Long Night of Solace
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Long Night of Solace is the first level in the Halo series to feature ship-to-ship combat in space, through the use of the YSS-1000 Prototype Anti-Ship Spaceplane Starfighter, better known as the Sabre, in two sections of the overall level. The level itself is split into numerous locations as a result: The Beachhead & Sabre Facility, The Defense of Anchor 9, The Exterior Assault on the Corvette, and The Infiltration of the Corvette. The level is also infamous for the fact that you cannot skip the majority of the in-game cutscenes; The landing on the Beach, Sabre Takeoff, Docking at Anchor 9 and Approach to the Corvette cutscenes cannot be skipped, however all other cutscenes in the level can be skipped through the standard A > Y button combination.
The level itself is mostly linear, requiring you to play through the objectives in the standard order with no deviation. The only slight deviation from this is during the Sabre sections; objectives progress based on the number of enemies killed, and the playspace is confined to a roughly box-shaped area that encompasses Anchor 9, the nearby ship docking stations, and a large portion of empty space around the area.
Easy and Legendary
Long Night of Solace is one of the harder levels of the Reach campaign, noticeably more so on Legendary than Easy. General combat is the same across both difficulties, but the inclusion of ship-to-ship combat adds a new factor of difficulty, primarily in the case of Legendary. Seraphs are one of the main threats on Legendary; they are fast, will often attempt to flank you and get behind you, and will often constantly dog you if ignored. As a result, you may find yourself going from full shields in the Sabre, to being dead in a matter of seconds.
The Corvette's interior also presents several hurdles on Legendary; the often tight corridors and lack of cover can lead to many early deaths or close encounters. The hangar also presents a major challenge on Legendary in that the player needs to defeat numerous initial enemies on both visits, and several waves of enemies after returning from the Corvette's Bridge. The first visit mainly has Ultra Grunts and Elite Rangers (who wield Focus Rifles on Legendary), and a lone Engineer that flies around the top of the room constantly giving overshields to its allies. The return visit has numerous Grunts and Jackals and an Elite assaulting Jorge, and then leads to 5 separate groups of enemies; a squad of 4 Jackals and 2 Jackal Marksmen, a squad of Grunts and an Elite, a large squad of Grunts, 2 high ranking Elites, and 3 (4 on Legendary) Ultra Elites wielding powerful weapons (Plasma Repeater, Dual Plasma Rifles, Plasma Launcher, and Energy Sword (Legendary only). Once the final Ultras are taken care of, Jorge asks the player to come to his position and the level finishes.
The Main Objectives
Within the levels 4 main locations, the players main objectives involve:
- Moving up the Beach and entering the Sabre Facility,
- Defending Anchor 9 from the approaching Covenant assault forces,
- Taking out the Corvettes engines and Seraph escorts,
- Infiltrating the Corvette and disabling the Hangar's shields,
- Assaulting the Corvette's bridge and setting it on a refueling course for the Covenant Super-Carrier, Long Night of Solace, and
- Defending the Pelican's Slipspace Bomb from attacking Covenant
The Beachhead & Sabre Facility
This level begins at the far side of the Beach, but can be sped up considerably with a challenging enemy combat trigger skip that requires you to very quickly kill an Elite Ultra that spawns from a Covenant Drop Pod. When you can see the first group of grunts, scope in with your Magnum and try to find a grunt with a Plasma Pistol. Make sure the grunt doesn't have a Needler though, as they're capable of spawning with a Needler as well. As soon as you're sure the grunt has a Plasma Pistol, take him out and swap out your Assault Rifle for the Plasma Pistol. You need to keep your Magnum to ensure you can take out the Elite Ultra further up on the Beach. Immediately head up the Beach to the Sabre Facility entrance where the Elite Ultra's Drop Pod spawns. If you're quick, you should be only a few meters from the Drop Pod when it lands. When you hear the telltale sound of the Drop Pod coming down to land, begin charging your Plasma Pistol. When it lands, wait for the Drop Pod's hatch to blow off, and as soon as you can see the Elite Ultra in his drop pod, release your overcharge and pull out your Magnum. You may need to fire a second earlier to accommodate for the travel time of the overcharged shot. Shoot him in the head immediately, before he can land on the Beach and begin to move. If done correctly, the Ultra will die before he causes the other enemies to be included in the normal trigger for opening the Sabre Facility door and the door to the Facility will open early. When moving through the Facility, be sure to grab both a DMR and the Energy Sword off the dead Elite; both of which are necessary later in the level.
Difficulty notes: On Easy, the Beach skip is relatively simple. On Legendary however, you may need to kamikaze the Beach due to the increased number of enemies, as well as the fact that you'll die much more quickly, making the skip itself much harder purely because you're likely to die before even getting to the far end of the Beach.
The Defense of Anchor 9
On Easy you'll need to follow the Sabre flight tutorial prompts to actually get the rest of the mission underway. On Legendary you don't need to worry about it.
The enemies in this section all spawn on the far side of the area, facing Anchor 9. When the first wave of Banshees are about to spawn, try and face them on their side, rather than head on. A good point of reference is to be about 500-600 meters from the objective marker for the best chance of taking them down one after the other. This in-turn gives you the best chance of killing all of them right when they spawn. For the second wave of Seraphs, just hit them wit sustained cannon fire until they lose their shields and then hit them with your missiles. When the final wave spawns (Banshees and Seraphs, later Phantoms), Anchor 9 will also have restored its defensive turrets and will lend support. Ignore the Seraphs at first and try to hit as many Banshees as possible when they first spawn. Once the banshees have dispersed, begin to target the closest ships to you, or alternatively, target any enemies Anchor 9 is attacking, specifically Seraphs. Anchor 9 does a very good job at taking down their shields, leaving them open for easy missile kills.
When you're notified of approaching Phantoms (based on enemies destroyed), disregard the other enemies, switch to your missiles, and look towards the new objective markers. Each Phantom takes a few missile barrages to destroy. Once all 6 are destroyed, the remaining enemies will retreat, however if you destroy them before they do so you can save a few seconds.
Difficulty notes: The basic approach to this section is the same for both Easy and Legendary, but you'll face much more resistance on Legendary and will have a harder time outmaneuvering enemies.
The Exterior Assault on the Corvette
After the cutscene, immediately boost down towards the Corvette. On your way down, switch to your Missiles and take out one of the Corvette's engines, preferably the one closest to you. When you're close to the Corvette, aim further down so that you'll fly directly under the ship and if you look up, you'll see many Banshees attached to the bottom of the Corvette. Try and take as many down as you can before they detach from the Corvette and disperse. After the Banshees are dealt with turn around and head for the stern (rear) of the Corvette and take out the remaining engines as quickly as you can. When they've been destroyed, numerous Seraphs will jump in to assist the Corvette. A good idea is to co-ordinate your fire with the UNSC Savannah's; the Savannah's main cannons do a very good job of tracking the Seraph's and taking down their shields in a very short amount of time, so with co-ordinated cannon/missile fire you can easily take out Seraphs one after the other. Once they're all destroyed, approach on the Corvette's top-side landing pad to continue the mission.
Difficulty notes: On Easy this section's relatively tame, and the only real problem you may face is from the Corvette's plasma torpedoes. On Legendary the same applies, however they'll decimate your shields in 2-3 shots, and kill you in another 2-3. The Seraphs are also a concern and co-ordinating with the Savannah to destroy them is crucial; you don't want to have 3 Seraphs targeting you when the Savannah's on the opposite side of the area.
The Infiltration of the Corvette
After you've landed, pull out your Energy Sword and sprint for the blue shield. Make sure not to jump, as you'll be in the air for quite some time due to the lack of gravity. Stop sprinting right before you fall into the shield and look down. You should see a Elite Ranger preparing to jump up to the surface to the Sabres. If you time it right, you can hit him with your Energy Sword on your way down AND land on the top level of the room, allowing easy kills on the other three Ranger Elites in the Comms Room. When you enter the Hangar, take out the Engineer that is flying around as soon as you can with your DMR, otherwise you'll have to keep attacking overshielded enemies, while sustaining heavy damage. The most efficient way to take care of the enemies in the room is with melees (on easy), as 1-2 hits will kill a grunt, and a single sword swipe will kill an Elite. Also keep in mind that jumping is detrimental still due to the lack of gravity, and shooting the grunts is slow due to their helmets. There should be one elite that has a Needle Rifle instead of a Plasma Repeater that hangs around near the rear of the room and the Hangar's Shield Control button. After you've killed all the enemies immediately jump up to the button before the gravity turns back on and trigger it to progress to the next part of the mission.
The next part of this level is made up of several corridors and enemies that lead to the Bridge, however many of the enemies on the way don't need to be killed. After the cutscene, there are three doors that will open with numerous grunts and 2 Elites inside. Try and kill at least 2 Grunts and 1 Elite on your way past, as they add to the total number of enemies when you come back later. Afterwards just keep heading through to the Bridge, ignoring enemies on your way. Once you reach the Bridge, you will notice a large spherical projection in the center of the room and a Spec Ops Elite and maybe a Grunt in front of it. Depending on enemy placement, you can safely assassinate every enemy in the room, otherwise you will have to kill them all normally. You also have to kill every enemy in this room, even the Golden Ranger BoB if he spawns, as he will usually not despawn like normal BoBs. Prioritise the Spec Op Elites first, then the Elite General, and finally the Grunts. Once everyone's dead, trigger the refueling sequence and make your way back to the Hangar. You'll see a lot of enemies on your way back but you don't need to kill them. Once you kill the enemies in the Hangar, Jorge will say that it was "good of you to come", and the next 5 waves of enemies will start spawning in roughly 5-10 seconds from this point. Behind the Pelican there are several crates of ammo, including Rockets, a Sniper Rifle, and a DMR which can help out considerably. Starting from the lower side of the room by the 3 doors, 4 Shielded Jackals will spawn, with 2 Jackal Marksmen spawning on the platform above, followed by a group of Grunts and an Elite from the opposite side of the room on the lower floor, then a large number of Grunts (usually 6) from the corridor that leads to the Comms Room, then 2 Elites from the platform above, and finally 3-4 Elite Ultras on the opposite side of the room where the Hangar Shield controls where. When all the enemies are dead, Jorge will ask you to come to his position, and the level will end at this point.
Difficulty notes: This final section has the largest number of differences between Easy and Legendary. On Easy, the majority of the fights are straightforward, and you can more-or-less just run through everything, and kill everything with relative ease. On Legendary however, the approach you need to take changes drastically:
- Jumping down headfirst into the Comms Room is likely to get you killed. Instead wait for 1-2 Rangers to jump up and kill them when they're still airborne as they can't attack, then drop damn and take out the stragglers.
- The Hangar is made considerably harder with the fact that two of the Ranger Elites have Focus Rifles, so your best bet is to hide on the walkways that lead to the top floor as they offer sufficient cover. Be mindful of being flanked though as Grunts and even the occasional Elite will try and run up to your position.
- On your way to the Bridge you need to be much more careful, and you will likely want to kill everything in your way as quickly and efficiently as possible to avoid having more enemies to deal with on your way back.
- If you can stealthily kill the enemies on the Bridge, it is much better than attacking them head-on. The Elite General presents a major threat with his Concussion Rifle, so taking him out first may actually be preferable.
- Once back at the Hangar, avoid charging in and instead pick off Enemies from the sidelines. When the waves of enemies begin to spawn, it's highly recommended to use grenades and the Rockets to clear out the enemies faster, especially when it comes to the Elites.
- The final 4 Ultras present a major threat, however there's a way to kill them with relative ease. The Pelican's Gun in the Hangar can actually be used by crouching near the front right of the Pelican, holding your action button (RB, B etc) and moving back and forth along the side until you hop in. The only issue with this is that unless the Pelican's gun is shot off, it'll fill up your entire HUD. So you may need to toss a grenade or two at the Gun, and quickly get in in order to physically remove the Gun while you're still inside it. This won't stop you from getting back out however, but once it's gone, you can't re-enter it.
- Alternatively, consider using a Plasma Pistol and DMR/Needle Rifle combo to take out the Ultras, as it's easily one of your best options.