What is battle engineering?
It’s when you take an existing battle and augment it’s forces, throw in various assets, and have optional support. You gain a lot of control over a situation with many options to choose from. It’s distinct from a megabattle in that it’s not always large scale. But is engaging.
What is a megabattle?
It’s when you take an existing battle and augment it’s forces tremendously, throw in various assets that drastically change the way the fight plays, have optional support, and the AI can become freeroaming in just about any given territory. Basically, it makes Firefight look like child’s play.
Territorial - AI are strictly limited to their spawn area though it is possible for them to lose this mindset to become freeroaming
Freeroaming - spared enemies head over to a specific area and can freely move around that terrain. It’s not true freeroaming (true freeroaming was when a Hunter or Elite berserks but that’s just gone now. Sword Elites are probably the only remnant of this behavior in Halo 4) but it comes very close.
> First of all, look at how much customization you had. And that’s just the setup work. Combat is even more varied.
> -Halo, rockslide megabattle. If you visited the area and then left it, the dropships would keep coming in and when you came back you had an army to fight. You could bring marines around and prepare for a swarming assault. You could have several Hog gunners. And you had the option of sniper marines.
> -T&R, dustbowl megabattle. Level design was just awesome. It was a time where camo really came in handy. This also has the most Grunts in the entire game.
> -T&R, ship boarding battle. The most interesting part about this battle is the varied encounters. You could have up to 10 Zealots on Legendary at the same time! It was extremely suicidal to fight them but it was nice knowing it was there. If you used camo, you could sneak around and stealthily kill as many as you could.
> -AotCR, cavern, spiral path, and twin bridges megabattles. Twin bridges is the mother of all AI collections as well as the largest massed battle in the entire Halo series. Also the largest allied support in CE.
> Halo 2:
> -Outskirts, IWHBYD fight. Thanks to the perma camo glitch, it was possible to collect marines and Hogs and even Ghosts and bring them to the fight location as well as weapons. You could rearrange crates to control enemy flow. And it was possible to trick the game into spawning more Elites without killing any of them. And after that was over, you could still get the marines to fight other enemies!
> -The Arbiter, Heretic horde. A little something I took the time do. I brought most of the Heretics from the hangar and afterward to the room where you can see the Heretic leader depart. It’s not normally intense but with the right skulls on, it can be. Also, you can witness the most terrifying Grunts in the entire series. The Grunts in Halo 2 lob grenades faster than they do in H3, Reach, or H4!
> -Great Journey, Elite army. While there is a lack of enemies, it’s made up for by a completely customizable army of Elite allies. And you can bring all sorts of toys and allies to this area for even more fun. Not to mention Johnson and Keyes can be brought in. And finally, betraying them. Have you ever been charged by 60 sword Elites? It’s -Yoink- scary!
> Halo 3:
> -Sierra 117, massed Grunts at the dam. The unique thing about this one is that it’s actually possible to stop Arby and Johnson from teleporting in and out and you can see the Phantoms die a scripted death (it’s not the Pelican that destroys them). Heck, you can even race against the Pelican to kill all the Grunts before it interferes.
> -Tsavo Highway, marine army. I haven’t tried it out but it’s certainly viable (1, 2, 3)
> -The Storm, AA gun megabattle. Here we can see how diminished these have become. Most of these enemies are strictly territorial.
> -The Covenant, marine collection at mission start. Getting marines out of Pelicans was something that became possible in Halo 2 but was more easier in Halo 3.
> -The Covenant, Covenant’s Last Stand. Something I came up with, I took the time to board all the vehicles and retrieve them not to mention bringing in and intercepting marine forces. And Elites. For a total of 41 AI.
> -ONI Alpha Site, holding the line. If you’ve watched DWTC (Different Way to Campaign) on HaloWaypoint’s channel, you’ll see what I mean.
> -Nightfall, two battles in one. If you skip the first area, they’ll move onto the next area. There’s not many enemies and combat is unpleasantly slow but at least it’s there. There’s some customization you can do with this (stockpiling weapons and AAs) but that’s about it. One of the reasons why I think it’s lacking is the skull options. Halo 2 had some interesting ones while Halo 3’s are more difficulty oriented.
Halo 4 is devoid of such battles. It relies more on individual superiority and this mindset is made apparent on all difficulties. I feel that battle engineering was one of the things that made Halo ‘Halo’. I expected at least Requiem to have it but enemies tend to deload or they are strictly territorial. Most levels were underwhelming.
<mark>But all hope is not lost. There’s a lot of potential in Spartan Ops.</mark>
On my first playthrough, I was pleasantly surprised at the sheer number of enemies before I realized most if not all of them had to be killed for more to spawn. Take note of T&R’s wave battle on the ship and the rockslide area on the second level. If you didn’t kill the enemies, more would be spawned. I think that’d be a lot better than what we’re being presented with, which is just predictable. When I heard about the 10 Hunters and 16 Zealots, I was very excited but I was let down when I had to kill all the enemies for more to spawn. Of course, that doesn’t mean this should always be the case. It would be terrible balancing to keep throwing enemies in every single level.
Also, such large battles shouldn’t be limited to Easy, which I have found to be the case in newer Halos due to how severe the other difficulties are.