No game franchise has been as dependable as the Halo series when it comes to top-notch downloadable content. Since additional maps were first released for Halo 2, these map packs have traditionally been a mandatory purchase on day one for Halo addicts. This will no doubt still be the case for the Defiant Map Package seeing as it is required for the complete Halo: Reach online multiplayer experience.
If you follow the development of the Halo franchise you know that Bungie Games is no longer in the driver’s seat. Developer Certain Affinity has taken the reins and is responsible for the defiant map package (still no word on possible online coupon – wink wink, nudge nudge). How do they stack up to the legendary Bungie? The answer is surprisingly well. Fans who are skeptical of the franchise’s future success will have some of their fears put to rest by this three map pack.
Highlands, the first of two regular maps included is a big open map perfect for vehicles. Similar to Halo 3’s Valhalla, Highlands is a perfect stage for intense capture the flag action as well as invasion games. The jet pack introduced in Reach certainly makes its presence felt here as it is not nearly as difficult to get to perfect sniper vantage points as it has been in previous games.
For players who feel more comfortable with close quarter combat, the Defiant Map Package includes Condemned. Used mostly for slayer matches, this smaller stage is made up of several small areas around a central core. With no places to hide, campers are out of luck. Especially fun on this map are the low gravity skirmishes that take place in the central core area.
Rounding out the trio is Unearthed. The least remarkable of the three, Unearthed is a firefight map that requires teamwork to stay alive. It is difficult to defend, but essentially is nothing but a rehash of earlier firefight maps bringing nothing new to the table.
There will no doubt be debate as to how these maps compare to previous releases. There is something about this offering that feels less polished than previous downloadable content for Halo. However, two of the three maps are just plain fun and will keep you playing multiplayer games for even longer than you already have.
Ty Cobb is an avid blogger, traveler, and video game addict. He loves music, art, people and how the three intermingle. He can be found on Twitter @bloggingcobb.