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Halo Infinite's weapon drills solve the series’ biggest learning curve

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343 Industries version of a firing range makes trying new weapons extremely easy

Halo Infinite’s armor customization options Image: 343 Studios/Microsoft

Picking up a weapon in Halo isn’t always as simple as point and shoot. While it’s not the Ratchet & Clank series, Halo is known for unconventional weapons like the Spartan Laser or the long-standing needler. With all the weapons spawning around the map and not in the player’s hands, it can create a bit of a learning curve. But Halo Infinite’s new weapon drills solve that problem.

Over the last weekend, I spent several hours checking out Halo Infinite in its first technical test. When I loaded up the preview on Friday, the first thing I did was drop into the game’s weapon drills to see the new and changed weapons.

These weapon drills allow me to go into the armory and pick one of the game’s multiple weapons. Then I select a difficulty, and Infinite spawns me into a customized practice box where the game blocks me from moving onto the field. When I pick up the weapon, bots spawn into the arena.

The bot pattern changes depending on the kind of weapon I’m using and my selected difficulty. The first phase of each test offers stationary bots, letting me get a feel for how each weapon fires under ideal conditions. The second trial has those same bots run in a straight line. And the final challenge caused the bots to run more like real players, acting a bit more unpredictably. I had around 30 seconds to defeat as many bots as I could, and I got awarded up to three stars per challenge on my performance.

Being my first experience with Halo Infinite, I was able to run through the game’s entire beta arsenal — it’s possible there may be more weapons at launch — and try them out. I got to see how 343 Industries changed the classic assault rifle, and also try out some of the new weapons like the Skewer — which shoots giant, Dracula-killing metal stakes from its maw.

The first time I ever played Halo 3 was after a day full of post-school rehearsals and activities. When I finally made it back to my childhood bedroom, I only had an hour to play. So I loaded up some Forge, dropped all the new weapons in one of the new maps, and ran around shooting at walls, just imagining how these weapons would fare against real players when I got home from school the next night.

Not knowing what to do with a power weapon is a tough feeling in a Halo game, because you’ll never know when you’ll get the chance to practice with it again. But because of the weapon drills, I was able to confidently run around in Halo Infinite and pick up the shotgun or the new Heatwave weapon because I’d prepared myself.

Halo Infinite isn’t the first multiplayer game with a firing range, but as a player who found creative ways to build their own firing range as a kid, I’m grateful for a chance to try out the game’s rarest weapons ahead of my match.