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Transition Guide

This section focuses on the major changes from Halo Reach to Halo 4 and is intended for experienced Halo Reach players. For a much more detailed, complete overview, see the “Overview” section of this website. In addition, if you have not played Halo Reach before or were relatively poor at Halo Reach, I suggest that you read the Overview section instead of the Transition Guide.

Top 12 Biggest Changes

1. Protheans: For roughly half of the campaign you will fight Protheans instead of the covenant. While Promethean crawlers and sentinels are relatively easy to kill, the Prothean knights present the largest challenge of any Halo 4 infantry. Not only do knights have much higher shield capacities than Elites, you usually do not have access to a plasma pistol when fighting them, so they must be killed with pure damage. Therefore, you must change your play style and loadout when fighting Protheans.
2. Bigger heads: All of the covenant in Halo 4 have much larger heads than their Halo Reach equivalents. This makes getting headshots even easier.
3. Reduced covenant army: There are no more brutes, skirmishers, or buggers fighting for the covenant in Halo 4. That leaves only elites, grunts, and jackals, which makes fighting the covenant easier.
4. Prothean weapons: An entire new set of weapons accompany the new Prothean infantry. Most of these weapons have a very similar UNSC counterpart, so they do not drastically change your play style. Rather, they can replace your starting weapons once they run low.
5. Regenerative health: Just like in Halo 3, your health once again regenerates in Halo 4. This means that you no longer need to keep track of health kits, and you are safe to take a small amount of damage after losing your shields.
6. Lower plasma energy: Almost all of the plasma weapons in Halo 4 use much more energy than their Halo Reach equivalents. The plasma pistol is one of the weapons most affected by this change; both single and overcharged shots consume much more energy. Conserve energy by charging the plasma pistol as little as possible before shooting. Even if you do this, you will need to swap for a fresh plasma pistol more often in Halo 4 than in Halo Reach.
7. Sprint: Sprint is no longer considered an armor ability in Halo 4; you can always sprint by pressing in with the right joystick regardless of what armor ability you have. This allows you to utilize the other armor abilities at your disposal without reducing your mobility.
8. New Armor Abilities: Although a few of the armor abilities from Halo Reach made their way into the campaign, most of the armor abilities are new. Some of my favorites are Promethean vison and autosentry.
9. More ammo: There are many more ammo crates scattered throughout the Halo 4 campaign, enough you should never run out of headshot weapon ammo. Although you will not always get to use your favorite headshot weapon, you will always have access to at least one of them, even if you miss a lot.
10. Stronger Vehicles: Both the covenant and UNSC vehicles in Halo 4 are far superior to their Halo Reach counterparts. The Wraith in particular is much more dangerous because an elite always operates the plasma turret and its plasma ball is much more powerful and accurate. In general, you should still stun covenant vehicles with a plasma pistol to jack or destroy them.
11. No scoring: There is no longer a way to turn on scoring in the campaign menu, so there is no convenient number on your HUD every time you kill an enemy. Therefore, you need to be a bit more observant. This affected me a lot when I began to play, but after a mission or two, I barely noticed the difference. When you use Promethean vision, the challenge is completely removed because enemies you kill instantly change from red to blue.
12. Less cover: I feel that there is slightly less cover in the majority of the Halo 4 campaign than in Halo Reach. The difference is not drastic, but I do find myself in situations with no good cover more often.


No matter what the situation, you should carry one headshot weapons with you at all times. This allows you to instantly kill most of the infantry in the game, and it will also help you when fighting watchers. However, you will need to vary your secondary weapon depending on which enemies you are fighting. When fighting covenant, you should always use a plasma pistol as your secondary weapon to remove elites’ shields and stun vehicles (just like in Halo Reach). This tactic also works to remove the shields of Promethean knights, but because only the covenant use plasma pistols, you often do not have access to a plasma pistol when fighting Prometheans. Instead, you will need to use a Promethean weapon that packs as much damage as possible to kill the knights, such as the incinerator cannon, binary rifle, or suppressor. If available, you can also use the rail gun, SAW, or needler.


Grunts: Headshots are by far the easiest way to kill grunts. Unlike in Halo Reach, there are no more grunt ultras, so you can kill all of the grunts with a single headshot.
Jackals: When a jackal is not hiding behind its shield, simply kill it with a headshot. Otherwise, shoot it once in the hand, causing it to drop its shield and providing you with an easy headshot.
Elites: Overcharge your plasma pistol and fire it at an elite to remove its shields. Then swap to your headshot weapon and finish it off with a headshot.
Hunters: Unlike the other covenant, you will need sheer damage to kill hunters. Luckily, you have access to some type of rocket launcher, grenade launcher, or vehicle in every single hunter fight in the game. These weapons allow you to deal large amounts of damage, so simply keep shooting the Hunters in the bodies until they die.
Crawlers: Crawlers have more health and deal more damage than grunts, but you still can kill them with a single headshot. They have smaller heads than grunts as well, so be sure to aim carefully.’
Watchers: Although watcher cannot deal much damage, they are capable of summoning crawlers, protecting knights with hard light shields, and reviving dead knights. Because of their shielding capabilities, you should always kill any nearby watchers before attacking any knights. Sadly, Watchers do not have heads, but you can kill them with 3 - 5 shots from a headshot weapon. Be sure to aim for the center of the watcher because you will deal more damage.
Knights: Prothean knights are the hardest enemy to fight in Halo 4 because they have immense amounts of shields and health. Not only are their shields much stronger than the highest ranking elites, you usually do not have access to a plasma pistol when fighting them. Furthermore, you can only kill them with a headshot if you hit the skull behind their face gear. Therefore, you must shoot them in the head multiple times to cause them to retract their facemask before you can finish them with a headshot. When you do not have a plasma pistol, you should instead use a high damage weapon to kill Promethean knights such as the incinerator cannon, rail gun, or binary rifle.
Laser Turret: The Promethean laser turret is a stationary enemy that fires a relatively weak laser. It must charge up this laser between shots, similar to a Spartan laser. In most situations, I suggest temporarily swapping your secondary weapon for some type of fully automatic rifle to kill the laser turret without wasting ammo. The turret is relatively weak, and can be killed in less than a magazine of ammo.


Ghost: The Ghost barely changed between Halo Reach and Halo 4. As before, wait in cover until the driver approaches you, then stun and jack the Ghost with your plasma pistol.
Wraith: The Wraith of Halo 4 presents a drastically larger threat than in Halo Reach. First of all, the plasma turret is always operated by an elite, so it is now much harder to jack Wraiths. Second, the plasma shot of the Wraith deals much more collateral damage, making it even harder to doge. Third, the Wraiths have a much higher range and accuracy now; they can successfully hit from very far away. Luckily, the plasma turret stops operating when you stun a Wraith, so you do not always need to kill the operator before you board it. However, if you board the Wraith from the front, the elite in the plasma turret will fire upon you as soon as the EMP wears off, so you must board the Wraith from behind if you have not already killed the turret operator.
Banshee: Banshees are now much more aggressive and their plasma turrets deal more damage. Unlike in Halo Reach, they can successfully kill you without the help of other infantry. You have access to a banshee in most areas with enemy Banshees, which you can use to destroy them.
Mongoose: The Mongoose did not change very much. You will most likely never use it during the campaign.
Warthog: The Warthog also did not changer very much in Halo 4. During the campaign, you have the option of using both the Gauss Warthog and the Standard Warthog, but never the Rocket Warthog. If you are playing alone, I do not suggest using any variation of the warthog because the UNSC AI are terrible gunners and drivers.
Scorpion: The new Scorpion has a much higher damage resistance than in Halo Reach, which makes up for its inability to avoid threats. Its main cannon fires slower than in Halo Reach, but it still inflicts just as much damage, with slightly more collateral.
Mantis: The Mantis is a bipedal UNSC Mech new to Halo 4. This is my favorite vehicle because it allows you to maintain the same maneuverability you have on foot, including the ability to take cover. The Mantis has a relatively high damage resistance and is equipped with a rocket launcher and machinegun turret.
Pelican: For the first time in the Halo franchise (aside from the Easter egg in Halo Reach), you are able to fly a pelican during the campaign. The Pelican has a very high damage resistance and is equipped with a heavy turret and heavy Spartan laser. It handles similarly to the Falcon from Halo Reach.
Broad Sword: The Broad Sword is a heavy fighter, nearly identical to the Saber. It is equipped with rapid-fire rockets and an assault rifle, and it handles like a Banshee or Saber from Halo Reach.


Assault rifle: The assault rifle is an accurate, fully automatic weapon. It deals more damage than in Halo Reach. The assault rifle is pretty effective against knights and sentinels.
Battle Rifle: The battle rifle is a 3-shot burst headshot weapon with a 2x scope. It is not as accurate as the DMR, but the spread of the three shots makes it easier to get headshots when fighting up close. Because it fires three shots per burst, it deals more damage than most headshot weapons, so it is one of the best weapons for taking down sentinels.
DMR: The DMR is the most accurate headshot weapon in the game (other than sniper rifles). It has a 3x scope and low recoil and is the best weapon to pick of enemies from a distance.
Magnum: The magnum is a fast firing, medium accuracy headshot weapon with a 2x scope. It is more accurate than in Halo Reach.
Rail Gun: The rail gun is a charge up, single shot weapon similar to the Spartan laser. It deals enough damage to kill most enemies and remove the shields off of any Promethean knight. This is a great weapon for fighting knights because it allows you to quickly remove their shields and then finish them off with 1 – 2 headshots. Projectiles from a rail gun travel much faster than the overcharged blasts from a plasma pistol, so you can use it from a longer range.
Rocket Launcher: The rocket launcher fires slow moving projectiles that deal large amounts of damage with a high blast radius. The rocket launcher no longer locks onto ground vehicles in Halo 4, but it deals much more damage. It still locks onto aircraft, but banshees can usually avoid it.
SAW: The SAW is a powerful LMG great for killing Promethean knights. It fires much faster than the assault rifle, deals more damage per bullet, and has an enormous magazine. The only downside of the SAW is that it is relatively inaccurate, so you should get as close as possible when using it.
Shotgun: The shotgun is a close range weapon that deals immense damage at point blank range. In Halo Reach, shotguns were great for fighting Hunters, but now, you always have access to stronger weapons when fighting them. Therefore, I have found no good use for the shotgun in the campaign.
Sniper rifle: The sniper rifle is a slow firing, long range weapon with a 5x and 10x scope. It requires 2 – 4 headshots to kill varying ranks of elites, and it is absolutely useless against Promethean knights. The Sniper rifle is useful for picking elites out of ground turrets or wraith turrets.
Spartan Laser: The Spartan laser is a charge up weapon with a 2x scope. It deals immense amounts of damage and is useful for destroying smaller covenant vehicles. However, you rarely get to use this weapon throughout the campaign.
Sticky Detonator: The sticky detonator is an improved version of the grenade launcher from Halo Reach. It fires strong explosives (equivalent in damage to 2 frags) that can stick to any surface. After firing a sticky, press the trigger again to detonate it. In the 7th mission, you will use this weapon to kill a pair of hunters.

Beam Rifle: The Beam rifle is the covenant equivalent of the sniper rifle. It is equally accurate, deals the same amount of damage, and has a 5x and 10x scope. It is easier to no-scope enemies with the beam rifle than with the sniper rifle. This weapon is useful for picking elites out of ground turrets or wraith turrets.
Carbine: The carbine is the only covenant headshot weapon. It fires a single shot, has a 2x scope, and is roughly as accurate as the battle rifle. Notice that the carbine deals less than half as much damage as the DMR, but it fires more than twice as fast. The carbine has by far the most extra ammo (72 shots) and largest magazine (18 shots).
Concussion rifle: The concussion rifle fires slow moving grenades that detonate on impact. This weapon does not deal enough damage on Legendary to be of any use, but in the hands of the enemies, it is a large threat. Notice that you can avoid enemy concussion rifle fire buy moving around and jumping a lot.
Energy Sword: The energy sword is a melee weapon that deals enough damage to instantly kill you or low rank elites. When you do not have a plasma pistol, you can use an energy sword as an alternative for killing elties.
Fuel rod gun: The fuel rod gun is a rapid fire rocket launcher. It has a larger magazine and higher fire rate than the UNSC rocket launcher, but it deals less damage per rocket. When you do not have a plasma pistol, you can use the fuel rod gun to kill elites or knights (it will take 1 – 3 shots depending on their rank). The fuel rod gun is also great against hunters.
Gravity Hammer: The gravity hammer is a melee weapon similar to the energy sword. Because there are no brutes in Halo 4, you will never encounter enemies with this weapon. You get an opportunity to use a gravity hammer in the last mission, but I do not suggest using it.
Needler: The needler is a fast firing machine pistol that shoots special needles. Once half a magazine of these needles collect in an enemy, they will explode in a super combine explosion, dealing immense damage. Unlike in Halo Reach, this super combine explosion can occur even in shielded enemies (or you). If enemies begin hitting you with multiple needles, take cover immediately to avoid this. The needler is very useful against Promethean knights and sentinels.
Plasma pistol: The plasma pistol is specialized for removing shields and stunning vehicles, but it deals almost no damage to health. It has a semi-automatic fire which deals large amounts of shield damage. However, if you hold down the trigger, you can overcharge the plasma pistol, which allows you to shoot a homing ball of plasma that instantly removes shields and stuns vehicles for a short period of time. Therefore, you should use the plasma pistol to remove the shield of elites and knights in order to finish them with a headshot from your headshot weapon. If you stun a covenant ghost or wraith, you can then run up to hijack it.
Storm rifle: The storm rifle is a fully automatic plasma rifle used by many of the elites. The first few shots of the storm rifle are very accurate, but it has a huge recoil so the spread increases dramatically if you continue to hold down the trigger. Therefore, if you ever use the storm rifle, be sure to burst your fire whenever you are shooting target from a distance. However, I never suggest using the storm rifle during the campaign.

Binary Rifle: The binary rifle is by far the strongest sniper rifle in the game. It deals enough damage to kill you with a single body shot, and it can kill most Promethean knights with only two headshots. For this reason, it is a great weapon to have when fighting knights, especially since you can kill them from a distance. Whenever a Promethean is about to fire the binary rifle, a red halo appears over its head. If you see this, take cover immediately.
Bolt pistol: The bolt pistol is a fast firing headshot weapon with a secondary shotgun fire. A single pull of the trigger fires a headshot bolt, but these bolts are inaccurate and travel slowly. Therefore, I suggest using other headshot weapons whenever possible. If you hold down the trigger, you can charge up a shotgun blast. This blast deals lest damage than the shotgun or scattershot and is hard to use because you must charge it up. Therefore, the bolt pistol is a relatively useless weapon.
Incinerator cannon: The incinerator cannon is an immensely powerful rocket launcher. It deals the most damage of all the weapons in the game. Upon impact, a rocket from the incinerator cannon shoots out many smaller rockets that explode half a second later, greatly increasing its damage and blast radius. The incinerator cannon is great for fighting knights because it can kill any rank of knight with a single shot. Notice that the incinerator cannon must reload after each shot, so it is vital that you hit the first time. When fighting knights equipped with incinerator cannons, either engage them from a distance with an accurate weapon or fight them at point-blank range. If you are close enough, they will try to melee you instead of using their incinerator cannon.
Light Rifle: The light rifle is a headshot weapon with 2 different types of fire. When you are hip-firing a light rifle, it shoots 3-shot bursts, creating a minor spread that makes it easier to get headshots. When you zoom in with the 2x scope, it fires single shots (which still consume 3 ammo) for maximum accuracy. Notice that the single shot mode deals more damage than the combined three shots of the burst fire mode. Therefore, you should always zoom in when fighting sentinels.
Scattershot: The scattershot is the Promethean equivalent of a shotgun. It fires faster than the shotgun but deals slightly less damage per shot. Despite this, a single shot from a knight up to 1 meter away from you will kill you. Therefore, you should always engage enemies wielding scattershots from a distance. When you use the scattershot, it does not deal nearly enough damage to combat a knight, so it is a relatively useless weapon.
Suppressor: The suppressor is a fast firing automatic rifle with very low accuracy. Due to its low accuracy, you need to get up close to use it. Because many crawlers and knights wield suppressors, you will always have access to one when fighting Prometheans. Therefore, you should use the suppressor to kill knights when you do not have access to a better weapon (such as a plasma pistol, SAW, or binary rifle).

Last Updated: December 13, 2012 at 20:14
Contact me at HaloReachWalkthrough@hotmail.com

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