Halo Infinite is the perfect game to play this Christmas, thanks to Forge

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Halo Infinite Forge gameplay in Peach’s Castle from Super Mario 64 with a Mark VII Spartan wearing a Christmas hat

The past year has not been kind to Halo Infinite. Even after multiple delays, the Xbox flagship title released with fantastic core gameplay, but very little content to support it. However, after a year of infrequent, but substantial, updates, Halo Infinite may just be the best game to play this Christmas.

Whether you’re getting a brand new Xbox Series console, an Xbox One console, a PC or just Xbox Cloud Gaming, 343’s latest Halo title is an awesome multiplayer game wherever you play. Its core gameplay loop is the best Halo has been in a decade with fantastic core movement and weapons handling that feels top-notch across every weapon.

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Furthermore, the game’s multiplayer is completely free-to-play across standard matchmaking and even custom games. As free-to-play games finally don’t require Xbox Live Gold, you can play for literally nothing, and there’s finally a reason to do so.

This Winter, 343 released the long-anticipated Forge mode, a best-in-class map editor that allows you to create intricate sandboxes like never before. With object resizing, lighting customisation, audio editing, full level scripting and more, this is the best level editor since Halo 5, and it absolutely trounces that game’s customisation.

Along with a custom games browser and file sharing, you can now avoid Halo Infinite’s core maps and modes entirely. Instead, you can play the game exactly how you want to. Some fans change the way individual guns work, making the new Bulldog shotgun a one-hit-kill like its classic counterpart. Others convert the gameplay to be more like Halo 5: Guardians. Most fans, though, just remake beloved maps, either from older Halo games or other titles they love.

In just over a month since the Custom Games Browser launched, Halo Infinite is filled with some of the most fun maps and modes the series has ever had. Even better, a lot of these titles actually look like the maps they’re supposed to be instead of cruddy, lifeless facsimiles. For example, a remake of Modern Warfare 2’s infamous Rust map looks exactly like it was ripped from 2009 and upgraded for modern-gen machines. It’s flawless. There’s also remakes of Shoot House, Highrise, Nuketown and many more.

A Halo Infinite Spartan on the Modern Warfare 2 map Rust
Are you ready to 1v1 me, bro?
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However, it’s when classic Halo maps are remade when Infinite’s Forge comes to life. From Halo 2 Slayer maps like Turf to Midship, Sandtrap and Valhalla, there’s so much to love. Amazingly, a remake of the absolutely iconic Halo: Combat Evolved map Blood Gulch (specifically, its Halo 2 counterpart Coagulation) is a perfect recreation complete with Red vs Blue references. If two idiots are just standing around and talking, you can snipe them with Tucker and Church at your side.

Halo Infinite Christmas Spartan wearing a Santa hat, sniping on Blood Gulch next to Tucker and Church from Red vs Blue
“What are they doing? I said: ‘What are they doing now?’”

Distanced from the typical Call of Duty and Halo maps, Infinite’s amazing Forge creators are also bringing other franchises into the multiplayer game. One remake of Peach’s Castle from Super Mario 64 absolutely blew me away when I first booted it up. Unlike previous Halo games, it actually looked like a Mario game, the bright colour pallet bursting to life as MA40 Assault Riffle rips through enemies and SPNKr rockets hurtle through the air. If Peach’s Castle isn’t to your taste, maybe you want to fire rockets at the Mind Flayer from Stranger Things?

Okay, that’s pretty intimidating…
Okay, that’s pretty intimidating…
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But it’s not just other maps that are being made in Halo Infinite. Forge creators have always been some of the most dedicated fans of any game series, and plenty of original ideas are coming to the game. While 343 may be taking a while to add new maps to the game — of course, official maps come with entirely new assets so they can’t just be churned out — fans are quickly creating enough locations to play Halo, well, infinitely!