Co-Optimus - News - Halo: Reach Defiant Map Pack Impressions, Screenshots and Giveaway

Halo Reach

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Halo: Reach Defiant Map Pack Impressions, Screenshots and Giveaway
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Halo: Reach Defiant Map Pack Impressions, Screenshots and Giveaway

Halo: Reach came out way back in September of last year.  Since then it has seen numerous free updates that have balanced and tweaked the gameplay.  Map packs are a different story.  These cost money, and the going rate for the Halo franchise has been ten bucks for three maps.  The Noble Map Pack DLC came out near the end of last November, and sadly, no co-op-friendly Firefight maps were included.  Tomorrow, March 15th, marks the release of the Defiant Map Pack DLC, and this time, a brand-spanking-new Firefight map is part of the deal.  We got our hands on the new co-op map called Unearthed and here are our impressions on how it stacks up.  

Unearthed takes place at giant titanium mine.  There's at least one Warthog armed with a rocket launcher turret available.  It is very reminiscent of the Firefight map, Holdout.  Both slope downward toward a huge drop, and both have a large installation with buildings that you can't really snipe from (Return to battlefield? B-o-o-!). They even seem to share the same color palette.

After reacquainting myself with the menus I checked my level progression.  Funny.  I'm still a Warrant Officer Grade 3.  I thought that I would have leveled up by now... I started off my first round of Firefight the same way I start every Halo game after a long hiatus.  I attempted to look down my sights, and immediately threw a grenade.  Boom.  Shield down.  So far, so good. Matchmaking isn't enabled for the new maps yet, so I played local split-screen matches with my wife.  She's played every Halo from start to finish, so she knows what she's doing. (And no, she doesn't play that weak-a$$ easy mode.)

We tasted the sour grapes of total defeat after about five minutes, three of which were spent running from Hunters and screaming, "Oh god, oh god, why do we suck at this?"  We both remember Firefight being much easier.  Then I realized that Matchmaking Firefights have totally different presets than offline matches. To the game options!  Let's see here... Invulnerability, check.  300% damage, check.  Rockets, double check. Ah, yes. I remember now.  In the next battle we both immediately jetpack up into the air and puke rockets down upon our enemies.  Firefight at its finest.  What can I say?  It's one more map in which you can blast the Covenant.  If you like Firefight mode, you'll like this map. 

Check out the new locales in motion.

Condemned brings the battle to a crippled space station.

The Defiant Map pack has three maps, Condemned, Highlands, and Unearthed.  Condemned and Highlands are both multiplayer versus maps.  I ran around on each one without any opponents, just to get a feel for them. Condemned takes place on a ruined space station.  You can see an ongoing battle outside; Covenant and Marine Ships bombard each other.  In the distance, the surface of Reach glows under the fire of the Covenant force's onslaught.  Unfortunately, the map itself feels sterile.  It's your standard corridor affair, with areas of low gravity. 

Highlands takes place on a mountainside installation.

Highlands is a large map with a cool set piece as a backdrop.  I won't ruin it for you here.  (Don't get too excited, it's just scenery.)  The map supports multiple vehicles.  I drove both a Mongoose and a Warthog all over, and I found the space a little too confined for the larger vehicle.  It has that familiar Halo mix of tech and nature, which is nice considering the blandness of Condemned, and how "brown" Unearthed feels.

The Defiant Map Pack is more of the same.  Map Pack DLC has become standard to the big first person shooters.  You either love it or you hate it.  If you're a huge Halo fan then you already know you are getting this. If Halo: Reach is still spinning in your machine six months after its release, you are going to enjoy these maps.  If Reach hasn't seen your Xbox 360 since November 9th, these three maps won't interest you.  From a purely co-op perspective, one Firefight map for 800 MSP ($10) just isn't worth it. 


Contest Time:

 We've got 8 codes for the Defiant Map Pack to give away to 8 lucky winners.  All you need to do is reply to this article and tell us your favorite map for Firefight!  We'll choose the winners on Tuesday, March 15th around noon!  Good luck!