At this point, the Halo franchise boasts hundreds of multiplayer maps that have cycled in and out of its flagship games, as well as several that were just so good they keep reappearing as various remasters and remakes. But every Halo veteran worth their salt has a select few maps that fill them with a warm, fuzzy, overwhelming feeling of nostalgia—and perhaps a healthy smidgen of PTSD.
And right now, there are an awful lot of exciting things on the horizon for the Halo universe. Namely, the long overdue addition of Halo: Reach to the Master Chief Collection's roster and the incredibly hyped upcoming installment in the series, Halo Infinite. This makes the perfect time to pick over the classics and recall our favorite online battlegrounds. Scroll down and join Game Rant as we recall the absolute best of the best when it comes to Halo's multiplayer maps.
10 Boneyard (Halo: Reach)
Boneyard is, in a word, huge. It is ridiculously huge, and it offers every possible amenity to make good use of its size. Mounted turrets in defensible locations? Check. Vehicles? Double check. Sniper-friendly high ground? Almost too much, but that's to be expected. Needless to say, this is a map for big team modes like capture the flag.
Beyond the obvious, another thing Boneyard's really got going for it is its incredible design and atmosphere. Fighting a pitched battle in what is essentially a ship graveyard is totally fantastic, assuming you can peel your eyes out of your sniper scope long enough to appreciate it.
9 Exile (Halo 4)
Halo 4 did a lot of things in terms of gameplay that rubbed the majority of the community the wrong way. But for their first time at the helm, 343 Industries really did pull off some incredible multiplayer maps, and Exile is totally one of the best. You've got to render credit where it's due, after all.
Exile's a big map that relies on vehicular gameplay in its primary, circular lane, but it still offers plenty in terms of close quarters, boots-on-the-ground action with its many shortcuts and makeshift structures. The outer edges in particular offer a lot of tunnels and shooting positions to take out vehicular players attempting to dominate the main path.
8 Countdown (Halo: Reach)
Maps with a lot of verticality can be really hit and miss, not just with Halo, but in multiplayer FPS titles as a whole. They're either going to be fun or they're going to be frustrating, without much middle ground to be had. Thankfully, Countdown is a perfect example of this concept done proper justice.
Countdown is a small arena map with a lot of tight corridors and ambush points, meaning there's going to be an awful lot of intense, close-quarters fighting, especially considering its weapon selection. Even if that's not your thing, you can at least rest assured that it's going to be quick and violent.
7 Burial Mounds (Halo 2)
The infamous Burial Mounds map was actually composed from a scrapped campaign level, and thankfully so, because it became one of the most iconic multiplayer maps in Halo 2. It's a fairly spacious map usually featuring light vehicles, but the generous amount of cover and varied terrain make it a prime location for ambushes and sniper battles.
Burial Mounds is also well known for a small selection of glitches and exploits, the most famous of which is utilizing vehicles or the bounce tactic in order to get outside of the map's bounds and onto the high ridge that surrounds the intended play area.
6 Hang 'Em High (Halo: Combat Evolved)
Hang 'Em High can be singularly responsible for a player's best and worst experiences with Halo: CE's multiplayer, depending on map knowledge and how savvy you are with the sniper rifle, rocket launcher, and of course, the legendary pistol.
Purely an infantry based indoor map, Hang 'Em High features lots of wide open spaces and verticality that is immensely rewarding for teams that can manage to maintain the high ground. Most battles fought here essentially devolve into a gloriously epic struggles to maintain the height advantage, with the players on the ground needing to get creative in order to shoot their way out of the rut.
5 Lockout (Halo 2)
Alternatively a close quarters frag fest and sniper's paradise, Lockout is a versatile yet fiercely competitive little map that is well remembered by anyone with even passing experience of Halo 2's multiplayer. Lockout practically had a skill curve all its own, with the overlapping ramps and bridges allowing myriad trick jumps, and common camping spots requiring memorization to keep would-be snipers in check.
The modernized Anniversary edition of the map adds quite a few new bells and whistles that are entirely worth checking out, but the classic version is easily the most memorable and iconic, with many hours' worth of frantic battles waged in the original Xbox Live lobby.
4 Valhalla (Halo 3)
Valhalla is a sort of homage to the legendary Blood Gulch of Halo: CE. And while the resemblance is definitely there, this map's unique character and design sets it entirely apart from its predecessor and renders it iconic in its own right.
This is a moderate sized map, with the base vehicle selection consisting primarily of light vehicles and a few flyers. The cover-heavy no man's land between the two bases is subject to vicious and memorable close quarters battles, but ranged support is still perfectly viable with sniper rifles, and the Spartan Laser provides a ready answer to vehicle rushes.
3 Sandtrap (Halo 3)
Sandtrap is notable for having some of the most unique dynamics in a Halo 3 map, with the two Elephants serving as mobile assault bases during team modes. But beyond that, its mysteries captured the imagination of the community for several years.
It had a multitude of secrets and easter eggs built into it, some of which were particularly mysterious. Secret rooms, mysterious, off-map objects, and strange shapes hidden inside of the walls spurred industrious players to endlessly pour over the map in Forge mode to puzzle out its various intrigues.
2 Zanzibar (Halo 2)
Zanzibar is easily the most fondly remembered map within Halo 2, as well as one of its most ambitious. When a player thinks about Halo 2 multiplayer, the first image that comes to mind is likely the gigantic, spinning turbine of death occupying the middle of the map.
A moderate sized map with a nice spread of vehicles and plenty of indoor and outdoor arenas, it also featured then-unprecedented amounts of interactivity. There are bits of destructible cover, shutters that can be closed, a gate that can be opened to allow vehicle entry into the main base area, and more.
1 Blood Gulch (Halo: Combat Evolved)
Finally, Blood Gulch. Not once did we ever wonder why we were there, we just knew that it was the place where legends were born. Easily Halo: CE's most famous multiplayer map even before Red vs. Blue propelled into stardom, Blood Gulch was the place to fight an all out war, and reiterations of it have made it into almost every Halo title to date.
The setup was simple, and thus perfect. Two defensive bases were separated by an expansive plain with minimal cover, with ridges winding up the sides of the map to provide ample sniping and assault opportunities. If you haven't driven a fully loaded Warthog across the Gulch under immense amounts of enemy fire, you haven't truly played Halo.