The Noble Map Pack, the first piece of DLC for Bungie’s last Halo game released yesterday. But is it worth it?
In a word, yes. You’re paying $10 (800MSP) for three maps. While it’s a little more than I’d like to pay, it was the same deal for Halo 3’s map packs so I wasn’t really expecting a different price. For what it’s worth though, these are some strong offerings in their respective areas of focus. I’ll run down each of these maps individually from smallest to biggest.
First is Anchor 9, the smallest of the three by far. This fills the niche nicely of a small, symmetrical, indoor map. Anchor 9 takes place on a space station or a giant ship orbiting the Earth. The claustrophobic corridors and small hangar bay is perfect for small games. The map is symmetrical with a two-story base on each side so it’s ideal for competitive team based play, though free for all matches would also be fun and chaotic.
There is a one-way shield separating the indoor area from a small zero gravity area outside that overlooks the planet. The ledges are narrow here and there is a conveniently placed rocket launcher, creating a hectic battleground that results in plenty of hilarious misjudged jumps and suicides if you’re not careful.
Next is Tempest. This is the most versatile map, appearing in Team Slayer, Big Team Battle and various objective gametypes. This map is also symmetrical, with two bases lined by a beach and a cave system, which you can travel through to flank your opponents. The map has a similar wide open look as Forge World but it’s not a Forge World map, I assure you.
There are man-cannons in front of each base that leads directly to two heavy mounted guns in the middle of the map so expect these to be hot areas. There are also some light vehicles on this map such as the Mongoose and Warthog to get around quicker and makes this map great for team based objective gametypes. This is by far my favorite Big Team Battle map in Reach because it has vehicles on it but they do not dominate the playing field if you are on foot.
The last map is Breakpoint, a massive snow based map designed for large games. It’s my least favorite of the three but is still a good Big Team Battle map compared to the stock ones, which were horrible in my opinion except for Boneyard. The map is basically a huge ring with some side paths and buildings you can enter and is divided into two halves by a giant mountain spine, which you can walk up. You can pass through the rock with a vehicle via a large tunnel. This map is definitely vehicle oriented but can be countered by the large variety of power weapons to be found.
I should note that Breakpoint and Tempest can also be played in Invasion. This is great news for players who like this gametype as there were only a few stock maps available. Unfortunately, at the time of this review, I couldn’t even play these in matchmaking because according to Bungie’s playlists, Invasion won’t appear in the Noble Pack only playlist and those two maps will rarely come up in the regular Invasion playlist since everyone has to have it for it to appear. I’m sure this will balance out when enough people buy the map pack though.
If you’re a Halo fan, the Noble Map Pack is a no brainer. These maps are all good and add some variety since none are based off of the single player levels like the stock maps (minus Forge World). And for those who care, it also comes with seven achievements. On the other hand, I still feel $10 is a little too much to ask for three maps, especially if you’re a casual Halo player if there is such a thing. But the price is in line with the map packs for Halo 3 so it’s unrealistic to expect anything different.
This first piece of DLC for Halo Reach adds a bit of variety by presenting us with several solid maps that are a ton of fun to play.