5. Campaign (Legendary)
The majority of this section can be completed solo or coop. Once again it is written with a single player in mind. The exceptions to this majority are on A New Enemy and The Cartographer. More details below.
This page is going to cover your Legendary difficulty playthrough of the game. It will assume that you have completed the game once on Easy and have collected all the skulls, as directed in the previous section. If you have skipped to this section with the intention of skipping the Easy playthrough, please read my note on playthrough count in the Walkthrough Overview section. Yes, you can technically do this, but this walkthrough assumes you do not and if you try to follow this section without having followed the previous section, you will struggle.
A note on skulls:
You collected all of these in the previous section, but what are they? Any Halo franchise fan may already know this. They are, in essence, effects that may be enabled or disabled before each mission. Each skull has a different effect and can be beneficial or detrimental. Some will affect your score, with the beneficial ones generally lowering it and the detrimental ones generally increasing it. This is of no concern for your legendary playthrough, because score only affects your medal at the end of each mission and what medal you get at this point is entirely irrelevant. Skulls can be enabled while on the mission select screen
These are the skulls that you will want to enable for most of your Legendary playthrough:
- Pain Train: All player units train 50% faster.
- Bountiful Harvest: Supplies from supply buildings arrive 25% faster.
- Emperor: All player powers recharge in half the time.
- Total Annihilation: Spartan special ability slams create an even more powerful explosion upon landing.
- Sugar Cookies: All player units have 50% more hitpoints.
- Shadow: Player core infantry units start cloaked.
- Things that go Boom: Hero units unleash a nuclear explosion on death. Be aware that enemy Brute Warlords will trigger this too!
- After Party: Any time a Firebase is destroyed, the player who owned it gets a tank and infantry unit. This is helpful if you ever control a base that can be turned into a Scorpion production line by spam build/recycling it. Remember that it works for enemy bases too!
For the vast majority of the levels, your playthrough will be similar to the previous one, the significant change being that you can ignore all optional and bonus objectives. However, there are two significant exceptions to this that I will point out both now and under the relevant levels' headers. A New Enemy and The Cartographer. These two levels are suitable for completing two other achievements, so while you may skip most of this page if you are confident in your ability to repeat your previous performance, but with skulls, do not skip those two.
Finally, I'd like to place a warning here just for one thing, because it will catch you by surprise otherwise. The Legendary AI is very good at tracking you with Leader Powers. Expect to have groups of soldiers routinely taken out by lasers that are impossible to dodge, because they will follow you perfectly. For the most part, this is fine. You have such an advantage with unit health, training speed and resource arrival speed, that it should be fine to just power through this.
With that all out of the way, let's get into it.
This level is pretty much identical to your Easy playthrough. The first half is combat free. The second half changes in that you no longer need to care about ramming Grunt Squads and can instead just beeline to the end of the mission.
A New Enemy
This mission will change significantly, because we are going to go for the Lone Wolf achievement. This must be done solo.
- Complete any mission (except The Signal) solo on Legendary with all skulls activated
This isn't all bad, because about half the skulls are beneficial, but there are some important ones to be aware of. Pestilence causes all your units to start to drain health as soon as they are built. Some important notes however. First, this will not kill the units, they stop losing health at 16.6% (1/6th) remaining. Second, and perhaps more importantly, this affects enemy units as well! Finally, Spartan shields do not drain.
Start the mission as usual. Always let your Spartan enter the fight first, as he has more health than anyone else with his shields. The first group of enemies should be no issue. The second group in the garrisons can be solo killed by the Spartan as he will attack them from too far away for them to shoot back. After killing one group, put your Spartan in that garrison.
After this continue as on Easy, letting your Spartan tank hits whenever possible. Ignore all the hidden areas full of decorative buildings that you went for on Easy. The enemies just over the bridge can be killed by putting your Spartan in the garrison and letting the Kodiaks blow them up.
At the enemy base, put your Spartan and some Marines inside the garrisons and let them take care of the base. Eventually, friendly Hornets will show up and make this easy. Remember that a Wraith will come out of it when it dies. Let your Spartan take care of it and hopefully the Hornets will help out.
From this point onwards, the mission will get easier. Build the base and build four turrets ASAP. These turrets will wreck whatever low health enemies try to attack. You'll be given two Warthogs and these Warthogs are special. Every time they die, you'll get two more for free at the base. Queue up a bunch of Marines and head north towards the enemy secondary base. Grab the Power Node first (use the garrison with your Spartan), then head up and destroy the base. Make absolutely sure to have 500 supplies and 200 energy to build your own in its place or the Banished will instantly replace it. Remember that a Wraith will come out of it when it dies.
Actually destroying the base can actually be a bit of a pain. Continuously queue up Marines at base whenever you have the resources to spare and constantly set your global rally point to wherever your army is. Remember to use Grenade Throw on cooldown.
As soon as you have destroyed the base and started building your own, the fun can start. Select the base in progress and recycle it. You'll get resources back, as well as a Scorpion and a Marines unit. You can constantly repeat this. Constantly build and recycle until you have filled your population with these and head out with your new army. Leave a single unit by the base to keep replenishing your Scorpions this way.
With this Scorpion production line in place, you can just overwhelm the rest of the Banished forces. As soon as your army is wiped out, you can build another in no time by spam build/recycling. Ignore every optional and bonus objective and just focus on the primary one.
Eventually the enemy will succumb to your Scorpion waves and you'll complete the mission, earning you:
Unlocked by 3,076 tracked gamers (5% - TA Ratio = 4.43)
Don't forget to turn all the detrimental skulls off again after the previous achievement!
Everything up to the point where you get your first base is identical to the Easy playthrough.
After defending your base from the initial enemies, you can push west to take out the Banished minibase. This then becomes your Scorpion production line. Repeatedly queue up the minibase, then cancel the build until you have a full population cap of Scorpions. The rest of the mission should now be a pushover.
You no longer need to care about the Banished main base behind point B, nor do you need to bother keeping a vehicle foundry alive. Instead, just wipe everything on your side of point B out and then spread your units around the forerunner structure, to make sure no more enemies sneak out of there.
One Three Zero
This mission plays out pretty much identically to the Easy playthrough, as it has no base slots to abuse. You still want to gather all the bonus resources you can and you still don't want to lose any more units than you have to until your last stand, so let Alice do as much heavy lifting as she can. Her Spartan Slam is much more powerful now, thanks to skulls. You should now use all the units you have for the final stand.
If Alice is going to die at any point, at least make sure she's near enemy troops so that her explosion on death does work.
If you would like to be as efficient as possible with your time when finding a partner for achievements that require two people, then pair these two with the coop/multiplayer boosting sections of the Blitz and Skirmish pages.
This mission is where we will be playing cooperatively in order to get the Two heads are better than one and Comrades in arms achievements.
- Completed a mission in co-op
- Earned a gold medal on any mission (except Prologue) in Co-op on Legendary
The gold medal requirement means that you must disable all the beneficial skulls that are active. I would also suggest disabling all detrimental skulls. A gold medal is achievable without any of the skulls active.
To refresh your memory, this mission only has one optional and one bonus objective. The bonus objective is to kill 30 air units with Wolverines. The optional objective is to destroy the two Banished minibases.
Playing with two heads will make this a little easier. You can each take control of your own groups of troops and dodge enemy Leader Powers more effectively, while paying attention to more of the map at once. The mission itself is quite short and if you follow the same guide as was on the Easy walkthrough page, you should have no trouble beating this. Remember that you can save after each difficult segment, even in coop.
Once you do, you will unlock:
Unlocked by 14,717 tracked gamers (24% - TA Ratio = 2.02)
Unlocked by 4,046 tracked gamers (7% - TA Ratio = 3.86)
This mission is the same as Easy until you reach the two minibase plots just past the light bridge. You can start Scorpion production here. Technically, you can start it at the first base plot you come across, but I would strongly recommend building a base here, because you can run into a really annoying bug if you don't.
The Legendary AI is good at faking out your units to a frankly unrealistic degree and can also retreat into zones. Since you can't activate the light bridge until you destroy the enemies that attack you, this can make a single Banshee that keeps dodging out of attack range insanely irritating. This is why you built up a base. You want to build enough Hornets to swarm it before it can retreat out of sight and heal.
Once you have the two minibase slots, you can use both of them to produce Scorpions. The base through the next portal works too, but has a longer wait period between rebuilds. The rest of the mission is a matter of sending waves of units at the enemy until they fall over.
From the Deep
Both the minibases you start with can be turned into Scorpion production lines. Just take care to spread your Marines around a bit, since air attacks can threaten Scorpions. Don't forget to upgrade vehicles and population cap at your base. The rest is the same as Easy.
Hold the Line
Here you can go with two routes. Either the same as on Easy, since the Hornet setup is very powerful, or the standard Scorpion spam you're used to. If you go with Scorpions, you should still take care to park some Wolverines near where the Banshees will show up. You can also mix and match. Use the Scorpions to deal with the early enemies and transition into the Easy strat once you're set up and upgraded everywhere.
Under the Dark
For the first time in a while you won't be able to use Scorpion spam... yet. The mission will be play the same way as on Easy for the first half. Nothing here should be particularly difficult or different from Easy. Just remember to make use of garrisons. Once you have the minibase, you can build as many units as you like and go as slowly as you like.
Shortly into the the second half, you can turn the first minibase that you meet into a Scorpion factory. From then on, it should be a trivial completion.
Remember that you still need Kodiaks to complete the mission and you don't want to get stuck without the population space to build them!
For whatever reason, the Scorpion abuse did not work for me on this mission. Enemies will get Wraiths from bases you destroy, but recycling an in progress base did nothing for me. So we have to play this mission honestly. Somewhat honestly, anyway. We still have the rest of the skulls after all! For this reason, I would suggest disabling the skull for this mission.
Everything from the start up until your first base is standard. There are no opportunities for a Scorpion production line. The Banished minibase that you can destroy on the way up is irrelvant, as it is not part of the main objective. Ignore it.
The battle up towards the Scarab commander can be a bit difficult. Remember to keep your Spartans near him so that their death causes high damage. The Scarab commander will also explode on death. Don't drop everything once he dies either: you need to also kill the enemies that were near him to trigger the cutscene. It's worth saving once you have the Scarab, because things can still go wrong before it becomes smooth sailing.
The only remaining difficult part is taking your initial base from the Banished. The Scarab should be able to ignore auxiliary buildings like turrets and focus the base down before it dies. You can then clean up any remaining enemies. A thorn in your side here are Banshees. If you have ground troops left, especially Spartans, they can fend them off. Otherwise you'll need to train Marines to deal with them. Turrets will die before they are built, if the Banshees attack them. Just make sure to queue at least one Supply Pad before exhausting resources on Marines.
Now it's time to rebuild and reinforce. Do not under any circumstances destroy the rubble leading to the next section until you are ready. You want 3-4 Nightingales and at least 6-8 upgraded Hornets. With the skull bonuses, this will take significantly less time to train than on Easy.
Once that's all ready, destroy the rubble and the next Banished base. Take this one and you can turn it into a closer reinforcement spot. By now you should have all population limit upgrades and two bases to build Hornets from. Continue replenishing them as space frees up and advance slowly through to the final objective. With a Scarab and fully upgraded Hornets, this should be no issue.
Our friend Scorpion skull abuse is back in this mission, so don't forget to re-enable that skull.
The mission starts in much the same way as Easy. The Retriever Sentinel packs far more of a punch though, so expect to lose more soldiers to it than you might have on Easy. Don't worry if you struggle a bit until you have the Scorpion production underway.
Play the same way as before. Take point A, then rescue Bravo base. Don't, however, bother building any Vultures. They are not worth the space they take up and you want Hornets instead. Once you've taken Bravo base, take the minibase northeast of it and use this to start spamming Scorpions. After maxing your population, go free the UNSC troops to go over it.
From here, play the mission in more or less the same way as on Easy, excepting the fact that you can entirely ignore the Banished base. If you do struggle, then remember that so long as you are roughly equal with the Banished, you can entirely ignore one of the three control points and still go on to win. B and C are a much easier pair to defend if you opt to use this route.
The home stretch at last. In this mission, as you know, there are no bases. This means there are no Scorpions to abuse and that there is nothing to be gained by having fast unit training speed. The advantage in this mission comes from the 2x Leader Power recharge speed.
Fundamentally, it will be identical to your Easy playthrough, with the obvious exception that you don't need to bother dealing with the Brute Warlord camps. The advantage you have from using Leader Powers twice as often is very significant. It means that you can almost always use one or two if you're struggling with a wave.
There isn't really a great deal more to be written for this mission. If you were in a habit of forgetting to use the Leader Powers on Easy, then try to lose it for this. Keep an ear out for when Cutter says "Leader Power ready!" and abuse them as much as you can.
Upon completing this, you will have finished the entire campaign portion of this walkthrough and will unlock:
Unlocked by 5,363 tracked gamers (9% - TA Ratio = 3.35)
Unlocked by 4,507 tracked gamers (7% - TA Ratio = 3.66)
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