Game Review: Halo Reach Noble Map Pack
Genre: First Person Shooter
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M for Mature
Website: Official Website
You can’t get enough of Halo: Reach, can you? Of course you can’t. Bungie‘s latest installment in the beloved sci-fi shooting series has been around for about 3 months and people just keep playing it non-stop and asking for more. Well, the wait is over, as the first batch of DLC just got released in the form of the Noble Map Pack; three new and cleverly designed maps to keep you from spending time with your family this holiday season.
Upon downloading the DLC, you’ll get three maps; Tempest, Anchor 9 and Breakpoint, each one with unique virtues that set them apart from the rest and work really well in some particular game modes. These three maps seem to be the best the game has to offer so far, as Bungie clearly spent a lot of effort in making this downloadable content worth your time and money.
Let’s start with the biggest one, Breakpoint. It’s so big, it could feel rather awkward on your normal Slayer match, but given its asymmetrical layout as well as an abundance of a wide array of vehicles, it feels right at home with Big Team Battle and objective-based game modes (especially Invasion, which literally screams to be played on this map). Considering the dimensions of the map, a healthy dose of communication with your teammates will be required in order to win, as well as a proper use of the vehicles at hand, which will clearly give tactical advantage to the team that use them best. In addition, there are Rocket Launchers, Spartan Lasers and Sniper Rifles, so even a mighty Banshee or Wraith is quite vulnerable if not used right.
Anchor 9 on the other hand, is a beautiful, detailed and completely crazy Slayer-friendly map. This UNSC hangar bay surrounded by both human and Covenant forces fighting the hell out of each other, is pretty small, symmetrical and it offers some kick-ass space combat. Matches in Anchor 9 are frenzy to say the least; the stage forces you to start shooting almost as soon as you spawn, but still requires a fair amount of strategy from players in order to make good use of the tunnels, the open center area and the aforementioned space area to either ambush your enemies, protect a flag or to get stronger weapons. As you might imagine, this map is ideal for Free-for-all, Slayer, Team Slayer and to a lesser extent; Capture the Flag.
The last of the bunch, a valley surrounded by long forgotten Forerunner structures called Tempest, is the one I liked the least, but it’s still an interesting, wide-open and symmetrical map that’s best suited for team-based combat and sniper mayhem. It takes place in an open area with a beach, some caves, a downed Longsword and some mancannons that really enhance the sense of uneasiness inherent in the way you can be ambushed, or how the enemy team could approach a flag, or just how your head could be blown off by a skilled sniper. Bearing some resemblance to Relic, this map is just perfect for Free for All, Team Slayer, Big Team Battle and Sniper, with Capture the Flag being the flagship game mode of Tempest.
These maps are nothing short of amazing. They were designed to be competitive, to force you to communicate with your teammates, to think about your course of action if you are to succeed, and above all, they’re there to be fun, and that’s their biggest achievement. In addition, they are absolutely gorgeous, and in my experience, they ran as smoothly as they possibly could. Perhaps the only minor issue I had was that the maps do feel like they were designed to be played on very specific scenarios, but hey, even when in not-so-ideal modes (like playing Team Slayer on Breakpoint) they are still insanely fun.
Julian’s Final Say: Overall, Halo: Reach’s Noble Map Pack is an amazing addition to an already outstanding game. Trust me, it’s worth every single Microsoft Point.
- Those are gorgeous maps, featuring areas not found anywhere else in the game.
- Breakpoint is for Invasion lovers whereas Anchor 9 is for those who like it close and personal. Tempest is a level in between, and a perfect map for Forge enthusiasts.
- This DLC includes 7 new achievements worth 250GP. Some of them are really fun to unlock, like “Totally Worth it” and “Poppin’ & Lockin“.