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Halo: Reach Firefight Maps - Introduction
Unlike Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach reshapes Campaign areas into a whole set of dedicated Firefight maps, reflecting the increased time and energy spent on the Co-op mode in the new game. Each map creates a unique and beautiful location in which to try and hold off the never-ending Waves of Covenant forces as they come crashing in upon you and your increasingly desperate squad of teammates. In this concluding part of our introduction to Firefight in Halo: Reach, we'll give you an overview of each of the 8 dedicated Halo: Reach Firefight maps.
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Beachhead possesses a similar feel to the mainstream Halo: Reach multiplayer map Boardwalk, set as it is in the verdant outskirts of the city of New Alexandria. An asymmetrical map, Beachhead's playing area runs up from a beachy area through some open ground, studded with boulders and other outcrops that make great spots for a bit of a breather during the most intense action, to a large Pavilion building at the far side of the map. Camping out on the raised parts of this Pavilion building is a good tactic during the early Waves, as it gives you great lines of sight to cover the Bridge, Lagoon and Breezeway areas of the map to mow down advancing enemies early. This also makes Beachhead a great setting for a Sniperfight game. Don't forget to utilize the Stairway to give yourself some space and time to regenerate your depleted Shields.
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Set inside a Covenant Warship suspended above the planet of Reach, Corvette is one of the smallest of the Halo: Reach Firefight maps, but don't let that fool you - you're still going to be facing some heavy ordinance here, up to and including Wraiths. The confined space of the map, centered around an open hangar bay area, makes for some really intense, if shorter than usual, Firefight Matches. Use the overhanging ledges in the hangar area to dominate the Grunt Waves, but once the more powerful Covenant forces come into play, you're going to have to keep mobile to try and hold off their excellent A.I. from backing you into a corner.
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Courtyard is a re-tooling of the outside of the Sword Base building. It's wide open sky makes it a perfect zone for deploying the Target Locator and bringing down destruction from the heavens; incidentally, this is a great way to notch up the Crowd Control Firefight Halo: Reach Achievement, as you can take out several Phantoms packed with Grunts in a very short space of time. With plenty of room to maneuver, Courtyard also makes an ideal map for the Rocketfight Game Type, as well as customizing jump stats for the players, and it has quickly established itself as arguably the most popular of the Halo: Reach Firefight maps included in the box.
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Glacier is a smaller Firefight map - the setting is a cavern dominated at one end by a relic Forerunner building, and its ideal for playing offline in two player Co-op, not least due to the lack of enemy vehicles which would make mincemeat of players in such a confined space. Tactically, concentrate your forces to cover the two main entrances to the Forerunner building during the early Waves, but by the end of the first Round you will have to start getting mobile or the increasing firepower of the Covenant forces will wipe you out and take the entrances with you.
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Verticality is the vital element in Hold Out. The map is constructed from multiple tiered levels, so you're going to want to get to the highest ground as early as you can to dominate the earliest Waves. The Jetpack Load Out will then help you platform at will as the Waves and Rounds go on. It's pretty difficult to find a high spot where you're completely protected, as all the ledges and terraces have stairs leading up them, so stay moving as the enemy hordes build up. Ignore the temptation of the turret mounted on the central platform during the at least the first Round, if not longer if you can, as you're going to need it further on into the Match.
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Outpost is another Firefight map with plenty of wide open space punctuated by boulders to hide amongst, and dominated by a giant Covenant Anti-Air Cannon at one end. Race for the Target Locator ammunition drop at the start of a match, and then make full use of it from the higher building ledges to massacre the early Waves. After this, keep on the move, using the Jetpacks to hop from ledge to boulder and back, or even better hijack a Ghost and splatter as many Covenant as you can before they take the vehicle out.
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A variation of the Campaign level Winter Contingency, Overlook's combination of pastoral grassland and distant mountain scenery make it arguably the most visually appealing of all the Halo: Reach Firefight maps, though with the action coming thick and fast on this medium sized map you probably won't get much time to enjoy the view. Overlook's size makes it an ideal setting for solo Score Attack, where you can make maximum use of the interior of the main building early to take out stragglers with the Energy Sword, before constant roof hopping to shake off any pursuers as the match progresses. Overlook also is a preferred setting for Generator Defense, and featured in the Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta as the testbed for this very Game Type.
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Waterfront is a circular map, with an industrial complex at its center, and lower levels and ramps leading down to watery shallows from where the Covenant advance when dropped off. The design of Waterfront means that games played on it generally fall into the pattern of holding out the central buildings for as long as you can, since the Waves are quickly able to surround you in a 360 degree pattern. Straying from your team mates is definitely not advised on Waterfront, and individual games are unlikely to last overly long as you eventually find yourself barricaded into the main building. An acquired taste of a map, though its night-time setting makes it beautifully atmospheric.
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While the locales of each of the Halo: Reach Firefight maps will initially feel familiar to those who have completed the Campaign, Bungie have clearly gone to great lengths to tinker and polish the areas to suit the particular needs of the Firefight Mode. While Courtyard is undoubtedly the early favorite amongst fans, the other maps will no doubt come into their own as players invest more time over the coming months in Firefight in Halo: Reach.