Halo: Reach Defiant Pack
Why we’re even bothering telling you what to think is beyond us. If you’re one of the elite group of Halo Reach players then you’ll already own the latest Defiant map pack. In fact, chances are, you were one of the many forum posters who were struggling with release day server blues or having your download corrupted by some unexplained anomaly. So, if you’re still reading then we’ll assume that you’re wary of the new maps and want to be sure of your purchase before committing yourself. Well done you.
For 800 MS Points you’ll get three new maps, two for standard multiplayer modes and an additional Firefight map. This is where the bad news comes in, since what equates to roughly six quid for three maps does not seem to be fair, especially if – like us – you’re not too keen on Firefight and would much prefer to get your Slayer on. However, we look at it in a different light – if you’re still playing Halo: Reach, or looking for a reason to return, 800 MS Points is a drop in the ocean for the amount of hours playtime you’ll get out of this small selection of maps.
Starting with the best, then: Condemned is a medium scale map with a central combat zone and interconnected corridors and pathways. It’s possible to navigate the outlaying routes to flank or assault an organised team, but for the most part combat on this map will occur in the low-gravity central room. This room is multi-tiered with a centrifuge in the middle, while those able to avoid the shower of bullets will find a rocket launcher quietly on top – a fitting reward to rain hell from an elevated position. There’s little opportunity for personal preference here, with snipers only able to make use of the upper floors looking into the central hall. Besides this, Condemned is an intense, action-packed map that demonstrates Halo’s multiplayer at its best.
The next map, Highlands, is a very large, wide, open arena. This map is symmetrical in design, with two bases connected by routes on either side – both with passages leading under and over. The open expanse in the centre – though littered with rocks and cover – is deadly to most navigating it, with snipers frequently scoring big on this map. Vehicles assist travelling through no man’s land with relative ease, while a two-way teleportation system helps quickly travel the huge gap in the middle. The Spartan Laser even makes an appearance on one of the elevated platforms, a reward for those able to hunker down and defend an area.
The additional Firefight map adds a little more verticality to usual proceedings, and will require a great deal of teamwork before successfully combating the endless waves. It is hard to judge a Firefight map, however, since AI enemies will navigate it in a far more predictable fashion. It is, however, a great addition for those who loved the wave attack mode.
One thing these maps prove is the consistent quality of Halo’s multiplayer maps. Except, this time, it’s not Bungie in charge but a mixture of devs who, with past Halo multiplayer experience and their keenness in taking control of Halo, have shown their ability to craft maps perfectly suited to the standard of Halo.