I recently got my hands on the new Defiant Map Pack for Halo: Reach. Last week I offered my first impressions of the three new maps after a couple days of playtime. Here is my review after I put a few more notches on my belt:
Highlands is a huge map that supports Big Team Battle, Team Objective and Team Slayer. Each base has a warthog nearby, with a couple mongoose and ghost locations. As I said before, the size of this map promotes sniping and the jetpack will put you in prime locations for doing so. There are a couple backdoor tunnels to safely circumvent the No-Man’s middle area and they are not often used. The Spartan Laser and Plasma Launcher make for some hilarious cross-map kills, but are otherwise unused in favor of the sniper and DMR. On Slayer-type games, you will be shamed by the amount of times you are headshot from some unknown location.
Headhunter is pretty fun here, since it tends to draw players closer to collect skulls. This is definitely a shooter’s map, so if you are good with the default DMR then you will find yourself at the top of the score list. I am told by the Forge veterans this map is difficult to work with, so if you enjoy custom mapping, keep that in mind. All in all, a very good-looking map that is destined to be the most popular of the Defiant pack.
Condemned is a midsize map that supports Free for All in addition to Team Objective and Team Slayer. This battle takes place in a space station, which means plenty of close combat. There is a very cool low-gravity area that often becomes the focal point of skirmishes. It seems like players are naturally drawn to the low-G area; battles will rarely ensue outside of here. A long sniper sight line extends through the low-G section, so keep that in mind when you are slowly floating upwards like a clay pigeon. In contrast to the Highlands, the space station is dimly lit in places making it ripe for assassinations.
The energy sword, my personal favorite, will always be in someone’s hands; unfortunately, carrying the sword puts you in the spotlight and draws players like a moth to open flame. The rocket launcher, combined with close quarters, makes for a lot of messy kills. I thought Crazy King was a great mode on this map, especially when the hill was in the low-G area. Action was easier to find on this map, so I preferred it over Highlands.
Unearthed is a firefight map that is home to the standard firefight modes is addition to Generator Defense. This map feels a lot bigger than other Firefight maps, especially since the waves drop off a good distance from home base. There is a very conveniently placed missile launcher warthog, which is always nice, but Unearthed doesn’t appear to be a Firefight revelation.
I was never really impressed with this map. Set in the desert, the scenery is bland compared to Highlands and Condemned. I wish the map pack had 3 multiplayer maps instead of 2 and 1 Firefight map. It would have been a good value to have the 3 multiplayer maps with a bonus Firefight map, but it seems a cheap to call a Firefight map a legitimate third map.
If you are thinking about buying the map pack, consider how much you play Firefight versus regular multiplayer. Defiant offers two new multiplayer maps and one Firefight map for 800 MSP; with only two new multiplayer maps, I think $10 is asking a little much.
Overall: 7 out of 10