Halo: Reach Noble Map Pack Impressions

Three new Reach maps are coming to Xbox Live this month and we've got a guided tour.

Although Bungie has made no secret of the fact that Halo: Reach will be its last game in the series, the developer has assured fans that it will support the popular shooter well after release. Fans already saw that promise at work a few weeks ago with a significant update to Reach's online matchmaking playlists, and in a few more weeks Bungie will continue the trend with brand-new multiplayer maps. Dubbed the Noble Map Pack, this downloadable content will offer you three new locales in which to shoot, stab, or explode anyone that looks at you the wrong way. We took a trip to Bungie's offices last week to see what's in store.

Anchor 9

The smallest of the bunch, Anchor 9 is a symmetrical map designed for matches of four versus four. It's set in an orbital docking facility high above Reach, with an impressive view of the planet outside the main docking bay. Anchor 9's layout makes the map best suited for Slayer matches, though its symmetrical nature allows it to work well with Multi-CTF as well. This is the sort of map where you're never far from a scuffle, and you're frequently able to "pick up the scraps" so to speak by walking into two players going at it and disposing of one or both of them pretty easily. There are ways to escape conflict when your shields are down, though, because there are a number of stairways leading to platforms above the main floor. But overall, this map's modest scale makes it dense with conflict, so you'll definitely need to brush up on your twitch-based reflexes before jumping into it.

One of Anchor 9's interesting features is the aforementioned docking bay, a sort of massive window looking out into the deep expanse of space. An energy shield separates the main indoor area from some platforms on the outside of the docking facility. When you're outside, you're in an (almost) zero-gravity environment, making it easy to leap up to higher platforms, though it's also equally easy to accidentally leap out into space for an embarrassing suicide. Among our favorite moments playing in Anchor 9 was getting into a fight with an opponent who had a jetpack equipped when we didn't. He rocketed upward to flee for safety once his shield had been drained, and we simply jumped, lifted high up by the lack of gravity, and melee attacked him from behind for the kill.

Headhunter on a sloped map like Tempest can lead to some new strategies.

Tempest

Tempest is an outdoor wilderness map dominated by Forerunner architecture, both in the far distance and on the map itself. The center of the map is one big hill with a beach on one side and a waterfall feeding into a shallow stream on the other. Directly facing one another at the top of the hill are a pair of towering Forerunner structures that serve as team bases. Tempest looks like a fairly straightforward map, but it has a few secrets tucked away, such as a cave tunnel leading from the beach to one of the bases. It's a medium-sized map that's pretty easy to get around in thanks to an abundance of man cannons and ground vehicles.

There are some quirks to the map geometry in Tempest that allow for some pretty interesting strategies. In a game of Headhunter, you can do pretty well by avoiding the action at the top of the center hill by simply letting the skulls come tumbling down to you while you wait in the safety of the shallow creek. Another tactic is to use the armor lock ability and hang out on one side of the hill, because warthogs inevitably come blindly charging up one side without any idea what awaits them over the crest. Tempest is also the one map of the bunch that's geared toward Forge players, giving you a big palette to work with and plenty of potential game modes that work well with the layout.

Breakpoint is loaded with vehicles.

Breakpoint

This one's the biggest map of the three, a frozen collection of snowy rocks and ONI research buildings situated right next to a cavernous abyss. Fans of the Invasion game type will be thrilled with Breakpoint because it's a map designed very much with that mode in mind, though it also works well with Big Team Battle games. The entire map is essentially one big loop with claustrophobic underground pathways cutting through the middle section. In an Invasion match, Elites start on a large hill dotted with rocks for cover, move down to activate a pair of trigger points flanking a small building, and then move on to trying to bomb a pair of doors on a much larger building on the other side. Between those first and second objective points, the attacking team has a choice of going underground through the tunnels or trying to flank the Spartans by taking the big loop that runs around the entire map. It's definitely a map with a lot of options for getting around.

Fortunately, there's a huge selection of vehicles to make moving around that much easier. Among your options on the map are a Warthog, a Banshee, a Falcon, a Wraith, and a Scorpion. The effectiveness of a given vehicle tends to vary depending on the game type. In a Slayer match, Warthogs can run rampant by just driving along the circular loop and gunning down anything in sight. But in an Invasion game, getting into a Falcon is your best bet. The final stage of an Invasion game draws most of the action down to the cliff portion of the map, and all those bodies running around tend to be easy targets for a Falcon flying around up high.

The Noble Map Pack is going to be available on November 30 for 800 Microsoft points. Come back then for GameSpot's final impressions.

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Discussion

190 comments
odst_trooper117
odst_trooper117

People really need to lower the price for map packs.. CoD 4's was only 400 MP!

AnUndEadMonk3y
AnUndEadMonk3y

As gamers were a whiny bunch aren't we? God were just like the government! PArty Lines, Halo vs. COD, PS3 vs. Xbox 360. Jesus Christ people! Halo=AMAZING, COD=AMAZING, PS3=AMAZING, 360=AMAZING. You'd think after 5 years we could get over this fan boy crap. Come on were better than this.

RECONJON
RECONJON

@MasterDalton I agree, why would someone even bother to take the time to watch a video for a game they don't like and then take even more time to comment saying they think CS is better. It's a bit childish and very pointless.

acoustic404
acoustic404

Ten Bucks!!! That cool, I got it!!!!

MasterDalton
MasterDalton

@chaoskingz haha I'm the sad one? who is commenting on the halo reach noble map pack saying that 'counter strike is better'? I'm simply defending reach. What you said was completely irrelevant. Sad really

garcia_jx
garcia_jx

Either that guy is really short or Shawn is like 6' 20 lol.

fratstratraz
fratstratraz

For all of the people who are whining, I think you are missing out. Yes they're making more money off of this than they should have, but if ten bucks really means that much to you, you should be more worried about putting food on the table. I don't mind being taken advantage of by Bungie because they are not ridiculous about it and I had a crap load of fun playing on these maps. Especially Anchor 9. You keep saying Halo didn't have enough maps to begin with, I think it is safe to say it has a similar amount to every other FPS right now, including the firefight/invasion and multiplayer maps, Halo Reach has 3 more than Black Ops. Now it has 6 more if you get this DLC. If you still think it is a waste, or if you're not even a Halo fan, than stop commenting here and spend the money on your next meal.

maybock3000
maybock3000

I bought the maps and I ended up liking them more than I thought I would. In fact, they are really, really cool.

Sly_Boogy07
Sly_Boogy07

Ten bucks? That's awesome. I throw down $18 just for a 3D feature at Edwards and thats not counting drink snack and gas. Seriously skip one meal out and make a sandwich and you'll have nearly ten bucks there. Lol and I agree with chaoskingz MGS:TEA for psx is my fav as well, even though fallout 3 and bayonetta run a close shift as well ;). Aside from that though Halos a great game and ten bucks is fine for maps that you can fully customize, multiplayer keeps me goin for years on a game. Remember the days when after you got a game that was it!?!?!? Oh yeah I forgot a lot of gamers nowadays are little kids who don't even appreciate how cool it is to even have analog sticks let alone DLC. Lol they'll never have the experience of "nintendo thumb" bust out the bandaids lol!

maximo
maximo

these maps are way too big and the achievements suck

chaoskingz
chaoskingz

@MasterDalton how does your point stand? not in a single post did i mention that CS was my fav. game or what in actual fact is my fav. game (Metal Gear Sold for PSX btw.) Your just mindlessly arguing a meaningless point, its boarding troll/fanboy-ism. sad really.

cptpaper
cptpaper

800 is standard price (although still expensive), but i was hoping for maybe 4 or 5 maps instead of just 3....

galyamenta
galyamenta

they said the noble pack is 100 ms points and im on xbox live now it said 800 ms points so what hell is goin on

blairsantos
blairsantos

Common $10 bucks!!?? Thats nothing!, how much do you think it cost THEM to make those 3 maps?? 10 dollars is what I would spend going to the movies... so why wouldn't I want to pay 10 dollars for 3 awesome, fun maps?

slyguy65
slyguy65

only 800 HAHA he says it like its true no no sir ONLY would fit with 560 points but 800 is not something you fit the word only with

Haasdude
Haasdude

I remember the days when one person got a copy of the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack disc and just passed it around from xbox to xbox.

lamprey263
lamprey263

I'll be interest in another invasion map, as long as people vote for invasion, hate invasion slayer though, wish they'd throw that into another matchmaking option so people that want slayer can play invasion slayer and those that want the offense-defense invasion modes can play those

MasterDalton
MasterDalton

@chaoskingz actually no, I'm not. I'm certainly not spoilt, and I'm not a teenager. My point still stands, you're only angry because no one cares about your favourite game. You only think cs is better because it's more 'hardcore' where-as in fact if cs did become more popular and everyone had a copy, you would hate it. You're the equivalent of a metalhead in music

Stryder_18
Stryder_18

$10 for 3 maps seems kind of expensive, especially for 3 maps that have obviously been created before the game was even released and should have been included with the original game to begin with.

mtbrdude87
mtbrdude87

Nubs... Did you know you can get free maps for most PC games? :)

omenjamlord
omenjamlord

So what! You dont like it, dont get it. Simple as. I'm not a big Halo enthusiast, however some people (with a credit card who arent little kids) will be delighted with this add on.

chaoskingz
chaoskingz

@MasterDalton - You must be part of that new generation of teen xbox gamers, spoiled, impatient and wouldn't know a great game if it hit them in the face.

MasterDalton
MasterDalton

@chaoskingz haha you're just mad because no one cares about your stupid favourite game

MasterDalton
MasterDalton

@LoRdKooP - yeah. even a retard can play them. Which must be why you can't

big-boss-91
big-boss-91

meh, i'll stick to black ops multiplayer, much more fun

Emericaordie
Emericaordie

Not buying, there really should be 5 maps for this price. ESPECIALLY since every single map besides Forge World map variants were ripped straight out of campaign AND the lack of maps in the game to begin with. Not to mention 2/3 of the maps are bigteam/invasion which almost nobody plays except little kids. Make some solid 4v4 Maps Bungie please and then I will fork up the cash..

jimmyccckotb
jimmyccckotb

I'd suck it up and pay the $10 if I didn't pick up a copy of Black Ops this morning. Maybe later.

hammer1313
hammer1313

It's interesting that this multiplayer game comes with so few maps to start off with, and it is also just as interesting that only a few months after the game's release DLC with three new maps are for sale. I guess when people love your game it is OK to take advantage of them. Thanks

Plus1Attack
Plus1Attack

Why are all these comments full of haters? It's three new maps that cater to Reach's fanbase... what the hell is wrong with that? Jesus christ I'm so sick of all the Halo hate around here. Get the hell over yourselves and play your "superior more sophisticated" games...

Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

meh, i chose more dlc for mass effect 2 over this. somehow 3 maps and sh*tty xtra chievos r not worth my 10 dollars

BlackPhoenixBG
BlackPhoenixBG

Keep coughing up money for some pathetic DLC, you derps. Keep up the good job !

UmutK2
UmutK2

the exact same low gravity map was on star wars republic commando

anthonycg
anthonycg

Yawn.... This is simply catering to the FPS kids that don't know any better and the parents that just buy something because the kids ask.... You guys just had to buy that Crackdown DLC...

Crayzorder
Crayzorder

"One or more players do not have the required maps to play in this lobby."

santinegrete
santinegrete

Dear FPS gamers: if most of you keep paying for DLC that has so few maps, prepare for the new (abussive) standards of map-pack pricing.

xCodyTheBEASTx
xCodyTheBEASTx

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

LoRdKooP
LoRdKooP

I'd rather save up for the bad company 2 map packs, thank you. F@ck black ops and halo a retard can play those games.

advocacy
advocacy

I'd rather save up for Call of Duty: Black Ops map packs, thank you.

supernaught360
supernaught360

@UserName521 Ummm... that was my point? Is your brain okay?

bbdieseal111
bbdieseal111

I hate DLC so much because to me DLC should just come with the game. Even if its cheap its still lazy development that can be for a profit towards the developers. Oh well back to fifa by the way REAL MADRID BIOTCHS

omegazx100
omegazx100

no 1 gives a butt crack about your damn maps bungie all the other players will do is use the same map over & over & over & again & sometime the game focus me to go in the same maps even if i chose a diffrent game like say instead lone wolf i'll chose something like doulbe weekend & team battle other in other word is its ok but it gets to borning to play sometime i win alot of times i lose alot & get T-bug which i hate more then muiltplayer matches & i ahte bungie rules u can't even boosted on there game u better work on the campain mode more then multiplayer mode just of waste of money & time

UserName521
UserName521

@supernaught360 Those are just horrible examples. At least the noble map pack dosnt end. A movie ends in 2 hours, ciggarettes/soda/food last a few minutes. Cat litter dosnt last forever. And no one buys cloths from wall mart. I can not enjoy things like that for ever. The noble pack can be enjoyed for hundreds of hours. Hundreds of hours > a few minutes.

COLDFIRE25
COLDFIRE25

Why dont people understand, that EVERY video game company is doing this now-a-days, and people complaining wont do anything about it because so many people still buy them. I am one to buy them but thats because I am sick of the same maps over and over. Black Ops will most likely be doing the same thing in about a month or so, 5 maps for what 1200 ms points? Comes to about the same amount as the Halo Reach ones. Atleast they are giving us a hand full of achievments with it, to add just that little bit more. But it would have been nice to just have it all in the first place, oh well.

slimdrc
slimdrc

800 points for 3 maps they just did to make more money because people will buy it

supernaught360
supernaught360

@Alex_09 So it's about value, then, is it? Well, let's look at what $10.00 buys you elsewhere: 2 packs of cigarettes, a movie and a large soda, a t-shirt at Walmart, a dozen buffalo wings, a 15 lb. bag of cat litter, and countless other items I'm CERTAIN you'd spend more time enjoying than trips map pack for Halo: Reach, am I right? I hope not: I just dropped $10.00 on a 4 pack of rechargeable NimH batteries that I don't think have as much bang for my buck as trips multiplayer maps.

BigStik
BigStik

Ima wait until Christmas... discounts ftw~

Alex_09
Alex_09

@peteblossom Pampered whiners would be the ones talking about 10 dollars being small change. It might not be a fortune, but it still is quite a bit of money for three lousy maps. It's not about cost, it's about value, and the few logical people on this site(not to say I'm one of them) are not going to give up that argument no matter what insults you call them.

peteblossom
peteblossom

geez what a bunch of pampered whiners. Do you guys realize how much time, energy, and imagination goes into these games? 10 bucks is too much? i'll give any of you ten bucks to create something REMOTELY as entertaining as anything you'll see on this website. These are the times when we should slow down and appreciate the luxuries of our generation. I bet kings of the old ages would kill to get their hands on PONG.