- "Your enemies are as numerous as they are ferocious; their attacks are devastating. Survival is not guaranteed."
- — Description from Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2.
- "Fight against formidable foes that will truly test your skill and wits; this is the way Halo is meant to be played."
- — Description from Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach.
The symbol for the Heroic difficulty setting in the trilogy is represented with a shield that has the Marathon Logo encrusted into the center; over the shield are two UNSC Standard Issue Combat Knives crossed over each other. In Halo 3: ODST, it is represented by two M7S SMGs crossed over a shield with the Marathon symbol encrusted into the center.
Heroic pits you against the Covenant, who are now slightly smarter, and their weapons inflict more damage per hit than their Normal-level counterparts. Even the weakest of infantry, the Grunts, can withstand quite a few bullets before they go down. It is otherwise considered "Hard", in other games. That being said, Bungie has stated that Heroic difficulty is the "true Halo universe".
The following are a list of changes in the Heroic difficulty:
- Health meter is smaller. Hits do more damage.
- Shields are only 75% their "Normal" capacity.
- Increased Shields and/or armor for enemies.
- Many Minor Elites are replaced by Major Elites. Major Grunts are more frequent as well, along with other opponents.
- Enemies are smarter regarding tactical actions, and are thus harder to kill (ex. starting to hide behind barriers when their shields are down).
- Marines have reduced effectiveness and are weaker; their tactical intelligence has also been reduced.
- Ultra Elites and Ultra Grunts appear ever so often and for the Elites, they normally dual wield.
- Many more Jackal snipers are placed throughout levels, and in Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST, some of them have Beam Rifles instead of Carbines.
- More Covenant will be placed. In, for example, Floodgate in Halo 3, Combat Forms will not sneak up beside you, but on Heroic and Legendary, they will. Another is The Covenant, where on the rock where the lake is, a Shade will be up there. Another backup is The Ark, where you will encounter a Brute Stalker while going up the ramp to regroup with your allies.
- More damage will be given in.
All of these combine into a decent gameplay option for more experienced players, who find Normal less exciting, and Legendary too challenging. This difficulty may be deemed the most realistic by some players; however, this is not to be stated as a fact, due to each individual having one's own comfort zone regarding difficulty.
In Halo 3, Heroic was intended for those who have played the prior games and multiplayer, resulting in increased skill. This increase means that those who found Normal comfortable in Halo 2, will find Heroic just right for Halo 3, according to Frankie. Martin O'Donnell stated that, 'Normal is for beginners who are embarrassed to pick Easy. Heroic is what we intended.'
- Every difficulty shield icon has the Marathon symbol on it.
- Heroic difficulty is considered the "True Halo Universe" by most of the Bungie employees and creators, seeing that it mirrors reality of the Halo world in many ways.
- Unlike other difficulties, the combat is more realistic. The enemy AI is better on higher difficulties, yet at the same time, friendly intelligence falls as well (which could be considered unrealistic in a sense since Allies are already quite easy to kill).
- Most of the time, enemy ranks are usually higher.
- Heroic is a more popular difficulty level than others, because Easy and Normal are considered to be too easy, and Legendary is often considered too hard.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, Hunters can take up to two rockets each, or two Scorpion tank shells.
- Zealots can take up to three plasma pistol overcharges before dying.
- Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 4 keep track of whether you finished Heroic Campaign on Solo or Co-op.
- In Halo 3, you unlock Elite Flight armor for beating Campaign on Heroic difficulty.
- In Halo 3: ODST the Combat Knives on the difficulty shield icon are replaced by silenced SMGs.
- The French players of Halo often call it "crest mode"; in French, crest is translated as érétique and is a similar adjective to Heroic.
|Halo Games' Difficulty Levels|
|Easy | Normal | Heroic | Legendary|