Monday, April 25, 2005

new maps for Halo 2

kudos to Bungie and Microsoft for Halo downloadable content. this is a fantastic way to keep the game fresh and fill the gap between major releases. I wish all software released features in this manner.

two new free maps have been released and two more are available for a small fee.

free maps:

Containment - I really like this map. it seems to be small enough that four people could play it, but it also could be a great small team arena. I think that the design is interesting and I look forward to seeing how well it plays.

I also like the fact that the Banshee is in a small map. however, with those two rocket launchers and the gauss cannon, I wonder how eager players will be to volunteer as pilots.

Warlock - this is actually the Wizard map from Halo 1. the original map was small and chaotic - great fun. the most obvious change is the look of the map. I like it, I think it's interesting. I also like the fact that the battle rifle is so prominent on this level - combined with the 1.1 update, this favourite weapon of mine seems to be gaining some usefulness.

however, I have to say that it always amazes me when things seem to be changed just for the sake of change. this adaptation has me wondering about some things. and I can understand the desire to improve upon the presentation of a map. however, I don't understand altering basic game play attributes. if the map was broken, it seems unlikely that it would have even been considered for a port to Halo 2.

weapons: I've already mentioned that the battle rifle is in the spotlight. when this map was Wizard, each platform of this level offered a different weapon. this meant that despite the disorienting symmetry of the map, it was important to know where you were. if you wanted to get your favourite weapon (read: pistol) you had to know which platform to climb. now it doesn't matter if you have a sense of direction or not, you will find the same weapons in the same place around the map. I think that this takes something away from the game play.

powerups: I also favour fewer powerups. this is simply because I like the stock car racing mentality of competition - everyone on even ground. however, I don't like reducing the powerups down to one. now you have one person with a distinct advantage. in addition, Wizard was probably the only map where it was easy for everyone to get powerups. they were so accessible that it gave everyone a chance.

air vents vs. elevators: while the air vents may be a cool effect, I prefer the old ladders for this level. people would occasionally panic and stumble on the ladders. this would give the better players a few free shots at them, now it's just a matter of running up to the vents- no fun there.

I would love to read a map designer's explanation of why these changes were made.

BTW - I read on that Hang 'em High won't be ported because they think that it isn't fun with the Halo 2 weapons. that really doesn't make sense to me since there are enough returning weapons that the game could have been setup easily. for example, shotgun, sniper rifle, rocket launcher, magnum, plasma rifle. there you go, that wasn't so hard.


Anonymous said...

So, when will you be releasing an addendum to The Unauthorized Halo 2 Battle Guide, covering the new maps?

Stephen Cawood said...

thanks for the comment. there is very little map strategy in the Battle Guide, but I am working on a plan.

I'll post info. here when I have something concrete to report.

Anonymous said...

Also, are you putting new map tricks into Halo 2 Hacks? That might be cool, and im willing to help (par usual) with that.