Halo: Reach and the Noble Map Pack

Halo: Reach has been out for a month now, and Bungie has just announced a new map pack for the game. Due November 30th for 800 Microsoft Points ($10), it adds three new maps at the same price point as all of the Halo 3 map packs.

At the same time, however, the most recent matchmaking update (as well as one coming up in the next few days) are already adding Forge maps into the mix. I’ve only hit on the new “Paradiso” map once, in an Invasion Slayer game, so it’s hard to say what I think of it–but it looks promising.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the details Bungie has given us:

Anchor 9

This is the interior of the space station you’re tasked to guard in “Long Night of Solace” (the space combat level revealed at E3). This is a nice add-on because it gives Halo fans a map with a direct connection to the campaign–without being a space that we’ve already walked through in the campaign itself. The overall aesthetic reminds me of a cross between “Orbital” and “Narrows” from Halo 3.

It’s difficult to predict gameplay from the few shots we have right now, but it appears to be a relatively linear space, yet with more open territory than either of the maps I listed above. Depending on what loadouts are permitted, Jet Pack looks to be a really interesting armor ability for this map.


The wording of Bungie’s description is a little unclear to me. They say that it “provides players with a huge Forge palette, allowing them to create new custom map variants” but looking at the screens provided makes it look like an expansion of the existing Forge World map. Not that I’m complaining–but even if it uses Forge World assets, the skybox (at least) is clearly all-new.

The new “Paradiso” map is laid out fairly similarly to this, but the buildings are nowhere near as interesting. While the human emphasis in Reach (being all on Reach itself) is a nice one, the architecture of the Forerunners is quintessential Halo. This looks like it will play really well, particularly for the Warthog–a vehicle that’s surprisingly underrepresented in Reach to date.


I don’t want to spoil anything by discussing this map in too much detail, because it is from one of the very last levels of the campaign–one that included some rather interesting revelations. This part of the campaign is one of my favorite parts from a pure gameplay aspect, so it’s going to be a lot of fun in multi-player. It’s also big, which means (at least for now) Bungie is using it for Invasion and Big Team Slayer variants.

Knowing how Bungie works, I was actually surprised to see this announced outside of their normal Weekly Update schedule, but this is a definite buy in my book. The next series of updates will likely include more details, including actual video footage as the November 30th DLC date approaches. I was looking forward to Medal of Honor and Call of Duty: Black Ops but a combination of lack of time and money means that a small add-on to Reach will keep my FPS drive satisfied.

Of course, the fact that I already have the massive Fallout: New Vegas coming has nothing to do with this at all. . . .