Halo downloadable content (DLC) has for a long time consisted of $10 map packs each with 3 maps, but this time we are treated to something a little different. 343 Industries is offering 2 maps, a new gametype, new weapon skins, and new armors and stances to customize your Spartan. All of this can be purchased as a bundle or bought as three separate DLCs (the bundle will save you $2). This review will focus on the Champions Bundle offer to cover all the new content, including bonus content found only in this special offer. Now while we’re getting one less map than we’re used to, there really is a lot of content here for $10 (800 MS).
Pitfall is a very faithful remake of Halo 3′s The Pit. The look and feel is very much intact, albeit a bit darker and grungier this time around. This training facility has seen some ware and tear, but there are still pop-up targets, with Covenant elites this time instead of brutes. There are a few updates to the map’s structures like a gravity lift entrance to the “sword room.” The towers above the symmetrical bases have been removed — they would have given jetpacking players a distinct advantage. You can expect the same good mix of close-quarter and mid-ranged combat from this remake, but after playing a few games on Pitfall, I was reminded of how chaotic it can get with the abundance of power weapons.
Vertigo is fairly small and unique compared to other Halo 4 maps. A system of caves and multi-leveled, asymmetric bases offer a variety of encounters, from tower-to-tower rifle duels to up-close-and-personal indoor battles. Like Pitfall, the map can get very chaotic due to the number of power weapons available — especially so on this small map. What makes Vertigo truly unique is that each base sports an electric discharge which players can trigger by shooting target devices; they will release a shock wave damaging players’ shields within the area of effect. This will make for very quick kills.
New Gametype — Ricochet
At a glance, this appears to be Grifball on a regular map. Players will be rushing for the ball in the middle, but now you have to watch out for grenades and bullets instead of hammers. It’s a lot of fun, combining aspects from multiple gametypes. You can throw the ball in the goal for 20 points, or go in for the touchdown — 50 points. Games of Ricochet are very fast-paced and can end quickly. You’ll hear the multiplayer announcer get extra excited when someone scores, shouting Goal! It’s a nice little touch to help make this gametype its own.
Right now Ricochet only seems to be available on Pitfall. It probably wouldn’t work on a more clustered map like Vertigo. Hopefully we’ll see this gametype available on other maps in the future, possibly as its own playlist with maps like Haven and Adrift. It can only be fun for so long on the same map every time.
Let’s count everything up. If you buy the bundle, you get 15 new weapon skins, 4 new armor sets, 3 new armor mods, and 8 new stances. That’s a lot! There weren’t even 15 weapon skins in the game before this DLC. Now every loadout weapon has a steel skin, giving them a shiny, steampunk look. Many of the new stances are guaranteed to make your Spartan look cool.
As for the new armors, some of them probably could have been in Halo 4 at launch. I’m talking about the Mark V and ODST armor sets, which are classics from Halo 3 and Halo: Reach. It’s nice to finally have them, though. You can also make your Spartan look like an ancient Forerunner with the Prefect armor set, or a football player with the Ricochet set. Match the colors of your favorite team and represent.
Pitfall and Vertigo aren’t the best maps in Halo 4, but they are fresh and fun right now. If you loved The Pit in Halo 3, you will probably love Pitfall. Vertigo is a good addition given that Halo 4 has very few smaller maps, but these two can become chaotic and even unbalanced at times due to the abundance of power weapons. Expect to see a lot of camping (there’s even a new achievement to encourage it!) Visually, these maps look great. Their aesthetics and layouts are unlike any other maps in Halo 4.
While the maps are certainly the meat of this DLC offer, the best part might be all the new customizations. I’ve never been more satisfied with the way my Spartan looks, and there are plenty more options to choose from. We now have the most customizable Spartans ever. If you’re looking for reasons to return to or keep playing Halo 4′s multiplayer, the Champions Bundle should give you plenty. It is worth the $10.
For full details on what the Champions Bundle offers, as well as the three separate DLCs, see our comprehensive list.