Halo 4


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Complete Review & Description

Say what you want about Halo, but its makers know what fans of the game want.

The Champions bundle for Halo 4 is designed for the most hardcore of Halo fans – the kind of fan who has been playing Halo 4 online regularly since launch, and has to have every piece of multiplayer DLC.

Much of the content is superficial, and frankly seems designed to drive the price up from 400 Microsoft points to the 800 it sells for. There are loads of new skins for your weapons, and additional armour customisations. That’s cool and all, but most people still won’t be shelling out cash for those things. What really matters is that there are two new maps and a new game type, called Ricochet.

Well, one of the maps is brand new, anyway. It’s called Vertigo, and it’s a mid-sized, eight-player outdoor map with two bases on either side. One of the bases is a sniper tower, and the other is a little lower to the ground and easier to hide in. Off to each side there are rocks and tunnels to sneak through. You can’t play the new game type on Vertigo, just a couple of Team Slayer game types (that’s ‘Team Deathmatch’ for those who don’t play Halo) and Extraction, wherein you extract data from different places around the map and defend those extracted points.

The other map is called Pitfall, and it’s a remake of one of my favourite Halo 3 maps, The Pit. As far as I can tell, it’s exactly the same as the old map. Two bases, both of which have towers next to them, with a large structure in the middle designed to pull players into close combat. Both sides of the map have hallways for sneaking through, although sneaking on Pitfall is nearly impossible.

Pitfall hosts the aforementioned new game type, Ricochet, which is a team game and a modified version of Gravball. At the beginning of the match, the ball spawns in the middle of the map and both teams compete to pick up the ball and also nab power weapons. The person who gets the ball has to get it inside the other team’s base. The catch is, you don’t have to get inside the base yourself to score. You can chuck the ball halfway across the map, if you choose, and if you get it in the goal you’ll still earn points. That said though, you get the full 50 points for holding the ball and entering the goal, but only 20 for tossing it in from a distance.

Is Ricochet fun? Hell yes, it is. The game type seems designed for competitive gamers, but you don’t have to be amazingly good to play and be useful. Just protect your teammate if he’s carrying the ball, stay out of trouble if you’re the ball carrier, and kill anyone who gets near your base. Easy. I hadn’t played Halo online in at least a couple of months when I launched into a match, yet I was having a blast in my very first game.

And while everyone seems to rush for the power weapons at the start of the game, they’re not that important. No one gets overpowered immediately, and if you go for the rocket launcher you’re risking missing out on the ball. Often the ball carrier’s off and about to score by the time you grab it anyway.

One thing that really stuck out at me was the sound. Halo has always great in this department, but there’s nothing more satisfying than scoring a point in Ricochet and hearing the announcer scream “Goooooooooooooaaaal!” If that can’t make you feel good, then nothing can.

While the Champions bundle is a bit expensive (I mean come on, 800 points for two maps and one new game type?) I could definitely see myself playing a lot of Ricochet. Having Pitfall back is great too, although Vertigo is a fairly standard, unexciting Halo map.

If you’re really, really into Halo and you play it online all the time, then Champions is worth picking up despite the price. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth. However if you’re an occasional Halo player, or you haven’t played since a couple of weeks after Halo 4’s launch, then you can probably give this one a miss and spend your money on more substantial DLC.



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