Finally we've got Anchor 9, which is small and has one of those whooshy outer space sections. We're on a pristine UNSC space station now, with networks of homogenous terminals and Future Grey, and it's all gone a bit thin corridors and action-packed blasting. Be warned: death comes quickly on Anchor 9, and turning down a corridor after respawning means you'll usually run face-first into somebody else's elbow.
Anchor 9 is one of the more action-packed maps, and at times it feels like it's tapping into the spirit of Unreal Tournament. The trick, at least if you play anything like me, is to successfully navigate all the cheeky little catwalks scattered around. You're usually lit up like a Christmas tree when doing so, but it puts you in a fairly advantageous vantage point to rack up some decent kills. Which, at the end of the day, is all anybody wants.
For something that's essentially supposed to function as a fresh injection of spirit into Reach's online community, at least until everyone gets re-distracted by Black Ops or Bad Company 2, I am starting to find Bungie's nonchalance regarding playlists a little grating. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that, for the next few days at least, I couldn't really give a toss about how great Powerhouse is; I want new maps, all the time.
All the early adopters are herded into the "DLC Grab Bag" playlist, where you get to play a mix of Slayer and Objective modes (read: everyone will vote for Big Team Slayer on Breakpoint every single chance they get) until you've got enough Credits in the bank to buy real estate on the frigging Moon. In the wider context of Halo: Reach there are a great many playlist options to dip into, but early adopters of this pack are robbed of that flexibility. Would it really have been too much to ask for more choice with the DLC playlists, at least? And how on Earth am I supposed to easily get that Achievement for playing Boardwalk on Invasion?
Speaking of Achievements, there are 250 more of Microsoft's addictive-but-ultimately-worthless numbers to be had. Some are easier than others: I bagged a shotgun double kill and long-range DMR takedown to bank a cool 100 points within about half an hour of blowing the dust off the Reach disc. Getting a double kill from the grave, however, will probably take a lot longer.
There's little doubt in my mind that the Noble Map Pack gives the branches of the Halo: Reach gameplay tree a jolly good shake, allowing players a bit of a fresh frolic in some fancy new surroundings. If the mere thought of hearing bloop bloop bloop bloop bloop is enough to bring you out in hives, or you're only interested in hitting Prestige 4 over in the other game, then you'd probably want to steer clear for a while. The rest of us, however, might finally be able to stick around long enough to get that dapper Lt. Colonel badge.