Overshield drop and an extra XP pickup.
Halo Infinite Season 2 is appropriately titled “Lone Wolves,” and Last Spartan Standing is a mode befitting of the new season. Halo Infinite needs more solo game modes, as FFA Slayer just isn’t enough. Last Spartan Standing is a great mode to jump into when your friends aren’t online and you’re not in the mood to queue with randoms for team-based matches. It’s also a great way to hone your skill at weapons you may not use that often – since you don’t start with (or ever get) the standard Magnum pistol, you’ve gotta learn how to get better at the non-UNSC sidearms. This will only help your overall Halo Infinite game, in both Last Spartan Standing and beyond.
I’ve been playing the new mode since Halo Infinite Season 2 dropped on May 3, but with a few tweaks Last Spartan Standing could become a perfect new permanent mode.
Tweaking the mode
Last Spartan Standing isn’t flawless, but 343 Industries can use this limited event as a feedback machine for future adjustments, just like Respawn has done with Apex Legends’ limited-time mode, Control. And while it’s not clear if Control will ever become a permanent mode in Apex, it has returned consistently every season since its launch, with a few shiny adjustments, as well. This can easily be done with Last Spartan Standing, and there are a few changes that could dramatically improve the mode.
As much as I love the power-ups in Last Spartan Standing, they should probably get tossed. Not only do they seem to drop rather frequently, but they can be stacked, so you can technically encounter an invisible enemy with an overshield. I’m not sure if 343 has specific drop spots for these power-ups, but if people figure them out (and they will), then that offers a rather unfair advantage. The power-ups all but guarantee that those wielding them will walk away from a 1v1 battle, and sometimes even manage to outlive someone third-partying them.
Last Spartan Standing does have a shrinking zone mechanic like traditional battle royales, but the zone could do with some adjusting. First off, it always ends the match smack in the middle of the Breaker map, whereas other battle royales randomly generate a zone center for each game. A shifting zone for each match would make it much more dynamic, and deter players from camping in the middle. Speaking of camping: it’s far too easy to get away with it in Last Spartan Standing, and it too often rewards campers with first place finishes. Without a map or radar to offer players a point of reference, a shifting zone that starts moving earlier in matches could catch campers off-guard and encourage more movement between the last Spartans standing.
As with any new mode, players will have a ton of feedback, but Last Spartan Standing is shouldering a lot of weight. With Halo Infinite’s content pipeline feeling rather dry since its launch, with 343 struggling to keep up with player demand in a live service environment, a new game mode is naturally met with severe scrutiny across the playerbase. And while there are certainly a few adjustments that could be made to improve balance in the new mode, Last Spartan Standing is a great addition to Halo Infinite – I’d love to see it again after this event.
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