Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox 360
Review Copy Provided By: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: December 10, 2012
The first multiplayer map pack for Halo 4 has arrived. The Crimson Map Pack features a new game mode called Extraction along 3 new maps: Harvest, Shatter, and Wreckage . 343 Industries have proved they can handle the Halo mantle with Halo 4, but are they ready for the world of keeping multiplayer fresh with downloadable content?
The new Extraction game mode pits teams against each other placing beacons at random points and guarding it for a small amount of time while it extracts data. Teams can turn another team’s beacon into its own and steal the extraction. Think of it as King of the Hill but you don’t have to stay at the hill. More game mode variations aren’t a bad thing but Extraction feels like a downer by bringing nothing really new to the game.
Harvest is set on and named after one of the planets that had the earliest contact with the Covenant and featured in a book Contact Harvest. It is a ovalish map featuring 2 large Agricultural style processing buildings with a bridge between them and is the smallest out of the 3 new maps. Grass, dirt, and sun are featured here as you would expect on a farming world. The outside area is set up almost as a race track with rocks jutting out of the ground like ramps and an area between the two buildings allowing player to make figure eights as they race around in the warthogs that are the featured vehicle on this map. The map is more symmetrical than not and is made more for objective based game types. The outside areas are perfect for custom gameplay modes that deal with racing. There is not a lot of cover when compared to other maps leaving it a run and gun affair unless you find a sneaky spot with a jetpack.
Shatter is a much larger symmetrical map set in an area that would send a geologist into orgasmic seizures. Caves and jutting towering rocks surround outpost buildings in the center of the map. While similar to Harvest, Shatter is a much more complex and dense map with nooks and crannies to duck into, around, and behind. The map provides solid on foot gun play with the ability to pick players off from a distance but also the ability to hide from said long-range play. Vehicles come into play again with Ghosts and a Mantis parked on each side of the map creating interesting scenarios in objective based game modes where a skilled player can cause mass slaughter.
Wreckage is centered around a graveyard of crashed ships. Large and with less vertical gameplay than the other maps, Wreckage is an asymmetrical map densely packed with short interiors of wrecked ships, ship skeletons, and rocky plateaus. Man Cannons are available to launch players across the map and Warthogs are the featured vehicle here. Wreckage is set up for Slayer based game modes and possibly King Of The Hill slaughter fests.
The 3 maps feel the same despite their differences. While playing them in the new Crimson Map Pack Playlist, the experience lacks variety. Stuck in 6 vs. 6 play while choosing between 3 randomly selected modes (1 tied to each map) before each match, it is easy enough to see players screaming about having only a choice between capture the flag, capture the flag, and capture the flag when they want to play slayer.
Eight achievements come with the map pack totaling 250 points. They are a solid mix of randomness and skill. The achievements are tied to some of the map features like kills involving the player and the enemy in various states involving the man cannon and mantis. One achievement requires the player to get 20 kills with a dismounted turret. While another has players attempting to get a kill with the warthog while it is airborne. The achievements are enough to challenge and frustrate would-be achievement hunters.
All 3 maps in this pack are solid maps but there is a lack of variety and stark differences between the maps and their environments. It creates an experience that feels like the same ol’ stuff all over and while it is not an issue when mixed in with other maps, the DLC playlist overly highlights it. Hopefully the next pack will showcase a greater variety and properly spice up the multiplayer.