STORY MISSION 17: Exclusion Zone
Recommended Lv: 15
Objective: Infiltrate the cabal bunker
Okay people, time for a new planet and by now we all know what that means. Time to get us some wheels.... or anti-grav coils...or whatever. Hoof it along the paths of the open world and red landscape, following our friendly compass marker.
A whole new faction of enemies awaits us on this planet and you will most likely run into some of them shortly. However, the coast will be strangely clear as you approach the bunker (unless you went looking for trouble first). Walk into the entrance and rub your ghost against the doors until progress happens.
Objective: Hack cabal system
Inside the bunker will also be vacant. Curiouser and curiouser. Follow the marker to the nearby console and hack into it. Guess what? All hell is about to break loose.
Objective: Repel cabal assault
As your ghost umms and ahhhs over the console, a nearby set of blast doors will slowly open. This will reveal your new enemy faction, the Cabal.
New enemy: Legionary (cabal)
Weak spot: Head
Legionaries are the shock troops of the Cabal forces. Fitted with jet-packs and touting a physique reminiscent of Marcus Fenix from the Gears of War universe. These enemies are quite proficient at melee and ranged attacks and will move quickly to take cover and flank you with their aerial acrobatics (sometimes hilariously flying into the sky box or slamming into the ground if you take them out in midair).
Targeted head shots will allow you to waste them quickly and conserve ammo (which can be a real concern if you enter this point in the story while under-leveled as I did). Melee will still work (taking two or three hits on an equivalent level enemy), but don't expect it to be as effective as usual.
New enemy: Phalanx (cabal)
Weak spot: Head
Shields are a new thing to deal with and can pose an interesting challenge for players who enjoy spray and pray over precision shooting. To be able to shoot a phalanx, you first need to aim at it's gun hand (they wield a pistol one handed and shoot around their shield as they advance). After a set amount of damage is taken by the hand, the Phalanx will recoil and be temporarily stunned.
This is the opportunity for the player to put a full magazine into the cranium of the Phalanx. Melee is generally pointless (except for back attacks) as anything but a direct back attack will be intercepted by the shield and most likely followed by a damaging shield bash. A well thrown grenade or special can also be used to deal with these persistent enemies.
New enemy: Centurion (cabal)
Weak spot: Head
Ah, here's one of the real threats of the cabal forces. Centurions are fitted with a regenerating shield, nasty weaponry (usually a rocket or grenade launcher). Their melee strikes are fast, dealing significant damage and bringing them down without focused fire is damn near impossible. They have jet-packs just like a legionary and as such will change position quickly in an attempt to disorient the player and flank them at the same time.
Similar to fallen Captains, dealing with the shield is the most annoying part of killing these enemies. Smart players will use grenades to quickly remove the shield and then follow that up with a barrage of head shots. Abilities work well also. Use your powerful weapons and powers to bring these enemies to heel.
Two waves of cabal forces are on their way, arriving via drop ship. The initial wave consists of several legionaries and multiple phalanx troops (I want to say phalanges, but am unsure if that is the correct term for multiple when not related to medicine. Ah, the English language is a complex mistress at times). The second wave contains more legionaries, multiple phalanx and a centurion.
Treat him as a you would a powerful fallen Captain. Either taking him out fast or killing off his forces, leaving him alone and you able to focus all your attention on him. After the final body hits the martian soil, your vehicle up-link will be enabled and a new objective will show itself.
Objective: Find the gate
A decent length trip across the open world lies in wait for us here. Mount your sparrow and go to it brave guardians. After a little while you will enter a darkness zone, so make sure to make the usual mental note about re-spawning and continue onwards. Shortly afterwards as you scream down the ravine you will encounter a small force of Legionaries and multiple phalanx and a new objective.
Objective: Scan cabal system
As you approach the camp housing your objective, another force will be waiting. Large numbers of Legionaries along with several Phalanx will be spread around the camp and will converge on you once you enter. The terminal you are looking for is at the rear of the camp (of course), so you need to plow your way through the guards to reach it. Once you do reach the console and use your ghost to hack it, enemy reinforcement will arrive (on queue as usual) to make life difficult.
New enemy: Psion (cabal)
Weak spot: Head
Psions are similar to dreg and acolytes in strategy. They are seek cover quickly and will attempt to chip away at the player's health and prevent them from healing. The good thing about them is that they have low health totals and are very susceptible to head shots. One good head shot can kill them (if the weapon is decent). They do occasionally use a psychic wave attack which can do fair damage but normally pose little threat and are more of an annoyance. A well thrown grenade or melee attack can be used to deal with them quickly and efficiently.
As you deal with the swarm of new enemies, a yellow health bar centurion Bracus Tho'ourg will show up and make things a little more dicey.
Objective: Steal an access key
When he appears, use your most damaging weaponry and abilities to bring him down and also bring an end to the battle. Luckily for us, he was carrying the access key our guardian needs.
Objective: Access survey post
A short over world trip awaits, ending at a fortified post with a huge vex gate structure nearby. The console you need to access is in one of the towers, but the forces stationed here will do anything they can to stop you. Multiple Phalanx and legionaries will open fire when you approach. After the forces you have already faced in this mission, this should just be a mop up for you. Go to work and once done, interact with the console and the mission will terminate.