fuel rod cannon

How to improve the Jiralhanae of Halo 3

I’m pretty sure less than three people know about this blog’s existence. They shouldn’t be surprised that I’m a fucking nerd. However I’m a nerd for more than just reading >:D.

The brutes in Halo 3 were completely bad-asses, and a huge improvement from 2 in terms of how well-equipped they were, and how much thought went into them. This is just my observations on how they could’ve been a bit better, even though they were already good.

1: More standard weapon outfit
In the first Halo game, the elites used only three weapons, the Plasma Rifle, Needler, and Energy Sword, two of which were used exclusively by them. In the sequel, they had two extras, Carbine and Beam Rifle, meaning they had five. Overall the fighting style of the elites came across as skill-based and potent, using strong technical weapons that required a strong mind as well as a strong body.

The brutes in Halo 3 used… too many. If they had used their own exclusive weapons, i.e. the bayonetted fully-automatic machine gun with spikes (Spiker), the one-handed shotgun (Mauler), the grenade launcher with bladed hilt (Brute-Shot) and futuristic Warhammer of bad-assery (Gravity Hammer), they would’ve had a more unique style. These weapons are savage and brutal, equipped with crude and cruel ways of killing, using explosive or spiked rounds, or having blades attached to make melee more devastating (The Spiker, Mauler, and Brute Shot each had this). Using these weapons would’ve given the brutes a real unique battle strategy of being reckless and violent, which was the original concept for them in Halo 3.

But they use more weapons, which takes away from the savagery of their exclusives (they barely even use Maulers). Carbine, Plasma Rifle, detached Plasma Turret, and fuel rod cannon. It makes them have less of a unity during encounters. Fuel rod was unnecessary, as the brutes already have access to powerful explosives. And they should never have touched plasma since their armour is weak to plasma, and plasma was known quite famously to be used by the elites (and if they had to use plasma technology with wraiths and prowlers, maybe colour them Red like in Halo Wars 2 to add more variety? I know Halo Wars 2 is much newer than Halo 3, but the idea of red plasma came about in Halo 2, as it was USED BY THE BRUTES FOR THE SAME REASON). Even though the carbine doesn’t suit the brutes as it requires patience to use effectively, maybe they still should’ve kept those weapons to make them more difficult to defeat, like in Crow’s Nest.

But otherwise, it appears using the brutes using the other weapons took away from their uniqueness. It would’ve been a great contrast between them and the elites, if they had these different battle styles.

2. Difficulty
Unless the player has the difficulty set to legendary, brutes are usually push-overs. Maybe because since they have so many weapons at their disposal, it was harder for the level designers to know what types of enemies to encounter at each firefight. I’ll quickly list ways they could’ve been more intimidating to face.

Make them more melee-proficient. One hit usually kills a brute without armour, and sometimes it’s a 2HKO with shields up. This wouldn’t be a problem if the brutes punched back harder, or if they didn’t stagger when they were punched by foes. Maybe incorporate both? They are brutes, after all. 

Change power armour. As amazing as it looked, it wasn’t very useful when considering that it couldn’t recharge. ODST was weird as the armour had the electric animation when being shot, same as Elite and Spartan armour, but it didn’t restore itself because it was power armour. Maybe make the armour part of their art design and never make it striped away (please, naked brutes are bad) and give them proper shields over the top, like weaker versions of the chieftains’ shields.

Change berserk. Angry brutes were of no concern if the player had a battle rifle, magnum, or any weapon with decent accuracy, as their power armour had already been knocked out. Keep it the same as Halo 2, meaning that they become enraged when their comrad dies. This would be great as it would add to the idea of the brutes fighting in packs. But since this makes shielded brutes a possibility, maybe make them do it less often, so the playing field doesn’t become too uneven.

3. Power Armour
As I talked about before, Power armour was only kind of useful. It mostly looked cool (except the green one). The only real adjustment to its design I would suggest would be to make it seem a bit… less. Less technologically advanced, more crude, adding to the idea of them being violent and unintelligent savages. (This is a preference of mine)

4. Combat against elites
It’s not easy to compare the brutes to the elites because you barely see elites. Remember the part in Covenant when the elites join forces with the Master Chief and help him disable the final barrier tower? More firefights like that would’ve been nice, and it would’ve also helped the story to remind the player of the elite-human alliance. If it wasn’t for the arbiter, it would probably be forgotten. 

The ark would’ve been a good opportunity for this to happen, after the scarab is defeated. I’ve also thought that maybe (and I say maybe) it would’ve been cool if storming the citadel on Covenant went for longer, and then killing truth would happen in another mission after that, before Cortana. And this new mission would see the player by the sides of elites and Arbiter the whole time, fighting flood and brutes on the way to the prophet.

I know this could go disastrously, as it might stifle the tension that’s been built up since The Ark and Johnson’s capture, but if truth be told, this idea also comes from my own personal agenda to wish for longer Halo Campaigns.

Either way, more encounters with the elites would have been great as it would help show the brutes uniqueness.

So remember that one time, when an already-injured Kelly-087 took several direct blasts from a Hunter pair’s fuel rod cannons in order to protect Doctor Halsey and the rest of the UNSC personnel that were with her and the other Spartans?

“Kelly moved before anyone; she was a blur of motion and stepped in front of Dr. Halsey…The blinding bright-green fuel rods struck the Spartans’ shields and splashed over their chests.”

And then remember how John-117 - instead of readying his own weapon and returning fire, regrouping his team, or moving to protect the the two most strategically important people in their party - put himself in a completely prone and vulnerable position (while also having no shields left), in order to protect his best friend?

“Kelly lay at his feet. Her armor smouldered and hydrostatic gel boiled from the emergency release vent along her left side. A thousand more shots rang out from the gallery, and John instinctively crouched to cover his fallen comrade. He braced for the inevitable burning energy impact.”

Because I do.

“He had to get her to safety.”

…I think about this a lot.