Halo 4 fans won’t have to worry about boredom over the next few months. While we do advocate food and water and maybe a modicum of movement from time to time, our Halo 4 review, consonant with most others, found that it wasn’t hard to get lost among the War Games and Spartan Ops and Forge and Theater modes of 343′s vastly improved, every-bit-as-addicting-as-Bungie’s-trilogy online component.
Better yet, the baseline offerings are only the beginning.
A little over a month ago, announcing the “War Games Map Pass” for Halo 4, 343 unveiled plans to release a trio of three-level map packs — Crimson, Majestic and Castle — in the months of December, February and April, respectively. Today, the developer made good on the first end of its forecast, officially confirming the Crimson Pack for release on December 10 and further detailing its new set of battlegrounds: Wreckage, Harvest, and Shatter. Crimson also introduces “Extraction,” a brand new, tactical 5-on-5 matchmaking mode.
The trailer above, along with the screenshot assemblage throughout the post, will give you a good visual perspective of the add-on and all of its new trappings. The full explanation of details from 343, however, constitutes a handy field guide for those curious about optimal game modes and combat tactics.
Wreckage is the manifestation of the chaos of war. A medium-sized, asymmetrical map great for accommodating a wide range of objective-based game modes including King of the Hill and Capture the Flag, it is a ravaged environment of crashed debris, where the surrounding destruction creates complex paths perfect for throwing off your opponents, or testing the limits of your Warthog. This devastated landscape provides plenty of cover, and tons of nooks and crannies are at your disposal while fighting for your turn to become King. Wreckage supports up to 16 players in Infinity Slayer and up to 12 players in a variety of other modes, including Capture the Flag, King of the Hill and Oddball.
Harvest is a canon concept brought to life — the doomed agricultural planet where humans first made contact with the Covenant. A small to mid-size map, Harvest is ideal for Capture the Flag. Here, you’ll need to get creative to effectively use light vehicles which are limited to the exterior pathways and can’t get into the bases, making this map perfect for infantry firefights and face-to-face skirmishes. Snipers will also feel right at home; long sightlines are broken up by great cover and hiding spots. Harvest allows up to 12 players to face off in Capture the Flag, Infinity Slayer, King of the Hill, SWAT and Slayer Pro.
Shatter is themed around natural crystalline surfaces and the huge UNSC factories mining them. This large, symmetrical map is a playground for the Warthog and Mantis – its open pathways make it easy to get around, whether on foot or in vehicles. Shatter is a great fit for Dominion and the new game type Extraction. For some close-quarters face-time, escape the open landscape and duck into a mining facility, or slip through a doorway and hunt unsuspecting Spartans. This map has variety for different types of players. Shatter enables multiplayer mayhem for up to 16 players in Infinity Slayer and up to 12 players in other modes, such as Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, Dominion and Extraction.
Free for those who purchased the $25 (2000 Microsoft Point) War Games Map Pass, the Crimson Pack runs for $10 (800 Microsoft Points) otherwise and integrates eight new achievements adding up to 250 Gamerscore Points. But even gamers who don’t wish to pay for additional Halo 4 content when the maps drop on December 10 aren’t out of luck: 343 Industries announced that the same day will see “Extraction” inserted into War Games multiplayer, a 5-on-5 team objective mode that reads quite similar to Call of Duty’s Headquarters:
Extraction is a 5 vs. 5 objective-based game type where opposing Spartan teams are tasked with extracting assets from various sites around the map. Once a team has found a site and is in position, they must plant their beacon and protect it from the opposing team while the extraction process occurs. If the defending team remains in control of the beacon, they receive one point, however if the opposing team overtakes the site before extraction is complete, the point goes to them. Once a site has been extracted, a new site becomes available. The first team to extract five points wins.
Love or loathe, map packs have long been a fixture of Halo multiplayer; consider them one of the many ways in which 343 is honoring the Bungie legacy. But that’s hardly a complaint. 343 believes firmly in the richness and excellence of Halo 4′s multiplayer universe, and has already proven capable through Spartan Ops of enhancing it with periodic DLC. War Games – like the entirety of Infinity multiplayer, really — already has a ridiculously fun foundation to work on, and it’s not a stretch to think Crimson won’t disappoint.
Ranters, are you planning to pick up Halo 4′s Crimson Map Pack on December 10th?
Folllow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.