Now that all of the map packs on Halo 4’s season pass have come out, I thought I would go through each and give some recommendations based on what gametypes you like to play. I rated each map as good, mediocre, or poor.
Monolith (Majestic Map Pack)
Monolith brought a much needed small-mid size map to Halo 4, and my goodness does it play well. It offers enough space to not be shot off respawn, but be in combat as quickly as you want. With rockets spawning bottom center and a beam rifle near each base every two or so minutes, the map gave you the great tools that formerly were really only attainable through random ordinance drops. I really found the four-base design to work incredibly well, and it showed the multiplayer suite was really lacking in small maps that still functioned well with sprint.
Recommended gametypes: Team Slayer, King of the Hill, SWAT & Regicide/FFA.
Daybreak (Castle Map Pack)
Bringing a two base vibe in the vein of Standoff, Daybreak offers great long range combat for gametypes like Snipers and Capture the flag. The map is asymmetrical, but plays quite symmetrically with one base connected to the top middle area via a man cannon and ramp respectively. Working best with 6v6 gametypes, it can bring a lot to playlists like team objective and even Big Team Battle. While the inclusion of a Banshee can often seem a bit overpowered, the map flows great and is a good edition to the games multiplayer suite.
Recommended gametypes: Snipers & CTF
Skyline (Majestic Map Pack)
Being smallest map in the War Games suite, Skyline really brings back the classic close quarter combat focus that the game has been missing. Skyline is symmetrical but mirrored (similar to Sanctuary) and plays very well for 2v2, 4v4, and FFA. The map is becoming a standout on the competitive circuit and on the Team Throwdown playlist. The map can be quite chaotic at times when you play with instant respawn settings, but it all flows amazingly with trick jumps and well placed lifts.
Recommended gametypes: Team Slayer, CTF and Oddball
Perdition (Castle Map Pack)
I’ll be honest; I went into Perdition assuming I’d hate it. It was billed as a Big Team Battle map, but really seemed to be small, lack any worthwhile vehicle combat, and just seemed so completely unfocused. I am very happy to say I was completely wrong. The vehicles, while limited, work very well and on foot combat seems to organically focus to certain areas. The additional hallways allow those who like infantry combat to flank and not just be decimated by the rocket-hogs.
Recommended gametypes: Big Team slayer, Oddball and Snipers
Landfall (Majestic Map Pack)
A map that can play well for 4v4, 6v6 and free for all is a tough challenge to pull off, but Landfall succeeds in nearly every way. Even with its Asymmetrical design, the map has a natural flow in team gametypes and FFA. The game has expansive outdoor sections and an indoor “garage” area that offer long range and close quarter combat respectively. Landfall also added another map that works well with the underutilized extraction gametype. I can’t speak more highly of Landfall, as it is just a plain good map.
Recommended gametypes: Regicide/FFA, Team Slayer and Extraction
Forge Island is a free downloadable forge map offering new items like trees, green screens, and new buildings. It offers three islands that are basically just flat rocks, and that is what forgers truly need to start with. Oh, did I mention it’s free? Because that should be reason enough to download it.
Recommended gametypes: Any
Thankfully, the majority of Halo 4’s multiplayer DLC has been great. Unfortunately, one entire map pack was sub-par at best, and one of the maps from Castle was painfully mediocre. Which ones am I referring to? Read on!
Shatter (Crimson Map Pack)
The art design for Shatter is one of the more beautiful of any Halo map to date. The luminescent crystal formations offer unique lighting and a beautiful battlefield, the maps design however is not as good. While the map can play well for certain gametypes, it just comes off as average at best. It doesn’t work very well for 4v4, but can work on 6v6 gametypes like King of the Hill. Its mirrored symmetrical design is good to see, but it’s odd size and poor on-map weapon and vehicle spawns just keeps it from greatness.
Recommended gametypes: Extraction & King of the Hill
Outcast (Castle Map Pack)
Outcast is called the largest map in the Halo 4 multiplayer suite, and it just does not seem like it. While in terms of length it may be large, the instant respawns and the many tunnels make it all feel like a segmented and disconnected experience. The map plays well for game types Big Team Slayer, Team Regicide and surprisingly Oddball. I guess when someone bills a map as the largest in the suite, I think back to maps like Sandtrap or Sidewinder, and this map just did not feel large. The interconnecting tunnels just were a poor choice overall, but it’s not a totally irredeemable maps, I suppose I just hoped for better. Halo 4 is really missing those big maps and Outcast failed to deliver on that need.
Recommended gametypes: Oddball and Big Team Slayer
Wreckage (Crimson Map Pack)
I don’t know why 343 went with a coat of paint that can only be called diarrhea for Wreckage, but it’s one of the single ugliest maps ever released for a AAA game. The map seems to want to have an on foot focus, but then can easily dominated by the warthog and ghosts. A team can also easily control the map by holding an upper hill location that is primarily accessible via man-cannons that can be shot by enemies on the hill. This problem is compounded by the DMR’s ability to just dominate at any distance. It just doesn’t work well.
Recommended gametypes: King of the Hill
Harvest (Crimson Map pack)
Harvest was billed as a small to mid-size map for the Crimson map pack, and this cannot be further from the truth. Harvest feels quite large (I’d call it a Medium sized map) and it is just very long. Harvest just does not play well for anything but snipers (and even that is pushing it). I’ll fully say my expectations for this map were high going in; it was a time when Halo 4 needed some true small maps but you can’t have a small map with two warthogs, two ghosts and four mongooses (mongeese?). It just didn’t play well for me, and I recommend you do vote against it whenever possible.
Recommended gametypes: Team Snipers
I recommend downloading the Majestic Map pack, Castle Map Pack and Forge Island. Majestic brings such great small and mid-size maps that the game desperately needs, and I would put Monolith up there as the best map in the game. The Castle map pack brings those great BTB maps that the game needs and Daybreak even works well for specialty gametypes likes snipers. I only can recommend the Crimson map pack to Halo completionist, as the maps are just not very good.
Update: The Champions Bundle recently released onto the Xbox Live Marketplace, featuring two new maps. Take a look at my review of it!
Full disclosure: I bought Halo 4’s limited edition at launch and have clocked many hundreds of hours into War Games, and played many hours in each map pack playlist. I am near 100 SR if that makes my opinion any more valid.