You know, I had barely time to complain that Halo 4 is getting boring, when 343i decided to drop in one of the most awesome things in Halo 4 history: Community Forget Test.

This is exactly the sort of stuff we need to break the monotony. Thank you, 343i. Bungie managed to spice up Halo: Reach nicely with Forge maps, and looks like things are getting awesome again.

So here is my snap review of the first proper Forge maps Halo 4 matchmaking has seen.

Sorry, no screenshots. I still hope 343i figures out an easy way to get H4 screenshots out of the game. Late late late. =)

Basically, in Halo: Reach heyday, Bungie used to have Community Cartographers who were responsible for getting Forge map suggestions from the public, picking up the best and whipping the mapmakers and themselves into getting the map to refined enough state that it would be played in Matchmaking. There was some worry whether or not they would be employed by 343i as well, but as it turns out, the Cartographers are now back with a vengeance.

And more will be come.

Things are as they should be.

Threads at Halo Waypoint forums:

A few words about the maps:

Shutout (by Big Papa SaLoT and NlTROOO, based on Ravine): Holy crap. It’s Blackout from Halo 3. Or Lockout, if you’ve played Halo 2, which I haven’t. Gone is the nightly atmosphere of this map, and here we murder each other in broad daylight. Very broad daylight. It’s been a while since I played on the map, but the overall structure is quite similar enough. Very cool map for SWAT and Infinity Slayer alike, very versatile map whether you prefer sniping or close-quarters brawl. Oooh, all the memories from Halo 3 are coming back - they need to get this to Flood playlist ASAP!

Garrotte (by MythicFritz, based on Ravine): Somehow, I usually managed to hate all Reach levels with inclines, stairways and lots and lots of blocky surfaces. Garrotte is full of that shit - lots of blocks and walls to hide behind, lots of alternating surfaces. But despite of the occasional oh-crap-I-slipped and-didn’t-run-up-the-slope-afterall bullshit, Garrotte is a well-designed map and its layout is pretty logical: Square layout, two opposing bases, better covered walkways on sides. I was a little bit sceptical about how well this level works, but Capture the Flag on this level was loads of fun.

Relay (by FyreWulff/343 Industries, based on Impact): Now here’s a really decent map (though as this was made by 343i and actually shipped with the game, it’s not very communityish, now is it? =). Basically, a large area with tons of shit in the middle, a few mancannons and platforms in the edges. Kind of like Adrift except with none of the handy-dandy modern-day features like walls. Lots of murder. Lots of death.

Despair (by SecretSchnitzel, based on Erosion): Another square map, with corner bases, some corridors between then, and the large central area with a circular walkway and spire in the middle is probably the most remarkable feature. Very fun map, perfect map for King of the Hill, as soon as they fix some of the bugs that plague this map. It’s really easy to get stuck in the elevators or create Halo 3-esque sticky grenade traps in the elevators (quite unsurprisingly, people pointed that out in the second post in the bug report thread at Waypoint! =). Also, different part of the map are easily confused, because they’re all brown, dammit. But once you figure it out, it’s quite a lot of fun.

Simplex (by Big Papa SaLoT, based on Ravine): A moderately sized square map with central structure, and lots of side structures. Quite a lot of multi-level fun for Infinity Slayer, though it’s probably more fun with more than 8 players.

Scythe (by PA1NTS, based on Impact): A moderate-to-largish nonsymmetrical map with lots of different sort of areas, lots of walkways, easily distinguishable places and places to go and hide in. Lots of attention to detail, lots of distinguishable features in each room, and you’re never really lost in this map. Pretty decent map for SWAT and Infinity Slayer, I guess, but again this would probably be more fun with more than 8 players.

All in all, these are all some very decent maps, and I hope to see them soon in other Matchmaking playlists. And, of course, I hope that this playlist will keep getting more awesome maps and will return later. In Halo: Reach, the maps just sort of appeared without any testing and actually participating in playtesting is lots of fun. Even when everyone else seems to have found the bugs I’ve found. =)