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Study the screen above. That cluttered and complicated map, filled to every corner with buildings, vehicles and equipment, is roughly the same size as Sandtrap in Halo 3. Only Sandtrap was empty and this battlefield, Boneyard, clearly is not. In fact, Reach maps will include specific location names on the radar – like Boneyard High or Boneyard Low – to help players keep their bearings.
Now rest your eyes on another map…
Swordbase, which is located in the atrium of an Oni facility, is built very, very vertically. Each side of this map is about four stories high and climbing up and down can be a frustrating and time-consuming chore. Unless, of course, you choose "Jetpack" as your loadout and zip from level to level with airborne ease.
Halo: Reach's maps encourage more planning and more thinking than in previous games. They're also prettier – just check out the deep, detailed backgrounds of Overlook and Powerhouse, the final two maps that will be available during the multiplayer beta.
Remember Oddball, the match type in which everyone scrambles to grab and hold onto a single skull? Now imagine the chaos of that contest multiplied by, oh, about a hundred. In Headhunter, one of Halo: Reach's new multiplayer modes, another skull flies onto the battlefield any time you die, or anyone else dies. Before long, the map is littered with cranium trophies, and to win, you just need to collect as many as possible and run to a destination point. Unfortunately, if someone kills you along the way, you'll lose not only your own skull, but every skull you were carrying as well. And if you're carrying a really large collection, be certain that every other player knows about it… and will be hunting you down.
Of course you know how Capture the Flag works. Now imagine that the two teams aren't struggling over a single flag, but over half a dozen flags simultaneously. In Stockpile, another of Halo: Reach's original modes, neutral flags spawn all over the map and you must grab as many as possible and bring them back to your destination circle. Scores are only tallied every 30 seconds, however, so you can also run to the enemy's base and steal flags out of their circle right before the timer finishes counting. If regular CTF has the predictable back-and-forth, ebb and flow of a tide, consider Stockpile more of a hurricane.