This will probably be the shortest “review” I ever write and that doesn’t really bode well for the content I am about to review for many reasons. But then again, it’s hard to write a litany of words for a DLC pack whose entire gameplay content happens to be a grand total of two maps, and one of those happens to be a remake. So how long would it take to get familiar with that content? An hour? Two?
Granted, if you purchase the full DLC pack (instead of just buying the maps) you get some extra stuff with it, but when that extra stuff happens to be purely cosmetic in nature (gun skins, armour, etc) you will excuse me if I choose to more or less ignore that.
So let’s dive into the two maps. First up is Vertigo. A small scale infantry map that is extremely reminiscent of Abandon, both in its lay out and in its focus on close quarters combat. It’s decently designed, although by no means a classic, and should work well for most 4v4 game types. There is very little to recommend or disapprove about it. It’s just there and inoffensive and that’s the best or the worst you can say about it.
The other map is Pitfall, a remake of the Halo 3 classic, The Pit. This one needs no introduction to Halo veterans. Brilliantly designed and faithfully remade, it works perfectly for almost every small team game type you can throw at it. The Armor abilities change the gameplay somewhat (sprint certainly makes the map feel smaller than it used to be), but by and large, it plays as well as you can expect it to play in the new rule set.
In addition to the two maps, there is a new game type called Ricochet, which is a mutated version of one bomb assault. It’s fast and fun and while it’s being held hostage to the new maps for the moment, I imagine it will make its way to the regular maps soon enough.
And that’s pretty much it.
If you choose to pick up just the maps, it will set you back by 480 MSP. While it’s not bad value in itself (a three-map pack costs 800 MSP), it just feels pointless and insignificant. To that, you add the fact that Halo 4’s population has taken a nosedive in recent months. At the time of writing, there were 800 people in the DLC playlist, and if past DLCs are any indication, once the playlist is out of rotation, you will never see those maps again.
So there we are. The cynic in me sees this as a cheap cash grab, playing on people’s nostalgia by remaking one of the better maps of the series. You can’t help but feel that if they had thrown this in for free, it might have revived the dying population of the game somewhat. Instead, they chose to divide the already dwindling population further by releasing it as a paid DLC pack. Oh, and did I mention that if you want that useless cosmetic stuff, you have to pay extra?