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Map Pack Madness

Legendary Map Pack

I'm not sure what has gotten into developers, but if you hadn't noticed, in the past few couple of weeks, there've been several new accommodations on the Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Store as, well, Map Packs. Some are free, some aren't free, and some aren't even out yet. In chronological order (according to availability), here's the latest updates on Bungie and Infinity Ward's purchasable offerings.

Not too long ago, Bungie decided to go ahead and treat the more casual players (and cheaper players) of Halo 3 to a less expensive price tag to their previous map pack...and by less expensive, I mean absolutely free. After several months, it's finally been offered as a free download on the Xbox Live Marketplace. So, I'm sure if you had Halo, you probably already downloaded it (unless you bought it when it was released). Even so, that only means that there is just another bucket of downloadable content creeping around the corner...

That was quite a while ago, however, and for now, the spotlight is on Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat, as their map pack compiling not three, but four new maps was released on April 4th for voracious players to drool all over. These include: Broadcast, set in the television production studio and parking lot of the 'Charlie Don't Surf' level in Call of Duty 4. Chinatown is a direct remake of the classic Call of Duty 2 map, Carentan, but in the foggier, grittier, and certainly darker ambient of Chinatown. Creek, which is perhaps Call of Duty 4's most colorful map, is set outside [by a creek] in a large, wide open combat ravaged village with scarce cover spots, and might I say, it looks beautiful. The final map is called Killhouse, a desolate training warehouse with several cover spots, not all of which are entirely safe.

What? Another map pack? I'm afraid so. See, it's clear the only reason the original Halo 3 downloadable map pack was offered free of charge was to clear out the way for their new Legendary Map Pack consisting of another three maps for the Halo junkies to have their frag fests on. These include: Ghost Town is a medium sized, broken down ruin near the town of Voi ideal for small, to medium game types. Avalanche, one of the larger maps, has players freezing their armors in this mountainous frozen region, ideal for larger team battles and multi-team game types. Its final installment, Blackout, is an abandoned drill platform that monuments human frailty [?] -- I'm not sure what they mean by that, but what you should know is that this is a remake of Halo 2's "Lockout" it's safe to say veterans can rejoice. Loudly.

One more thing that I found laughable is the trailer for Halo 3's new map pack...well, two things...

First laughable material: Ever played World of Warcraft and cared enough to watch Blizzard's trailers? It's vividly clear that we've got Bungie borrowing the trailer style of Blizzard and using it for their own release. Why? I'm not sure, but if I had to guess, I would probably say it's to hype people up more, even though it's just maps.

Second laughable material: Its theme is very peculiar. It seems very off-the-beaten-path, yet it feels somewhat Halo while being significantly off. Death, ancient battles, scars, and darkness were some of the more notable keywords amidst all these maps and the trailer; the reasons why could be speculated, but I'm not going to do so here.

Are these maps worth the money, or should we all just wait until they are offered free of charge? Maybe, maybe not -- but I've given you what you need to decide if you want one, the other, both, or even neither!

[news data via Bungie / Kotaku]

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