Review by Yoh_of_Izumo
No Live, No Fear
This is actually going to be quite strange to critique. Its not a game, just a disc that will add a decent nine maps to your arsenal of Halo 2 maps. I have extensively played each and everyone of these maps, and I am going to base the overall score of these maps on their content, their logic, and my personal opinions. Money is also another concern, but in terms of this situation, not one of great magnitude. The nine new maps add a worthy amount of content to your multiplayer games, even without Xbox Live. You will able to enjoy LAN and single television games. And for only twenty dollars as opposed to the monthly fee of DSL or cable internet added to the monthly fare of Xbox Live, it is cheaper. Cost is not factor here, only content.
If you do not have Xbox Live have no fear, for this disc feel calm your ecstasy for the game. Some of these maps of original, intrinsically well constructed, while there is the bummer in the bunch.
These maps will be judged by my experiences with them on Xbox Live and LAN games. Though these maps have the potential of all being superior in a unique way due to their design, it is ultimately the fate of what Bungie programmed gametypes to be for each map. If it is unfortunate that Bungie chooses horrendous game setups for a map, it is too a dismay that the map will always fail to live up to its worth.
So on to the review!
Well, I guess we will start with the worst of the bunch. Backwash had much promise when it was first unveiled. First, it was map with concurrent weather conditions it rained while a battle endured. Not only that, the scene is enclosed around and above to cause limited light. Though the failure is in the sense of weapon layout and setup. First, in a regular game, there are no grenade starts. Another failure is that this map is large enough to be worthy of a battle rifle start, but nope, the SMG is your starting weapon. Not only to tease you even more, the ground is so dark, it is impossible to know where the weapons, unless you stumble accidentally on it and see the message or you encounter the sword. This is basically got the power weapon win. Didnt Bungie realize the flashlight is only available in campaign? The map is poorly balanced and gametypes are horrible here. The only use for this map is custom games such as hide-and-seek, which can be quite fun in this atmosphere. Had the map not had rain, fog, and darkness, I would have given it a 0.
Okay, well were getting better, but not anything impressive yet. This map is the biggest map of the entire set and quite pleasant. It competes with Coagulation in size. It is on a snowy planet and the entire place is covered in the snow. What is fun about this map is that there are explosive charges that seem to be placed strategically around the map. Get to close and some shoots it ka boom, dead. Now the problem with this map again is the lack and inability of people to get power weapons that are necessary on a map that requires them. With sniper rifles, rocket launchers, and tanks at the disposable, it is quite hard to take out the opponent if you are stuck with a fart gun. Though a saving aspect of this map are the tunnels that allow those opponents lacking the power weapons to flee and seek shelter and wait for the appropriate moment to strike. Unfortunately with a huge map and a timer that keeps ticking down, the power weapon opponent has no need to start looking for are start running away from you. And with people continuously quitting on big team battle scenarios, this map gets boring quickly.
This map is an upgrade of a previous map on the original Halo, Longest. Unfortunately it does not live up to the classic legacy. The main problem yet again is weapon balance. I do not understand why they cannot get it right. At first Elongation had promise with plasma pistols and rocket launchers on both ends of the map, but when they switched them to magnums and bruteshots, I sadly acknowledged that Bungie had official lost their touch. Despite the weapon imbalance, it is still manageable. The starting battle rifle greatly improves gameplay and the conveyor belts and obstacles and much to this map.
Yet again, a brilliant design with brilliant artwork and pixels, but then marred by continual weapon imbalances. The main problems: sword and beam rifle. If your team is the closer to the weapons and they can use them fairly well, then lo, the other team loses. Sure you can try to beam them with the noob combo, but by then the beam rifles ammo will have spent and your newly acquired swordsmans just asking for a slaughter. Quite unforgiving for a team that cannot use a sword or is incapable of taking out the swordsman. I have eliminated an entire team, killtacular and sometimes kill frenzy, just by the fact that they thought it was wise to just walk right up to the swordsman. Have hope that you are the closest to the power weapons, have hope that one of your teammates craps the overshield, and have hope that you are decently skilled, and its basically game over for the other team.
One of my favorite Halo 2 maps. It is set on an island where for some odd reason if you walk off the edge of the island, you are instantly killed, which breaks from the field of logic, but adds much to gameplay. The map contains one of the most well-placed and well-balanced set of weapons that I know of, and too teams of equal skill will have a very well fought game. It is a nice sized map, but not too big so that walking seems improbable, but not too small to debilitate the lurking sniper. Not only does the map contain vehicles, but also teleporters to add to the mystique of this map. With a battle rifle start, and with boundless possibilities for objective and slayer games, this map is truly worthy.
This map also defines one of quite good taste. It is located in the ruins of forerunner structures and is compiled symmetrically offering evenness in battle. The sword is centered at the middle, which allows both teams fair game. And with the sword in the middle, the journey from the middle to the other team is usually a suicidal one that yields little reward. A concern with this map is the advantage a person with a battle rifle can do. Due to the glitches of BXR and RRXYYRRX, games can be rather disappointed that ones skill with a button and not the true meaning of the game can be incorporated. Not only that, but also Bungies decision to remove the plasma pistol and replace it with the magnum adds slight imbalance. With these factors ignored though, this map is very credible and noteworthy.
I had a mindset of this map becoming one of my favorites, but then the imbalance of the map totally shredded my hopes of that. That map is large, focusing around a train terminal. What is quite unique about this map is that there is zipping train that passes through the track of the middle of the map, which can add a great deal of fun and increased strategy. But what must be noted are the large imbalances of this map. When I state imbalance, I imply that if two equally skilled teams are pitted against each, the game should be a close one, despite strategy or weapons acquired on the map, because they are equally matched teams. Unfortunately Terminal fails massively on this scale. In a snipers game, the team closest to the garage wins 95% of the time and to lose that 5% of the time, the team would have to be severely below the skill of the other team. Another debilitating factor is the scarab and the rocket launcher mixed with a sniper rifle. Add in the fact that such items do not respawn until destroyed and you have quite impossible odds. The only saving factor of this map is that due to these imbalances, objective games such as CTF and Assault are quite appropriate here, but never slayer-type games.
Another favorite Halo 2 map of mine. This map is situated in the city of Mombassa in Africa 500 years in the future. Now what makes this map interesting is that even though a player may have a slightly more powerful weapon, strategy is at a greater interest here due to the confined spaces and nooks and crannies of this city landscape. Unless the person with the sniper rifle is pro-like and is defended properly, this map offers quite a reasonable balance. With an array of weapons and a map that offers a playground of possibilities, it is another map worthy of being idealized.
Its a decent map, and with its being symmetrical, adds balance to the game. Yet with the battle rifle and shotguns as the common weapons at disposal, it unfortunately debilitates the map for those who are not host and who wish not to or cannot take advantage of Bungies flawed battle rifle button glitches. The map is a remake of Wizard and a nice job Bungie has done remaking it. Graphics are nice, superbounces can be fun, but it lacks that originality are addition that is needed as games improve.
Using my rating system for this addition to Halo 2, each map will be weighed equally.
Overall Add-on Rating: 7.111
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
Suggested Action: Borrow from a friend or buy if into Halo 2 Multiplayer LAN
Final Comments: Some of the maps were good, some were mediocre, and some were bad. Now if you do not have Xbox Live and are an extremely hardcore Halo 2 player and constantly have LAN parties, then yes, this add-on is worth your time and money. But if you only play a few multiplayer games here and there and are not into Halo 2, there is no real satisfaction to gain from spending the twenty dollars on the addition except some graphics you could have viewed on Youtube. If you have a friend that already has the disc, then by all means borrow his and put the maps on your Xbox, that is totally legal. And if you have Xbox Live well you should already have the maps. With Halo 3 on the horizon though, maybe its best to save that money though to go for that Xbox 360 and Halo 3 game disc though; everything helps. Enjoy pwning noobs, peace out.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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