We could’ve sworn we finished the fight after the release of Halo 3 in September 2007, but Bungie’s going to make sure we finish the fight again and again by releasing the Mythic map pack on March 3rd. But don’t get too anxious to log in to Xbox Live Marketplace to download it – this new map pack will only be available if you purchase the Limited Edition of Ensemble Studios’ Halo Wars, a new strategy game based on the Halo franchise. Unless you want to wait until later on in the spring to download the Mythic map pack for 800 Microsoft Points, be prepared to shell out 80 greenbacks for a game you might not even want (we can already see confused folks trying to return their copy of Halo Wars and asking where the hell Master Chief was). So the real question is, is it worth it? We’ve played through all three new maps included in the Mythic map pack and reveal the good, bad and the ugly.
At first glance, this map is very basic. It’s set in desert terrain and is almost symmetrical in that there is a red base at one end and a blue base directly mirroring it on the other end. The bases and surrounding structures closely resemble old Aztec-influenced pyramids. Warthogs, Choppers, and Mongooses are generously stationed in this map. However, Sandbox’s key feature is actually its definitive Forge canvas.
Sandbox’s wholly Forge-ready map is definitely a step out of the box for Bungie, offering three different levels of Forgey goodness. The first level is the deserty default level Sandbox is known as in basic matchmaking. Hilly sand dunes surround a tiled floor area with the mirroring bases on top of it. The second level is actually the underground level to this parched paradise, closed off with high-ceiling stone walls. This makes for an excellent arena for creating custom Grisball games, which we were luckily acquainted with during matchmaking. The last level is a massive, open grid dubbed the “sky bubble” that sits in the sky above the first level. It is accessible via teleporter in Forge and anything goes for Forge enthusiasts as this level allows limitless possibilities for level design.