Monday, November 05, 2012
Halo 4 is launching all over the world now and in the next few hours... heck, it's even out in Australia, so we thought we'd bring you some helpful pointers so that you can beat the game on Legendary, on your lonesome, and net those two big cheevos.
I think I said pre-launch that Halo 4 (read our review here, by the way!) was shaping up to be the hardest Halo yet, and having just come off the back of a mammoth Legendary session, completing the hardest Halo yet on the hardest Halo difficulty setting, I can tell you one thing: I was right. I like saying that, by the way.
That’s not to say that Halo 4 is impossible, far from it. But with new enemies, new larger environments and new weaponry, you’re going to have one hell of a ride if you want to complete it on Legendary. That’s where we come in with our ‘unlucky for some, definitely not unlucky for you’ 13 top tips at beating Halo 4 on solo Legendary.
Obviously, some skill is required, but if you follow all of the tips below, it should make everything so much easier. It is recommended that you play it on Heroic first to get a feel for the new enemies and how the levels shape up, but that’s not entirely necessary if you pay particular attention to our section on the enemies below. Notice I said Heroic too, don’t play it on Normal as the jump from Normal to Legendary is enough to kill the will of even the strongest man!
Oh, and the insinuation that Heroic in Halo 4 is harder than Legendary on other Halos? Just not true. Also, there will be no spoilers here, so you can read on without a care in the world. Here goes...
1. Utilise all of the weapons on the battlefield – There are often times when playing on Heroic I’d skip past power weapons of sorts, knowing that I won’t need them in the long-run because I had enough on me to take the fight to the bad guys. When you ramp the difficulty up to Legendary, that all changes. Beam Rifles that you’d walk past because you already have one are weapons to go back to once you’ve used the ammo in your current gun. Fuel Rod guns that you just don’t need because you have an Incineration Cannon are good stop-gaps so that you can save your IC ammo until you truly need it – like on the odd Banshee or against a pair of Hunters. So, our advice is to pick them up, use them on Elites, Knights, whatever, and then go back for your original weapon once you’ve used all of the ammo up. It’s a valuable tactic that should prove to be one you use again and again. Be careful you don’t go through some doors though as some may close and never let you back through to collect your original weapons.
2. Vehicles are the way forward – Common sense, right? Well, yes, but sometimes though it might not seem possible to take a vehicle any further, but trust me, where there’s a will, there’s a way… within reason! So, for example, after you’ve tackled the open section in Chapter 2 (very early on), you can use the enemy grav lift to take a Ghost with you further into the level. When trying to gain access to the Forerunner facility and facing off against tons of foes, you’ll thank us for this tip. Another example, in Chapter 4 (at the very end), you have to make sure you take the Scorpion in the lift with you, so keep it alive until the end - first time through on Heroic I had lost it at this point. It’ll make the next area a lot simpler. The little things like this make Legendary so much easier.
3. Know your enemy – Knowing the easiest way to kill enemies in Halo 4 on Legendary is actually more key than anything else, and it wasn’t until the end of my first playthrough on Heroic that I'd honed my tactics against each foe. We’re going to break each enemy type down here so you know the easiest way to tackle them. You’ll thank us later.
Promethean Watchers – Watchers aren’t particularly hard creatures to take down, but it’s essential to dispatch these ASAP, if not first. Why? Simply because they're basically the best battlefield aids that the Prometheans have at their disposal. They’ll shield allies while their shields restore, they’ll construct powerful beam emplacements, they’ll throw your grenades back at you, they’ll shoot at you and they’ll even create more Knights to take down, which can be a pain. Focus on the flying disc type creatures early on, probably at range with a Light Rifle, or if they’re close range a Scattershot or a Suppressor will make quick work of them. This is an invaluable piece of advice.
Promethean Crawlers – The Crawlers can be relentless foes if you don’t know what you’re doing, but if you do, you can make quick work of a whole pack of them before they make their mark. You’ll want to use a ranged weapon with supreme accuracy, whether that’s a Light Rifle, Magnum, Covenant Carbine, Battle Rifle, DMR, etc. One shot in the mouth – the glowing yellow part – or to the head, thereabouts, and this beast will explode into a ball of hot yellow acidic matter. Using the Scattershot or Suppressor will work eventually but you’ll have wasted a lot of ammo. If they’re surrounding you, smack that melee button.
Promethean Knights – This is the main one to pay attention to. When you first cross the Knights it can be an overwhelming affair, especially if they’re accompanied by a Watcher, however, once you work them out, they’re not as dominating as they first appear to be. The trick here is to get them on their own (take out everything else first – Watchers first, then Crawlers, then Knights) and then get as close as you can with the Suppressor and let rip. Make sure you get to some close by cover first, so you go in with full shield. Don’t get too close either as they’ll take a swipe at you and if they do come towards you for a hit, back off slightly while still firing. The blue discharge is their shield dissipating, so keep going until they disintegrate. It’ll likely take one and a half clips if you’re accurate. The Scattershot super-close can take three shots, maybe two, depending on your connection, but these aren’t as readily available as the Suppressor is. When you get towards the end with 5-7 Promethean Knights at once, things do get tricky, but try to isolate and lure them in. The best distraction and assistant is the Autosentry armour ability, so try to have that with you whenever possible. Some Knights even drop them, so keep an eye out for that.
Elites – As with other Halo games on Legendary, the best way to take down an Elite is using the “n00b” combo – charge blast the Plasma Pistol, hit them with it to take away their shield, and then follow it up with a headshot using a pinpoint accurate gun i.e. Magnum, DMR, BR, etc. The Needler is effective too, as is the Light Rifle if you can execute headshot after headshot. Just keep your distance and stay close to some cover you can quickly duck behind.
Hunters – You’ll face many pairs of Hunters in Halo 4’s campaign, luckily there are usually weapons around to take them down with. The trickiest pair is easily the first set, towards the end of Chapter 3, so try to make your blows count there. When they're distracted by the Sentinels, throw a Sticky Grenade on the weak spot on their back. Rinse and repeat. There should be enough grenades lying around. With the second pair in Chapter 4, you should be in a tank. The third pair, in Chapter 7, there should be a Sticky Detanator lying around in a side room and on the wall (you’ll want to get the achievement associated with this chapter involving the Hunters and the Sticky Detonator while you're at it). And finally, the fourth pair, Chapter 8, try and keep hold of the Incineration Cannon that you can pick up from a Knight earlier on in the level.
Grunts – Pop in the head with a Battle Rifle, DMR, Covenant Carbine, Magnum, Light Rifle. It’s as simple as that. Line up the headshot though, so as to avoid wasting ammo.
Jackals – One shot in the head and they die, like the Grunts, so adopt the same strategy. If they have a shield, shoot their hand (left side of the shield) and when they’re recuperating, shoot them in the head – you have to be quick and this may take practice but it's a handy move. Halo Legendary veterans will know this tactic. Jackals with long-distance weapons, take them down ASAP with the BR, DMR, Carbine, etc. because they can cause a lot of damage.
4. Headshots are key – Seems like a simple thing to suggest, but it's important. Sometimes it might be easier to load the previous checkpoint than to continue if you miss your headshots… especially if you miss shots with power weapons or the DMR, the Battle Rifle - actually, any UNSC weapon, as the ammo is few and far between and they are generally the stronger weapons. Two headshots with a sniper rifle could take down an Elite, but miss the headshots and it could take as many as four. It’s the difference between failure and success. Practice taking down Jackals with shields in two shots. I’d recommend turning on the Grunt Birthday Party skull too so you know when you’ve connected with a headshot on a Grunt – that way you don’t waste ammunition shooting at a falling corpse.
5. The right tool for the right job – There’s no point firing a Suppressor at a Watcher from the other side of the map, it’s just pointless. Use the right piece of kit for the right job. Take down a Watcher with a Light Rifle; shoot Crawlers with precision weapons; and get close and take down Knights with the Suppressor. Don’t use a power weapon on a standard Grunt and save your grenades for times when you really need them. Use the Binary Rifle on Knights and Elites, use the Sniper Rifle, Beam Rifle, etc. exclusively on Knights and Elites. Be sensible, and if you only have two weapons in your arsenal, then search for something close by to use temporarily.
6. Big things can come in small packages – “Oooohhh, look at that Grunt there, he’s so cute… I’ll just pop him in the head. Wait, what’s that!? What the hell!? He has a Fuel Rod Cannon!! Ruuuuuuunnn!!” On Legendary there seem to be more and more Grunts armed to the teeth with some bloody strong weapons. Our point is simply to pay attention to these folks first and take them down before they do any serious damage. They’ll often have a jetpack, so look out for that trait when they’re on the battlefield. Just because they’re small and weak by definition usually, don’t discard them. Whip out your accurate ranged weapon of choice, whether it’s the Light Rifle, Battle Rifle or whatever, and then quickly take them out with a headshot. Then when you can, pick up their weapon and turn it on their allies.
7. Stick to cover, hang back – In Halos gone by on Legendary, it was a case of hanging back when you had AI with you and then sweeping in to mop up the rest. Halo 4 doesn’t really present that many opportunities to do this, mainly because Master Chief is a lone wolf. In Chapter 3 there’ll be a few instances on the way to the second pylon and then to the end where you should hang back and let the action play out before you jump in, otherwise you’ll be faced with a mammoth task while wasting ammo in the process. When you do get friendly AIs to assist, use them as distractions more than anything, because chances are they won’t last long. War is tough, and Master Chief knows it.
8. Don’t get frustrated, if all else fails, seek a different approach – Sometimes there’ll be moments in the campaign where your usual strategies don’t work. If they don’t, try something else. In fact, just try anything to get through, but make sure you’ve hit that checkpoint first – it’s essentially a license to experiment. For example, taking on a Knight with an Incineration Cannon isn’t like taking on a normal Promethean Knight with a Light Rifle. Chances are you’ll have to distract it using the Autosentry, maybe sneak closer using the Hardlight Shield as protection and then unleash on him while he reloads. Heck, there might be points where you’ll have to spam grenades at groups of enemies, use different weapons that you have at your disposal, come from different approaches... Basically, do something unconventional and against what you’ve been doing for the rest of the game. The main point is to not get frustrated. You’re going to die a lot. Just accept that. And if the method you’ve been trying for an age isn’t working, there will always be another tactic that might be more risky but could get you over the finish line. It’s all about finishing, no matter how messy it might seem.
9. Make use of those armour abilities – Some armour abilities in the campaign are completely useless, others are invaluable. For instance, the Promethean vision is only likely to help you in Chapter 4 briefly, whereas the cloak doesn’t really seem to ever help, and neither does the Hologram. In fact, it’s all about the Hardlight Shield and the Autosentry. The Hardlight Shield is good last minute cover, but in all honesty, it’s ALL about the Autosentry, which is like an AI turret that fights your corner. Not only is it a perfect distraction for the enemies you’re trying to takedown on the battlefield, but it’s also accurate and does a fair bit of damage. It’s great for ammo conservation amongst all else and is even dropped by some Promethean Knights, so it’s quite readily available. Don’t be afraid to wait behind cover and let it recharge either. Seriously, get this, use this, fall in love with it as it becomes your most valuable asset when playing on Legendary.
10. Don’t use power weapons until absolutely necessary – I mentioned this a bit earlier, when talking about utilising all of the weapons on the battlefield, but I feel I need to stress this point further. Don’t use a Fuel Rod cannon to take down a Grunt, unless you’re just using it to pick up your original weapon, but even then, use it on an Elite, on a vehicle, something that deserves it. You can take down a Grunt with one bullet, why waste a Fuel Rod shot? If you’ve played Halo 4 through on Heroic beforehand then you should know what’s coming for the most part, whether you have vehicles to take out or Knights with Incineration Cannons. These are the times to save the power weapons for and the best time to use them. You don’t want to find yourself taking on a pair of Hunters with a Magnum and a Covenant Carbine.
11. Even the Master Chief gets scared – Sometimes running and bypassing enemies is a perfectly viable option, so remember that. It was an option in other Halos (Reach is a good example) and it is here too. There are a couple of really good examples early on in the game in Chapter 2: when you have to bypass the Covenant and the Prometheans in a battle on the planet’s surface – if you try to take them out before progressing, it could take you an age; and on your way to the second pylon, where you have to take out the three field generators to unlock the grav lift to the top of the pylon – simply take out the shields zipping round with the Ghost, and then take the Banshee up to the top. It’s not cowardly or cheating at all, it’s necessary if you are to keep your sanity and finish the game in a reasonable amount of hours. So if it’s possible, just peg it, staying behind cover where possible as it doesn’t take that many shots to bring you down. Bear in mind that it isn’t always possible though and in order to open some doors and hit checkpoints you’ll need to clear the way first.
12. Scavenge and don’t get ahead of yourself – 343 Industries have put some really interesting weapons in some really interesting places, and all you need to do is explore a little. Players who climb places they maybe shouldn’t be climbing and heading into rooms to rummage through whatever may lie there will generally get their just rewards. We’ve found Sniper Rifles lying on top of ships, Sticky Detonators on boxes off the beaten path, ammo on corpses and what not, so it pays to explore and scavenge. The truth is you’re not going to spend much time with the UNSC weaponry during the campaign on Legendary, mainly because the ammo on the battlefield is sparse, so getting your hands on any weaponry that can give you an advantage will certainly aid your cause.
13. Turrets are your new best friend – We’re not talking the Autosentry armour ability here - although that’ll probably be your Legendary playthrough BFF - we’re talking UNSC fixed turrets and Covenant plasma turrets. If they’re around, jump on them to thin out the numbers, being careful to jump away if you’re close to death. If no-one is around and you have to continue on into the level, grab them and take them with you. Not only will this save on ammo and what not, but it’ll allow you to make quick work of the next few batch of Covenant or Promethean patrols, which will make you feel like you’re making progress AND saving your ammunition.
If you stick to these key points, the game that some people (namely, me) are dubbing the hardest Halo ever, is in fact very doable. There seems to be far less frustrating moments in Halo 4, but every battle seems to be a chore. There’s no sniper alley lined with Jackals and sniper rifles like in Halo 2, and there’s no relentless end battle like in Halo: Reach. Sure, there’s the odd choke point, but take these tips with into battle with you and you’ll do just fine, Spartan. Good luck when you get your hands on the game and don't forget to bookmark this page!
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