Stuff I Say

Legendary Maps: Initial Impressions

Posted in gaming by 51future on April 15, 2008

Lockout\'s Back!

Lockout is back and it’s blacker than ever.

The map itself remains true to the original. Spatially, a lot of individual rooms (shotgun gauntlet, sniper basement, radial basement) have returned and become much roomier and larger than before. They still manage to feel claustrophobic and not-big-enough once the firefights start though. As far as the shotgun gauntlet is concerned, they’ve added some small antechambers at the entrance to the lift room that you can hide in and ambush people going in and out of the tunnel. At the same time, they’ve turned the ramps there into staircases which makes bouncing grenades out if you’re found a lost cause. All in all though, in gameplay the tunnel feels like less of a deathtrap, which is a nice change.

A lot of the walkways now have lips to them (more on all of this, along with photos in the detailed impressions later) which make cut down on willy-nilly grenades and make it less likely your ambush will be defeated by sheer luck.

The small walkway above the sniper tower that used to have a lip over it, resulting in a great hiding spot is now just a pipe attached to a building. You can still walk on it, but you’re not longer completely hidden up there like it used to be.

In forge you can place two vehicles: ghosts and mongooses, along with a mancannon, but the low artificial ceilings limit the cannon’s usefulness. You can block off entrances and exits with shield doors, if you want to remake the bottom of Snowbound.

All in all, my first impression is that they took Lockout, rebuilt it from scratch, removed the exploits (super-jumping, namely) and polished off a few of the rough edges (curbing the usefulness of grenade diarrhea in a firefight, etc.). They also simplified a lot of the jumps (center to sniper, radial walkway to big tower basement walkway (near the sword) and added in a few new ones which require a little more skill (big tower radial ramp to upper center walkway).

I played one game on it, and I have to say, this might be what brings me back to Halo 3 from Call of Duty 4 and keeps me there.

It\'s Not Turf...

Ghost Town seems like a lot of fun too. While I don’t have as much to say about it as I do about Lockout (Lockout was “my map,” just as it was “my map” for all sorts of Halo 2 players). Ghost Town is a slight bit larger than Lockout. It felt like it would make a good 8-10 player Slayer map and maybe less for objective games. It has a ton of nooks and crannies, a rocket spawn on default, a sniper rifle, and even a mongoose.

It has an urban feel reminiscent of Turf without all the bullshit. The layout is asymmetrical and seems to sort of revolve around a large, broken structure in the middle surrounded by a good assortment of dark, lower drainage pipe tunnels, broken scaffolding sniper perches, and multi-level structures with a wide variety of entrances and exits. Throughout the game I played on Ghost Town, I always felt like I had both a wide variety of attack venues as well as a number of escape paths, should the shit hit the fan. The worst position is the overgrown street level, but even there there’s ample cover and a Mongoose kicking around, if it comes to that.

We didn’t do much in Forge here besides trying to crack the softwalls on the top of the map by stacking ramps (this turned out to be impossible). However, in both this map and in Avalanche, which I’m not going to get to in this post because I didn’t actually play a game on it (Forge’d it though), there were a few bits of strange geometry that felt like they should have put invisible walls or kill zones on, even though they didn’t.

And really, I’m all for it. Besides a few initial qualms and lingering fears over how Blackout’s lighting is going to shake down, I think I’m most upset that in order to combat griefers Bungie had to go to great lengths to artificially box the new levels in, preventing a lot of mancannon shenanigans.

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