Halo has had a ton of great maps over its near 15 year lifespan. There are well over 100 maps in the series to date, and I intend to rank the top 10 Halo maps of all time. Before Halo 5 launches and Raid on Apex 7 inevitably takes a spot in the top 10 (seriously, it’s amazing), lets take a look at the best maps so far and what games they came from.
Top 10 Halo Maps of All TIme:
#10. Forge World/Island – Halo: Reach/Halo 4
I can already hear you, “but Gruntled Gamer, this isn’t even a map! Why is this on the list when there are plenty of real maps like Exile and Beaver Creek?” Well, let me tell you why – Forge World/Island from Halo: Reach and then Halo 4 allowed for an incredibly amount of flexibility and resulted in hundreds of different maps for people to play on. Many of these maps from both games actually ended up in map rotation, and in turn ended up being a lot of peoples favourites. A few notables are remakes of favourites like Blood Gulch and Ascension, and new favourites like The Cage and Paradiso. I really hope Halo 5: Guardians has a map like this so the community can make amazing maps like these again – a massive canvas for the great creative minds who play Halo to work with.
|There is space for 6 full-size maps in this map.|
#9. Sand Trap – Halo 3
Sand Trap was special – it wasn’t uncommon for absolute chaos as you see blow to occur every couple of minutes on this map. It has 2 strict bases, and then 2 extra moving bases that are in the form of massive vehicles known as Elephants that you can drive around the map, spawning your team at. It also had tanks, aircraft, warthogs, and plenty of power weapons like a Spartan Laser, Sniper Rifle, and even a Gravity Hammer.
#8. Haven – Halo 4
The only Halo 4 map on this list aside from Forge Island. Halo 4 was chalk full of mediocre maps that only some of the community paid for, which has a large part to due with why the population died so quickly. One of the saving graces of this catastrophe was Haven. This map features solid asymmetrical gameplay with multiple avenues of attack for any location the enemy was at. It fully complimented Halo 4s faster gameplay and supply drop feature, but also worked well in ‘Pro’ modes where all of that was taken away. This is as close to a ‘perfect’ map as a game can get, albeit it is bland and it will lose points for that.
#7. Ascension – Halo 2
Classic Halo 2 gameplay at its (near) finest. Ascension symmetrical gameplay perfected, in the form of 2 bases with sniper rifles on the lower edge, a rocket launcher on the opposite side on the middle of the map, and a middle dome area that is basically a slaughtering ground for the snipers on both teams. In some modes there is also a banshee for the two teams to fight over, which really makes it interesting. Its only downfall is that this map is really only good for slayer variants – objective types and random game types do not play well with this map, so it will lose points for that.
#6. Last Resort – Halo 3
A remake of Zanzibar from Halo 2, Last Resort turns out to be much better than its predecessor. Small map changes and changes in architecture like corners and building heights results in much more refined gameplay – and a lot of fun in a whole assortment of game modes. This map gets a lot of points for a lot of reasons – it works well with basically any game type for one. Big team slayer, regular slayer, team slayer, capture the flag, one bomb, any mode will play well on this map. There are also nice power weapons that are equal access to both teams like sniper rifles, spartan lasers/rockets, invisibility, and an energy swords as well as a shotgun. There is also a warthog, a couple of ghosts, and of course, mongooses. I can’t count how many times I have played Halo on this map, and every time it worked well.
#5. The Pit – Halo 3
The Pit represents arena gameplay at its near finest, especially for Halo 3. Power weapons are strategically placed towers located symmetrically on each side of the map, as well as a sword in a central room on the right side of the map and a rocket launcher in a stretch located in a central left area of the map (depending on which way you spawn!). Either way, games of team slayer, VIP, infection, and capture the flag worked brilliantly here. Every time The Pit pops up on map rotation I barely consider any other option – the map is that good. And there isn’t anything really special about the map – it is just gameplay and map design working perfectly within a games engine.
#4. Guardian – Halo 3
Guardian (Hey, Halo 5 Guardians…) was another great example of engine working well with map design. Halo’s signature ‘floaty’ mechanics worked well as this map blended multiple planes of linear and horizontal attack along with borders that the player could easily fall off of. 2 sniper rifles dominate the map, with a gravity hammer in the bottom center of the map that serves more of a ‘stay back’ purpose for any team rather than a sound plan of attack. There is also a shotgun that serves a similar purpose. Team doubles absolutely flourished on this map, as well as king of the hill and good old team slayer. I rank this map above the pit for its ability to harness the floaty feel of Halo 3 perfectly.
#3. Blood Gulch – Halo: Combat Evolved
This is at the top of many other lists, but it sits nicely at #3 on mine. Blood Gulch in all of its variants (and yes, I include Valhalla from Halo 3 in that mix) allows for really basic, simple mechanics to flourish in Halo, in every Halo game. Whether it is Coagulation from Halo 2, Valhalla or Ragnarok from Halo 3 and 4, or just plain classic Blood Gulch from Halo CE, this map offers big set pieces, epic moments, and fun for every single game type Halo can offer. This map is littered with power weapons, powerups, vehicles, and alternative pathways. The hills that surface over the open part of the map also provide a good amount of cover for people who want to trek it across the map. A true classic that is extremely hard to replicate in any new map trying to capture the same magic.
#2. Avalanche – Halo 3
WHY AVALANCHE? I hear you say. Well, to be brutally honest, this is the best big team map Halo has EVER had. I rank it above Blood Gulch for a variety of reasons. For one, it offers many of the same benefits of Blood Gulch. The map is full of awesome vehicles, power weapons, and powerups. The map is symmetrical, offers multiple pathways, and is great for every single game mode just like Blood Gulch. What it does to surpass Blood Gulch is add complexity in the way the map is laid out. Instead of just having an open gulch with bases on the opposing sides, it lays out the bases side by side, separated by a large mountain that players can go directly through, or around. It adds a ton of complexity and substance to the big-team format, as well as any other game type. Block off the tunnel, and the only way to the other side is around. Block off the other side, and you have to be funnelled through a tunnel. It’s beautiful, and I have had the most fun out of any Halo map on Avalanche.
#1. Lockout – Halo 2
So why isn’t Avalanche #1? Well, simply put, if Avalanche is the best big-team map in any Halo game, Lockout is the best map in any Halo game, or any video game, period. Perfect competitive balance, multiple planes of vertical and horizontal attack, power weapons strategically placed, and most importantly, this map is not symmetrical, but it is fair. Most of the time, maps that are not symmetrical are unfair, with one team having a clear competitive advantage and access to assets the other team has to fight for. In this map, one team will have access to a sniper rifle, another will have access to an energy sword, and both can get the shotgun. You would think the sniper would control the map, but the way it was designed it isn’t. Every plane of attack offers a way to get to the other team, no matter what. Lockout offers the best competitive map in any video game, and certainly it shines as Halo’s best map ever.
Danger Canyon – Halo: Combat Evolved
Danger Canyon is a terrible map. Seriously, it is awful. I think that it is a prototype Avalanche, it has a lot of similarities with the two bases side by side and a mountain in the middle with pathways through the mountain. Danger Canyon is a hot mess, with carnage and shenanigans happening ever single time. There are way too many sniper rifles on this map, as well as warthogs that usually get prematurely destroyed by one of the too-many snipers or rocket launchers, or grenades. There are also sometimes scorpion tanks that are useless with the ability for snipers to stay perched up so freaking high above the vehicles paths that they can snipe the driver right out the tank or warthog. The pathway through the mountain is just a hellhole of grenades and rockets. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment with your favourite maps. After Halo 5: Guardians launches I will be sure to make a ranking list of the maps on that game, as well as how they stack up to this legendary list.
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