This past week, I finally gathered my team together for a co-op Legendary run of Halo 4. After having so much fun (mostly) playing Gears of War 3 with a team of four on Insanity, I really wanted to do the same thing with Halo 4. When we played Gears 3, our goal was to get through at least one Act a night. Sometimes it happened, and sometimes it didn’t. Some of the scenes in Act III and Act IV are a complete bitch to get through on Normal, and even with four of us, Insanity play was an absolute beating. There were times where we said we weren’t having fun anymore after playing the same scene for over an hour. I was honestly expecting a similar, really tough, really long experience with Halo 4. I’m not going to say that playing Halo 4 on Legendary isn’t tough, because it is quite difficult, but it’s definitely not going to take us very long to get through the game. In three hours, the four of us blazed through half the game.
The differences between the set-up between the two games is quite remarkable for their hardest difficulty settings. Both games put the players at 2-hits-and-you’re-dead, and both games definitely added far more enemies in the higher settings, so those have not changed. In Gears 3, I didn’t notice that the enemies had different weapons from my Normal playthrough, but the Locust were quite the bullet sponges; the lowest ranking were able to take a full clip of the Lancer before falling. Conversely in Halo 4, the HP of the enemies hasn’t seemed to change as much, but they wield far better weapons than before. I cannot tell you how many times I was killed by a lowly Grunt holding a Fuel Rod Cannon. In addition, all of the Covenant are sticky grenade happy! So much blue streaked across the screen…actually, there was so much blue and so much green from the vast amounts of Fuel Rod Cannons, I thought I was going to have an epileptic fit.
So if you asked me if I died less in Legendary Halo 4 than I did in Insanity Gears 3, the answer is definitely no. In fact, near the end when I was so tired, I’m certain I died more often.
The reason why it’s not going to take us nearly as long to get through the game is how differently Halo 4 handles teammates dying.
We played Gears 3 in Arcade mode, so there was no “bleeding out” time for players to crawl toward other players in hopes for revival. You died and you were out of the game for 25 seconds. Once the clock was up, you respawned, no matter what was going on in the game. Twenty-five seconds is a LOOOONG time to be out while playing on Insanity. Our team had to constantly give a rundown of how many seconds we had left, especially if only one person was still alive. As you can imagine, this is why we had to replay a scene for over an hour. This was far preferable to regular campaign mode, though, where anyone dying would trigger a game over screen.
In Halo 4 co-op, when a teammate dies, they’re out for a grand total of 4 seconds and will respawn next to a teammate who is not under fire. So if everyone else is in mid-battle, the dead player will have to wait until someone gets clear. As a result, we had to restart checkpoints a grand total of three times.
We were surprised we made it through the chapters so quickly, but wow, we had a great time. We actually goofed around a little bit, beating up on one another and running over one another with Warthogs that were on fire. We never did anything like that in Gears 3 because we just wanted to get through the chapters. We’ll probably finish our Legendary run in 2-3 play sessions tops, but that’s honestly fine with all of us. I have Fuse coming out next week, not to mention a large back log that requires my attention, so it’s nice to be able to play through this in record time. Besides, season two of Spartan Ops should be out soon, so we’ll be back in Halo 4 Land before too long.