1. Defiant Map Pack First Impressions

      written by Ray Benefield
      Look at that, I am posting for two days in a row. Should we celebrate? lol... so the first post after yesterday is pretty obvious considering the date. They just released the defiant map pack early this morning for Halo: Reach. We've played a few games of Condemned and a snipers game on Highlands. We've also spent several hours in forge flying around both admiring the beautiful aesthetics and observing the possibilities for each map. Read on for my initial impressions of this new map pack. Oh and I'm not covering Unearthed, because I just don't do firefight. Get your review of that elsewhere. :P


      Let me say that Condemned is the most BEAUTIFUL map to date with a lot of very little details that can leave you finding new things to admire for a while to come. Condemned is an amazing FFA map... well for me atleast. It puts me in my close quarters element with a bunch of little jumps and nooks and crannies for my camo skills. Btw the screenshots and the video walkthroughs of this map are nothing compared to the real thing. This map is fucking HUGE! Let me tell you folks. We played a 4v4 and I walked for literally 2 minutes with no action whatsoever. For team games, I'm not a fan of Condemned. Why? Because the features that make this a good FFA map, make it a very campy team map. Each segmented room is complex enough for a team to camp and disperse everyone in different players, so when one or two people walk in they get jumped from atleast 3 different parts of the room at once. For FFA though the gameplay is a dream and the map is large enough and segmented enough that even with 10 players when you jumped into an encounter it was typically 1v1 or a triangle and nothing more. So the map becomes a series of skill based encounters not kill stealing like your typical FFA map. No cross map DMRing and kill stealing. It is really nice. Great work Certain Affinity.


      Let me say that this map looks beautiful if you see everything from long distance. The grand scheme of the map is gorgeous, but if you get up close and personal with a lot of the texturing and what nots they are really bad. Like the waterfall that is at the edge of the level flows over a completely flat straight line. And the river of the dam's flow is really counterintuitive. The water texture does not flow into the landscape at all. We found that if you look at the water from below it looks better than it does from above... lol. Now the only game we played on Highlands was 5v5 Bro Snipes. It didn't have bro locations, so we had to spawn on each other, but the map was big enough that we didn't have any worries. The sniper sight lines are really interesting and I can see how a sniper can really lock down the map. The default map has a 90 second spawn time with 2 spare clips. That is entirely too much. The teleporters are very well balanced and work great for flow.

      However the landscape feels a little lopsided. In snipers blue base dominated because it had a HUGE sight line advantage, while red base had to move towards the center since it was covered by a bunch of rocks. But this is snipers. In a standard game red base holds more power, especially in objective. Which does make sense because red is the defensive team in one sided games. But still. Blue base has a very open landscape in front of their base so they have a HUGE threat zone for the sniper. Red base is hidden behind a bunch of rocks with a hidden cave path and everything. So red base has less degree of focus, but a very low threat zone until you get in front of it. Red base team can easily force close quarters combat... however that is only in non-slayer games. Blue team will dominate a slayer game because of it's sight lines, red base will dominate an objective game because the other team is forced into their base where they can force close quarters. I can sort of see why dynamic spawns were chosen for this map over static spawns. But the general majority hates static spawns. Sorry guys, but Highlands is a bit lacking. The overall layout is gorgeous and really a BTB players wet dream, but it needs some work before it can be a favorite BTB map. Right now you are just gonna get Goats that rage... lol. ;)


      Alright so while waiting for the download of the Defiant Map Pack to come up, I downloaded the trial version of Torchlight a new XBLA game. I have been wanting to try this. Let me say that this game is ADDICTIVE. I HIGHLY suggest giving this game a try. It is by the same guys that made Diablo and it is Diablo on steroids gameplay wise without a true story. If you enjoy hack and slash dungeon crawling with a focus on looting and leveling up then this is your game. Imagine like Gauntlet style combat, Diablo rare item random generation, World of Warcraft skill system, and an awesome pet that you can send back to town to sell items so you never have to stop to run back to town if your inventory is full. I am seriously thinking about buying the full game for 1200 MS points, and that is a big deal. I don't play single player games, but Torchlight is fucking amazing. Take my word for it and actually try out the trial version. Let me help you out and here is the link so you can queue it for download and you don't forget:

      Download Torchlight - Trial Game

      See you guys tomorrow :P.


      Nikatorus said...

      Shameless plug. Is this some of that advertising you talked about? How much are they paying?

      the_Jflood said...

      I didnt know this was coming out so soon. Will have to download after all these damm assessments and regattas pass.

      Dj7291993 said...

      Just feel like I should say that unearthed is the best firefight map ever! Most of the time, a firefight map plays well on foot, or in vehicles. And, the few vehicle ones aren't very good. But this one is balanced for both. And the rocket hog rocks (sorry, couldn't resist). Definitely should try it out. If nothing else, put it on easy gruntapocolypse for stress relief.

      FuN Fortress said...

      Highlands looks like a remake of Timberland from PC Combat Evolved...

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Never played Timerbland so I wouldn't know.

      And no that is not part of the advertising I was talking about Nik. lol... but it really is a great game and you should try the demo. Like I said in the Resurrecting Perfection post, I will be doing more off topic things here and there to ensure that I post everyday.

      Noklu said...

      They seem pretty cool, I'm interested in both...and the end of assessments for me and Jflood is soon...very soon