While the reveal of Halo Infinite's multiplayer gameplay design and mechanics was one of the most exciting parts of the Xbox E3 2021 show, the announcement that the game will have an "Academy" training mode was another huge development that has me excited for what the future holds with Halo Infinite. Training modes may not be flashy or exciting, but they are valuable — both for players new to Halo and for series veterans.
For franchise newcomers, the Academy will act as a tutorial for players to get acquainted with the core gameplay structure and systems that constitute the foundation of Halo's multiplayer experience. While in the mode, players will be able to practice against bots of varying skill levels, try out and get used to different types of weapons and pickups in Halo Infinite's sandbox, and study up on important terms they'll see on their HUD or hear while communicating with teammates during multiplayer matches.
Considering that the series is 20 years old and that seven different first-person Halo shooters have released during that period, it would be daunting for new players to try to compete with experienced ones without the onboarding process offered by the Academy. Training modes like these that are aimed at newer players have become more and more commonplace in the last decade, and it's fantastic to finally see Halo embrace the trend, especially since the game's free-to-play model will no doubt bring in countless newcomers.
Newcomers aren't the only people who will benefit from the Academy, either — seasoned veterans and competitive players may not need an introduction to how Halo multiplayer works, but they will want to train their aim and movement mechanics so that they'll perform better in real matches. The Academy mode's practice games and weapon drills will provide effective ways to do just that. They'll also be perfect if players just want to quickly "warm up" before their games to get in the groove.
With its return to Halo's traditional sandbox-driven multiplayer structure and full support for 120 FPS on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, it's clear that Microsoft and 343 Industries want Halo Infinite to be the game that propels Halo back into competitive/esports relevancy. Nearly all successful competitive shooters on the market right now feature some sort of warm-up and training modes (for example, the Practice Range in Overwatch), so the fact that 343 Industries will have these systems in place for Halo Infinite at launch bodes well for the game's potential in this space.
Ultimately, Halo Infinite looks poised to take both the casual and competitive gaming community by storm with its exciting multiplayer gameplay, excellent approach to free-to-play battle passes, and features like crossplay, cross-progression, and support for 60+ FPS, FOV adjustment, ultrawide displays, and more that benefit everyone. It feels like there's more energy and excitement behind Halo Infinite than any other arena shooter in years, and when players inevitably flood into the game when it releases later this year, I believe the Academy mode's value will make itself apparent. Built to both onboard newcomers and support competitive players that want to hone their skills, the Academy training mode is exactly the type of support system that the franchise needs to thrive in the modern shooter market.
Do you agree with me about Halo Infinite's Academy mode? Let me know. Hopefully, Halo infinite will prove to be one of the best Xbox games ever made when it releases later this year. I'm looking forward to playing it when it comes to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 (and Windows 11) PCs. Notably, you can preorder the game now for $60, but if you're interested in only the multiplayer, it will be completely free. There's also a Halo Infinite beta coming in Summer 2021 you can sign up to be a part of (check our guide on how to sign up for Halo Infinite's beta for more information).
The next adventure in the saga
A new Great Journey awaits
Halo Infinite is the biggest Xbox game of the year by far, and based on what we saw at E3 2021, it looks like it's going to be fantastic.
I for one value bot-only modes. I don't have time to practice sweating on a keyboard and mouse all day to be the snapshot-sniper stud of the lobby, and it's incredibly annoying playing against them when all they do is clearly stomp the lobby. Even when on their team, their knowledge of the map and drops means folks like me don't have a chance to complete challenges or participate the fight. Playing against bots has been both a saving grace in CoD and will be so now in Halo.
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