Halo 4’s Majestic Map Pack is the second DLC in a series of three planned for Halo 4 (Crimson, Majestic and Castle), The Majestic Map Pack features three new playable maps: Skyline, Landfall and Monolith and contains a host of new achievements to add to the ever-expanding Halo gamer score, as well as an additional two new playlists Majestic Team DLC and Majestic FFA DLC.

But priced at 800MSP, is there enough here to drag players back on board the USNC Infinity for another round of Wargames?

Publisher: Microsoft

Developer: 343 Studios

Release Date:  Out Now

Format: Xbox 360

Version tested: Xbox 360

Price: 800MSP

The Majestic Map pack gives players three new, small to medium-sized maps on which to wage war. Each map offers something varied and refreshing, both aesthetically and in the style each map plays out. The maps are playable through added play lists and, as I found with the previous Crimson Map Pack , the community of players taking part in these play lists is quite small. That said, I never struggled to find a game at any time of day.

I’ve had the chance to put a fair few hours into the three maps, enough at least to form an opinion on them.

For the most part, I’m quite impressed.

Skyline

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Skyline is a small map, set at the base of an orbital tether which towers above the battle ground. With the exception of Monolith, each map would appear to borrow heavily from the already established Halo universe when it comes to the look and feel. Frankly, Skyline seems like it could have been lifted straight from ODST. Easily the most visually stunning of the three maps, 343 must once again be commended for crafting such fantastic visuals; the surrounding sky box twinkles with passing traffic. If, on the off-chance, you get a moment in-between the gunfighting, its well worth stopping to take in the view.

The map itself is definitely the smallest of the three. Split into two circular levels separated by a small island in the middle, it creates very fast and furious game play. The central Island offers man cannons for quick traversal between the two levels, often resulting in much of the combat being fought over this point.

I’ve learnt to always keep my eye on the sky as players are practically falling on top of each other from start to finish. One thing’s for sure, Skyline is defiantly a map suited to the type of player that would prefer to stick a shotgun in your face, although there is always opportunity to get a few headshots in from the sidelines

Landfall

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Landfall is the largest of the three maps, although still not comparable in scale to others available in Halo 4. Landfall paints the scene of a UNSC staging area at the point of the Covenant invasion (a fleet of Covenant ships are seen destroying a city across the waters from the staging area). The map is mostly flat, populated only by a few sniping vantage points.

Landfall is split into an interior warehouse section and an exterior loading bay which is populated by a debris of crates, spools and forklift trucks (all the traditional Halo hallmarks) and the action often takes place through a turf war over each section.

Sadly, Landfall is probably the least enjoyable of the three maps. The larger open spaces offer players of more organised teams the opportunity to co-ordinate their attacks, removing the somewhat hectic combat style that makes Skyline so enjoyable. However, this offers a more redeemable quality in the more objective based game types.

Monolith

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Finally, my favorite of the three maps. Monolith.

Monolith is a forerunner outpost, buried within an asteroid crater. Ironically, as the only map to adopt anything from the new Halo universe into its design, this feels the most authentic to Bungie’s original Halo trilogy. The map itself is a symmetrical affair, centered around a hill. As such, Monolith is perfect for KOTH and Domination game types.

The four opposing sides offer man cannons that can launch you across the map (more often than not, to the benefit of a sniper sat waiting at your landing point) and various levels of vantage points. This also makes it much easier to set up scope  and pick off unsuspecting scrappers taking part in the scrambles below. I had a lot of success doing just that.

There is precious little open ground in Monolith, but the forerunner architecture is a free-runners’ dream offering. It presents opportunity to traverse the slips and slopes in the most creative way possible. The result of which means Skyline players are just as likely to take damage from above as they are from someone roaming around on their level. The mixture of fast and furious combat over broken ground, mixed with the retro Halo style map design, makes Slayer on Monolith particularly enjoyable.

Final Analysis

Majestic, as far as map packs go, is almost perfect. It’s respectful of the franchises’ roots with variations on classic maps, such as Battle Creek.

Majestic has returned Halo Multiplayer to the ‘good old days’ when matchmaking was fun. 343 have removed vehicles and the vast expansive spaces, and made tight nerve-wracking combat the major emphasis. Halo 4 is all the better for it.

At 800MSP, three maps, along with the coupling of a few new playlists and achievements, is a price tag that’s slightly too steep. Maybe to all, but those who purchased the season pass.

Maybe with a possible fourth map, like so many other franchises offer, I would have given the Majestic Map Pack a perfect score, but with a perfect mix of old and new, this is damn close to a total package.

Pros:

  • All maps are great fun and varied
  • Visually stunning
  • Refreshing take on Halo 4 multiplayer

Cons:

  • 800MSP is too much with only three maps to offer.
  • New game type and play lists add little

Final Score: 4/5

A great mix of old and new, the Majestic Map Pack is a real treat for Halo fans, but 800MSP is slightly higher priced than it should be.