Halo 4 has had a consistent stream of downloadable content since launch with the free additions to Spartan Ops demanding the spotlight. The focus however is now back on competitive play, as the Majestic Map Pack has recently released; like the Crimson Map Pack that released previously, this too is priced at 800MSP – or comes as part of the War Games Map Pass – and contains three new multiplayer arenas to do battle on.
The Majestic Map Pack is very much focused on that classic arena play that Halo fans will be very much accustomed to from Halo’s glory days. While one of the series’ strongest points, vehicles do not feature in any of these maps.
Skyline – At first this appears to be a generic map, and while in terms of a two tier layout, it perhaps is not so awe inspiring in terms of gameplay. There is clearly a huge amount of attention to detail, most noticeable outside the confines of the map itself, simply take a moment to whip your Spartan around to admire the mesmerizing night’s sky; it really is something quite special, and not something you expect to see in a multiplayer space.
While it’s by no means a large map, Skyline makes up for that with a lower and upper level for players to get around and attempt to flank one another. Whether Infinity Slayer or Team Objective – such as CTF being an obvious highlight, Skyline does shine most for team-play.
Monolith – This is arena combat at its best and clearly inspired by some of Halo’s iconic maps in terms of broader layout. Monolith’s most unique aspect from the other two very human maps is that its environment is distinctively Forerunnner architecture, and much like from Halo 4’s campaign, it’s where you would expect the Chief to do battle against a plethora of Promethean forces.
There’s plenty of places to avoid enemy fire, with a central structure housing the Rocket Launcher, as well as two man-cannon’s to launch players across the map with added ease. King of the Hill seems to pop up often, and it’s easy to see why, it’s simple hectic fun, enabling players to move around quickly dashing between cover to get the jump on enemy players. Whether Free-for-All or Team play, Monolith covers a wide variety of playing preferences.
Landfall – In essence, this is the largest map before you can get a clear line of sight on the opposing team. The outdoor space appears large, though bang in the centre is a large factory with lower and upper levels for players to funnel through, while outside gives you the freedom to maneuver around the building with greater ease. There’s some smaller buildings in the surrounding area to duck in and out of, and much like Skyline, the backdrop in particular is impressive and likely to catch your eye the first time you play, and in all likelihood get you killed whilst gawking at the ships flying over head and smoke effects in the background that appear to be from another battle off in the distance.
Landfall provides the biggest thrills for team-play, and Halo 4’s own take on Extraction seems tailor made for such a map, with multiple objectives to capture and defend, with even Infinity Slayer working just as admirably.
The pack has two playlists specifically for these new maps, the first – Majestic Team DLC, and secondly, Free-for-All, this gives players the choice to go head-to-head or focus on team-play. The only downside with this is that the previous Crimson Map Pack is no longer featured in matchmaking, while purchasers no doubt want to play the latest maps, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a Playlist specifically for all the DLC maps to rotate in some much needed variety.
The Majestic Map Pack not only delivers visually distracting delights throughout, it also features some of the best map-based arena carnage that has been a staple in the Halo multiplayer suite for many years. While the focus previously may have drifted off to larger environments and vehicular play, the Majestic Map Pack enables players to focus on what made Halo so much competitive fun to begin with – to just get stuck in, and blast each other with lead.
Score 7.5/10 – Review by Wayne Julian