As part of Halo Infinite’s early multiplayer release last week, players now have access to the game’s Academy mode, too. The Academy is essentially a training grounds for Halo Infinite, but it’s useful for both new and old players alike. High-level players, lore lovers, and newly minted Spartans all will get something out of the Academy, led by an inspired new character called Commander Agryna.
Commander Agryna and the Halo Infinite cinematic that plays as players enter the tutorial mode for the first time were revealed back in August, but the full Academy gives players a closer look at her story and the Academy she runs. I tried out all the Academy options this weekend, and even the absolute beginner’s tutorial felt necessary to play — even as a Halo veteran. It’s all separate from Master Chief’s story, but it’s nice to hear other Spartan stories; it acts almost as a very short prologue to Halo Infinite.
In the tutorial itself, the Academy introduces the new personal AI system before pushing me into a simple training course. It’s easy — no more than a basic tutorial to help new players get used to controls. First, it goes over melee and movement before heading into a weapons tutorial and a mock multiplayer match.
But the real star of the Academy is the weapons drills system. Here, I’m able to pop in and select one of Halo Infinite’s many weapons to try out. I get spat out into a shooting range of sorts after choosing a difficulty level. There are three options: stationary bots, bots that run in a straight line, and bots that are more unpredictable. Each round lasts for about 30 seconds, and then up to three stars are awarded based on performance. It’s a system that Halo has been sorely missing. With such a vast array of weapons, it feels hard to try something new out in a real match. This is not only a great way to get a feel for things, but to warm up before jumping into actual matches, too.
The last part of Halo Infinite’s Academy is the Training Mode, which mimics multiplayer games, albeit only with bots. It’s a practice space where I’m able to explore and play on Halo Infinite’s new maps. Settings are adjustable, like difficulty and available weapons. You can even run around with invincibility, with no need to die and respawn. The customizability is perfect even when I wanted to practice or warm up something specific, too.
Halo Infinite’s multiplayer component has been out for just a week, but already feels like a staple in the way I play Halo. There hasn’t been a time yet where I haven’t popped into the mode for some drills before loading up actual multiplayer games.