Halo 4 Crimson Map Pack survival guide
If there's one obvious negative to Halo 4 it's in the small selection of maps the game ships with. It goes a step further when you realize most maps only show up in a subset of the available playlists. Needless to say, the Crimson Map Pack is a welcome addition that adds three very versatile maps.
The new maps, Harvest, Wreckage, and Shatter follow the themes of other larger maps like Exile, Longbow, and Meltdown, with an emphasis on symmetrical design. They're great for objective games, and as such 343 prominently features CTF, King of the Hill, Oddball, and their new gametype Extraction in a 6 vs. 6 playlist.
While all the maps share a particular design aesthetic, it's worth breaking down each one individually and seeing what makes them tick. Here we go!
Harvest is like a pure tournament-style map dropped right in the middle of an outdoor field. The result is a map that captures every way in which Halo gameplay excels. From tight, close-quarters firefights to explosive vehicle combat and long-range sniper battles, Harvest is one of the better maps in Halo 4's entire roster.
Each of the map's bases can be entered from multiple angles. Tight hallways down the center work as choke points for infantry. Ramps up to the bases from the side force anyone in a vehicle to hoof it upstairs. The elevated design and decent cover make the bases good vantage points, but anyone running off with your flag has enough options for escape that mistakes will cost you.
Of note in the center area is an elevated platform with bridges to either base. This is often a contentious spot in King of the Hill matches, and it's worth noting that the air lifts on either side of this platform are quick ways to launch surprise attacks. The rest of the map is all hilly terrain with some nice Warthog ramps and cover. These areas are a paradise for both snipers and vehicle drivers.
Harvest Tips & Tricks
Vehicle positioning is key in CTF matches. Your own Warthog and Mongoose make great flag escape tools for coordinated teams. Whatever you use your vehicles for, just don't leave them for the enemy!
The high ramps and hills on the outskirts make great vantage points. Great for sniping, and they're one of the few spots you can assess the enemy base from.
This map has a lot of long sight lines. Bring a Battle Rifle or DMR. Mobility is a good option as well, you'll be sprinting a lot.
The Auto Sentry, Jet Pack, Promethean Vision, and Active Camo are your best bets as far as Armor Abilities on this map.
Sometimes it's best to just run right up the middle of the map. I'm surprised by how often I can run a flag base-to-base this way with little contention.
Don't forget the air lifts on the center platform. It can be easy to drop down to ground level on this map and get stuck taking the long back up.
Vehicles can make for great distractions on Harvest. There's a good loop around the map that you can use to draw away defenders from the enemy base.
Wreckage is a rocky debris field centered around the remains of a large structure. A cliffside allows for a rocky overview of the fighting while the center structure offers some hiding spots. The debris covering the landscape makes vehicle use a risky proposition on this map, with most Warthog crews experiencing a pretty short lifespan.
While the majority of the fighting takes place in the center of the map, the outlying base areas feature some tricky paths to maneuver and hide in. They're also where you'll find man cannons that launch you up to the cliff area, making that peak a contentious spot on the map.
The somewhat chaotic design doesn't lend itself to more organized fare like CTF, but this map works great for Slayer, King of the Hill, and Oddball.
Wreckage Tips & Tricks
Don't forget about the man cannons! They're the quickest way to get a view of the other side of the map when you respawn and the vantage point makes it great for racking up kills.
Use the Warthog for short trips or long range combat. The paths you have to navigate around this map make you a plasma grenade magnet.
Catch a breath in the center structure. It's a great place to recover or make a quick escape and the maze-like design allows for creative points of attack.
You can get away with an Assault Rifle/Suppressor/Storm Rifle as your main weapon on this map as long as you carry a magnum in your secondary for long range or stick to close quarters.
This is a chaotic map with a lot of tight spaces, making it great for Armor Abilities like the Hologram, Thruster Pack, and Regeneration Field.
Grenades get a lot of use on this map, so you may want to use a loadout that supports chucking a ton of them.
Shatter is the objective gametype jack-of-all-trades in the Crimson Map Pack. Great for CTF and King of the Hill, this map shines even brighter on gametypes like Dominion and the new Extraction mode. The layout is symmetrical with two large bases, caverns on the sides, a bridge/tunnel running through the center, and two smaller outposts on the outskirts of each side of the map.
The layout is noteworthy for its somewhat windy paths to get into the bases. You'll have to hoof it quite a bit to get up into the enemy base, making flag captures pretty risky. Teleporters and air lifts in the bases provide some shortcuts, but there can be some risks associated with those as well.
Each base gets a Mantis mech and Ghosts on Shatter. The center bridge/tunnel area is also well fortified, with a bunch of turrets you can grab and use to wipe out the enemy forces.
Shatter Tips & Tricks
Understand the teleporters! Each base has a teleporter that dumps you at the outposts. You get a direct line to the opposing base this way, but it can also put you too far behind enemy lines to make for good flag escapes.
Mantis pilots should operate with care. These vehicles are beastly, but Shatter provides plenty of higher ground and weaponry for anti-vehicle players to finish you off quick. Play it safe, stick to wide open spaces, and you'll be unstoppable.
The Jet Pack is amazing on this map thanks to all the tall structures and roundabout access ramps. You can cut some crazy corners with the Jet Pack making it ideal for grabbing flags and generally getting around.
Between the Ghosts and the Mantis, you may want to go with a Plasma Pistol as your secondary weapon on this map. Its charged blast stuns vehicles and you can combine that with Plasma Grenades for an almost unfair advantage against vehicles.
There's a lot of good weaponry on Shatter. Sniper Rifles at the outposts, a SAW here and there, and mounted turrets aplenty in the center of the map mean you get to go beyond your standard loadout more often. Take advantage of this!
And there you have it. Three new maps, lots of variety, and plenty of opportunities for new strategies. If you have your own tips or any questions, feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Joe Donato is playing a lot of Halo 4 lately, but he's got a lot to say about other games too. Follow his ramblings @JoeDonuts on Twitter.