Many wouldn’t know this but Bungie has finally handed over the keys to Halo and has moved on from the series. While we are definitely sad to see them go it’s important to note that 343i has taken over all control of Reach and their first step is the Defiant Map Pack. The map pack has 3 different maps varying in size and game type, did 343i studios deliver?
Condemned is a 4 on 4 map and my personal favorite. Team Slayer, Oddball, Stockpile and Free-for-All were some of the game types that I have witnessed which all work pretty well. Set on a UNSC station in space, miles away from the completely glassed planet of Reach. Parts of the ship have been destroyed and you can see the battle still taking place as another UNSC ship and the Covenant are battling at a distance in space.While pieces of the ship have been disabled a particular section has low gravity which I have witnessed very interesting battles in. The best part is watching things float around in a room which looks normal at first until you step into its field.
Highlands is the second map and is set on a military wilderness training preserve on Reach. To my understanding the map actually comes from the Halo novel and is one that fans from the first book would remember. Like Noble Map pack this is the large map out of the pack where big team battles are taken place. The map spreads across one base to another with rocks and small mountains surrounding. There is plenty to do in this map with vehicles also being at your forefront. Covenant ships can be seen firing and glassing areas on Reach while your in battle. The issues I have found in this game is some of the maps high points which tend to be more on one side then the other. They become very easy to be picked off by snipers without a trace of where exactly its coming from.
A new addition to any map pack that has come out for Reach or Halo is Unearthed which is the new Firefight map. The map is on a UNSC base with its main focus is on big guns and big vehicles. Unlike other Firefight maps it plays slightly different and will need to take advantage of the equipment around you to get through harder waves and a better score. Vehicles with the biggest explosive damage is something you definitely want to do here, not only is it satisfying but the kills that can be racked up is pretty sweet.
Visually 343i did a great job staying true the game but adding a bit of flare with the overall surroundings for each area. Already released on Xbox Live the Defiant Map Pack pits players on what they already know, which are events at the planets very last moments and after. Halo fans will get a kick out of the variety while hardcore players will find new challenges to make their mark.