The Noble Map Pack graced my 360 console early this morning and I’ve had a chance to play it for a few hours, both online and offline with friends. But like everything else that costs a few bucks, people have their doubts. So is the newest piece of Reach DLC worth the money?
What is it?
The Noble Map pack is the first round of DLC for Halo: Reach. Developed by Bungie, the pack includes 3 all new maps for the cost of 800 Microsoft Points ($10).
Each map in the Noble Map Pack is a brand new creation and is totally seperate from those based on the campaign. The maps consist of:
Anchor 9 – A low orbit UNSC cargo ship currently in battle with covenant forces. This map is the smallest out of the 3, and is perfect for any 4v4 gametype, especially Slayer gametypes.
Tempest – An abandoned shoreline complete with symmetrical bases, it’s the perfect size for 8v8 CTF matches, as well other various objective game types. It’s also full of Easter eggs and hidden areas.
Breakpoint – Based around a UNSC Science installation, Breakpoint is easily the biggest map in the entire pack. It’s great for 1 flag CTF, but plays best as an Invasion map.
-The maps look awesome. Each map is carefully constructed and polished. From the ongoing space battles on Anchor 9, to the beautiful coastline of Tempest, to the the jaw dropping scale and attention to detail on Breakpoint, these maps are easily the prettiest in the entire game.
-They play as good as they look. Anchor 9 is easily my favorite map, mostly because it’s an arena-style map and I’m a Slayer junkie. While the map is quite similar to ‘The Pit’ seen in Halo 3, differences like low gravity space combat add a bit more flavor to combat.
Tempest is the absolute perfect CTF map. Complete with vehicles and man-cannons, it’s well built and balanced. In my many playthroughs, it was an absolute rarity to have dull moments where I was completely out of combat, which is great when playing bigger style maps.
Because of the limitations in the DLC hopper, Breakpoint was my least played map, and for some reason, Invasion was never on the list of gametypes to vote for, which is absolutely stupid, because it was built from the ground up as an Invasion map. Either way, I did manage to get in a few 1 Flag CTF matches and they were enjoyable to say the least. Invasion however, is clearly the gametype of choice for this map and I would have gladly liked to play it a few times before writing a review. Hopefully they implement something, soon.
What I didn’t like
-Some FPS slowdown. Not a glaring issue, but an issue nonetheless. Because Bungie packed in so much detail on to each map, you do notice a bit of slowdown when you are in view of a massive fight.
-Only 3 maps. My issue isn’t with the cost, 10 bucks for 3 well done maps is a small price to pay for something that will give hours and hours of replayability. They just leave me wanting more.
-DLC Matchmaking playlists. The way Bungie implements the maps into matchmaking is downright horrible. The standard 6v6 DLC playlist is the only way you can guarantee yourself that you will get to play the maps you paid for. But you have no real choice over what gametype you get to play. Sure, you do get to vote at the beginning, but considering that most Reach players enjoy playing mostly Slayer, you hardly ever get to play anything else. And the fact that Invasion on Breakpoint isn’t available in this hopper is absolutely mind blowing.
The Halo: Reach Noble Map pack is the pinnacle of what multiplayer DLC maps should be today. Detailed, well designed and above all, fun. While some people like to argue about the price, it’s hard not to justify spending a few dollars to extend an already great multiplayer experience, especially if you’re an avid Reach fan.
Rating for the people who only look at numbers because number ratings are the be all, end all of videogame DLC reviews.
9/10 - A must have for any Halo: Reach fan.