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Halo 4: Spending Time with The Crimson Map Pack

Halo 4 has barely been out for a month, but that isn't stopping 343 Industries from dropping their first map pack. The best part is: those who participated in Microsoft's 14 day play promotion can have limited free access to these new maps, available until December 18. So if you were skeptical about buying them, feel free to download them and give them a shot. Still not convinced? Well I got a chance to dive in recently and played a few rounds on some of the new maps.

The three new maps, Harvest, Wreckage, and Shatter, are all fine additions to Halo 4 matchmaking, but only one of them really stood out for me, and that was Harvest. Aesthetically all of the maps have that classic Halo look and feel, and that's fine. Harvest is the most close-quarters map of the three, offering a lot of close up action. Two buildings separate the map, filled with a lot of ramps and vertical gameplay. The map reminds me of some of the Halo: Reach maps, and offers up a great environment tailor made for capture the flag matches.

Shatter is a map that is set on a volcanic ruined world, and has a similar structure to Harvest. This was my least favorite of the three new maps, partially due to the fact that too many people are worried about getting the new achievements to play correctly, but more on that in a bit. Shatter offers more for the vehicle-infused player, with Ghosts and Warthhogs a plenty for you to choose from. It is also the only map with man-cannon's, thus again bringing up the achievement problem.The final offered map is Wreckage. This is a much more horizontal map, and the only map to feature the Mantis. Again, the achievement problem pops up here because everyone is trying to destroy the mantis or use the mantis, so the map becomes one giant battle over that vehicle.

I don't remember the achievement problem being that big of an issue with
Halo 3 or Halo: Reach, but here just from the few matches I played, so many people playing are there to get the achievements now, so it kind of ruined my experience. With everyone rushing for the power vehicle to get those achievements out of the way, it doesn't bode well for those who want to just play the match and win. On Shatter, everyone crowds the Man-Cannon, making it impossible to use at all, as you will have at any given time up to four members of the opposite team sitting on the opposite side of the man cannon, firing at you so using it becomes pointless. While I know that this is a problem that will iron itself out, it just goes to show that maybe 343 Industries shouldn't be making these achievements this ridiculous. I'm not one to put down others for going for achievements, as I'm a junkie for them as much as anyone else, but I just wanted to play the maps, not worry about what achievements I'm unlocking. I also have to note that there weren't that many people playing the DLC maps, which surprises me since they are free at the moment.

Despite some concerns, 
Halo 4's first map pack is definitely worth your time. The achievement problem is something that will hopefully be gone in a little bit of time, and the three maps are much more enjoyable then anything that was offered up in Halo:Reach.


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