Easy Difficulty Guide: Sublevel 7
Slide jumps galore. There's really not much to say about it, except make sure you know which hallways to go down and where to go. Make sure you use pistol to kill the grunts/jackals and save your SMG ammo. From there it's all movement based. When you come to the room with a fusion coil on the ground about a minute and 20 seconds into the level, several things can happen:
1. A brute will come out and stop.
2: A brute will come out and not stop.
3: Jackals will come out.
It really doesn't matter which of these happens, but you can handle it multiple ways. One way is to throw a frag into the hallway they come out of, or pick up a plasma pistol from earlier and use it on the brute, and jump over the jackals if they're what comes out. If the fusion coil is on top of the boxes in the next room, you can shoot it but it isn't necessary, all it does is clear out some of the grunts. Use your plasma pistol or a timed jump to get around the brute that likes to get in the way, and walk to the button to head to the next sublevel. If you're on MCC, this is where the first split occurs. A good split time to start off with would be about 1:45-1:50, but the split can go as low as 1:38-1:40.
Before you drop down to sublevel 8, I suggest making sure have your SMG out. Shoot the drones as you drop down so that they don't get in your way and you can get a big slide jump. Don't worry if you don't get the slide jump, but it can save a couple seconds. Turn on your VISR either before or after you've dropped down. If you don't get the slide, swap your non-SMG weapon for the carbine along the way, and use it on the stalker brutes. They drop fire bomb grenades which can be very useful. Again, it's all about walking and making sure a brute doesn't hit you backwards.
After you leave the dark area where the stalker brutes were, you should make sure you're killing as much as you can along the way, and it's especially critical that you kill the brutes in each room. If you don't, it can cause the marine that follows you to get held back, and he's necessary for entering sublevel 9 as quickly as possible. Carbine and any grenades you have are effective at killing them. The grunts can be killed easily with headshots from the carbine, and since you have so much ammo from it, there's no reason not to kill them. This is the room where the second split occurs if you're playing on MCC.
There is something of a strategy to making sure you get the big slide jump when you drop down here. Since there are no drones immediately here to mess up your auto-aim or get in the way, you can get the slide significantly easier. Hold forward so that you walk down, and release the analog when you fall. It's easier said than done, but mess around with it. It gets you right onto the slant to hit the slide jump reliably.
You don't need to kill anything in the frozen area here. If you have all of the audio logs, then the drones won't spawn, but they don't lose any time if they do spawn. Walk forward, perform slide jumps normally. The third split occurs when you round the corner where the brutes are. More slide jumps as you make your way to the Dare door fight.
Dare Door Fight: This fight can be extremely annoying, but it's a lot simpler if you use pure SMG strats.
Plasma Variation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ANcQjBeX0
No Nade Variation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpQ9q3zjqV4
This fight is why it was mentioned earlier that you should save your SMG ammo. Essentially, you enter the room, and sit back and SMG the drones as much as you can. Sitting in the back causes the AI to run back towards you and makes the fight much more manageable in general. Then, once they're dead, focus on the brute. He can spawn in a couple different spots, but don't worry about that, it's easy to adjust to them with practice. You should get through an entire clip of SMG ammo, and work your way through most of a second clip, then plasma grenade the brute or either assassinate him or carbine him. If you leave a drone alive, try to SMG him as quickly as possible. The fourth split occurs as you approach the door that opens once the fight is complete.
After you rescue Dare and skip through a cutscene, it's a lot more walking and slide jumps and just general knowledge about where to go. You will hit a split as you approach the door where you drop down and get hurt and receive a health pack. From here, it's more walking forward until we get to the first real trick of the game; Drone Skip:
Drone Skip: Method 1 (Slow but consistent): You have multiple ways of doing this. The easiest way is to pick up a brute shot and beam rifle as you walk towards the two plasma batteries in the big Hive area. This is where you normally would go up an elevator. Jump on top of the plasma battery and shoot it when the beam rifle and jump up to the next highest platform. From here, you stand on top of the little pad thing and wait for your health to return to normal. A well-timed grenade/brute shot jump can get you up on top of the area and you skip the elevator, which causes you to skip the trigger that spawns all of the drones in this area.
Method 2: (Fast but less consistent): The second method involves pushing the plasma battery on the right as you walk across the bridge in front of the left plasma battery, and then you jump on top of the back one and bash it and jump to the highest level, skipping the platform where you had to wait for your health to return. It's a lot harder, but the best advice is to press the jump button as soon as you have fully pressed the bash button. There should be a half second delay between the bash and jump. If you're using bumper jumper, it's a lot easier to tell because the jump and bash buttons are both the LB and RB buttons respectively, and you can just go by jumping pretty much right as or a hair after you hear the click of the bash bumper.
Method 3: (Really fast but really inconsistent): For the final method, there really is no advice other than watch the video and try to replicate it. It is really inconsistent and doesn't save that much time.
If you're newer to the level and just want to get a time, don't worry about the skip and just focus on getting a time and go up the elevator. You can still get really solid times without it.
After you've completed the skip, it's more walking now, but with a twist. It's little bit faster to use the brute shot to drop down and jump back up as seen in the video.
After you've made it past the Hive room, you then have to kill two brutes and a brute chieftain that block your way from progressing. Kill the first brute on the left with a beam rifle after you've gotten a bit closer, and if you can, headshot the brute on the right then deal with the chieftain, or deal with the chieftain and then the brute on the right. Making it so that the chieftain comes at you and swings in a way that you can dodge him and assassinate him is difficult, but play around with this area until you can do it. There's no real advice for it other than practice. Pick up his gravity hammer and use it to boost through the hallway. Don't use it too much, because it comes in handy multiple times later.
For the final fight, you will first have to kill three jetpack brutes above the door you came into; the door that the three brutes from before were trying to break into. Use well-timed beam rifle shots to hit multiple at once, and once they're dead, go focus on the phantom to the side where the right-side brute from earlier was because it is the phantom that drops off it's enemies the soonest. Use grenades if you have any to deal with the grunts and grav hammer the brute that drops onto the boxes, or use grav hammer swings to kill the brute first and then the grunts, then focus on the enemies from the other phantom which will be jackals and a brute by, again, using your gravity hammer. It also works to use your beam rifle on the brute that the jackal phantom drops so that you can save a swing for later.
Drop down, don't alert any drones, and walk to the door where you have to wait for Dare and Buck's dialogue before it opens, then turn around and push the Engineer to the door and push Dare and Buck if you have to. Their AI can mess things up here, but this is a reliable way of not having that happen.
After their dialogue ends and the door opens, use your gravity hammer once or twice to boost up the ramp, and again when the next set of doors open that open up to the final room of the level. Before entering the elevator, turn around and face it as you grav hammer boost into it if you have any grav hammer ammo left. This will cause the Engineer to teleport into the elevator to end the level quickly.