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Halo 4

Platform(s): Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: 343 Industries
Release Date: Nov. 6, 2012

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


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Xbox 360 Review - 'Halo 4' Champions Bundle DLC

by Brian Dumlao on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 1:45 a.m. PST

Set in the aftermath of Halo 3, Halo 4 features Master Chief returning to confront his own destiny and facing an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe.

The Halo franchise is no longer the big-ticket item it once was when the Xbox 360 first came out. With the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield taking up the mantle for most popular first-person shooters on the system, Halo 4 no longer has the staying power of its predecessors on the platform. There is a substantial amount of people still playing the title online, and it's commendable that 343 Industries is still supplying them with new content. The latest pack, the Champions Bundle, is its latest offering which, disappointingly, falls outside of the game's Season Pass. Whether you're still entrenched in the game's online mode determines whether you need this pack.

The bundle isn't just a map pack. It combines three different packs together into one piece of DLC that is cheaper than those pieces sold separately. The first is the Steel Skin Pack, a set of skins for specific weapons that give it a steampunk flavor. It sounds like a nice thing to have, and the images show off some nice riveting jobs with a little Victorian flair. However, because your weapons are mostly in shadows throughout gameplay, you don't get to appreciate the color schemes that much. You shouldn't mind since everything is tinted in a dark copper and gold theme that doesn't stand out much. Also, since the only time you'll see any of the flair is during reload sequences, it doesn't sound like a wise value proposition.

The second package is the Infinity Armor Pack, which consists of three armor sets for your Spartan. Two of the sets will be familiar to series vets, as they are the ODST set and the Mark V set, the same armor set used in the original Halo game. The third armor set is the Prefect, which, according to lore, is made from extensive research on Forerunner tech. It's a pretty sleek armor set with a very alien-like helmet, and it fits in nicely with the other armor sets in the game. For those who care about how they appear to others, this isn't a bad pack to have.

The final package in the bundle is the Bullseye Pack, and this is probably the most important component in the bundle, since it contains two new maps and an armor set for the new Ricochet game mode that introduced a few months ago. The first map, Pitfall, isn't actually a new map but a reskinned version of The Pit from Halo 3. Despite the changes to the multiplayer game, the old map still manages to fit in well because the layout has a nice mix of corridors, open spaces, and different elevation to cater to all types of gamers. It also helps that the changes to the map only consist of a gravity lift and new textures, so players who know the old map inside-out will be in comfortable territory here.

The second map, Vertigo, is new. Set in a beach cliffside, the map is average in size and is perfect for small team play or for individual Slayer matches. There's a nice network of caves on the outskirts of the map and two bases in the middle that feature a gravity lift and nice changes in elevation alongside explosive barrels and some nice points of cover. The map also marks the return of player-triggered events. In this case, each base has a trigger point, and when it's hit, it causes an electrical discharge that depletes the shields of those unfortunate enough to be standing there. Though it sounds like something that can be unfairly exploited, hitting the triggers requires you to be in the open and firing a few shots at them. Also, the trigger points aren't exposed very often, so you can't camp somewhere to gain a significant advantage. It is a well-designed map that you won't mind having in your rotation.

Aside from the cheaper price when compared to the three packs sold separately, the bundle also includes some exclusive content. There are five more weapon skins, though only two are immediately noticeable due to their brighter colors. There are eight new player stances for your player card; it's helpful if you want your Spartan to stand out during lobby sessions. There are also a few more armor skins to outfit your Spartan, though they won't do you much good if you're not a fan of the color white. For fans of aesthetics, the bonuses are a nice incentive to go for the bundle instead of the individual packs.

Overall, the Champions Bundle isn't bad if you're still a dedicated Halo 4 player. The maps are good, and the aesthetics are plentiful for those who care about that. If you're just a casual participant in the multiplayer, you're better served by only purchasing the map pack.

Score: 7.5/10

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