Halo: The Master Chief Collection

(1 customer review)


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Complete Review & Description

When it comes to remastered collections of previous-gen games, simply upscaling the resolution and slapping all three games on one disc won’t cut it anymore. Halo: The Master Chief Collection has raised the bar.

This Xbox One-exclusive collection bundles the first four main-series Halo games (Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4), but the way they’re packaged goes so much further than any other collected re-release to date. The games feel like four chapters of some grand story, rather than disparate titles thrown together because they share the same name.

Sure, you can play each game in the Master Chief Collection on its own, as an individual game, and then go on to the next one. But 343 Industries have provided plenty of other options to experience the series more organically, and – most importantly – in the way that you choose.

For starters, there’s nothing to unlock. Every level of every game, every skull, and every player emblem are available from the start. Longtime Halo veterans can just jump into their favourite levels, or get to work on clearing the game on Legendary difficulty right away.

The singleplayer Playlists are where the setup really shines, though. There are a range of different playlists for each game that let you play a few, thematically-linked levels back to back. Cross-game playlists, meanwhile, give you a chance to play levels from across the series, with no need to return to the menu between outings. The Master Chief Saga is the real star of the show here, letting you play through from the start of Halo: Combat Evolved to the end of Halo 4 in one playlist, as though they’re one massive game.

There’s one glaring omission, sadly: the ability to create your own playlists. Ready-made playlists are plentiful, but the ability to pick and choose your favourite levels for a custom playlist would have been icing on the cake.

This philosophy of connectedness expands into multiplayer as well. Instead of a distinct multiplayer lobby for each game, there are playlists, both single-game and cross-game. If Halo 2 is your jam, and you want nothing to do with any of the other games, you can dive into one of the Halo 2-exclusive playlists. Or, if you just want to experience Halo multiplayer as a big, expansive thing, you can pick one of the playlists that includes levels and modes from multiple games. The choice is yours.

As far as the games themselves go, there’s not much to report that’s new, with the exception of Halo 2. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4 are identical to their Xbox 360 counterparts, albeit now running natively at a 1080p resolution and 60 FPS frame rate. This is most noticeable in the later games, where the increased resolution and frame rate really make the gorgeous graphics pop. Due to the way Halo: Combat Evolved is programmed, there are some aspects that are hard-wired to run at 30 FPS. So, even though the game itself is refreshing at a higher rate, you get some judder, mainly during cutscenes.

Halo 2: Anniversary, on the other hand, is dramatically improved, getting similar treatment to what Halo: Combat Evolved got with its Anniversary edition. Every level benefits from brand new, higher-resolution textures, improved lighting and sound effects, and a remastered score, breathing new life into the 10-year-old game. What’s more, the cutscenes have been redone entirely, with incredibly detailed, pre-rendered CGI replacing the in-engine cutscenes of old. As with Halo: Combat Evolved’s anniversary edition, you can switch between original and remastered visuals at the press of a button, which really serves to highlight just how much 343 have done.

For all the improvements that Halo: The Master Chief Collection brings to the series, though, one thing is noticeably lacking: gameplay enhancements. The series is beloved for bringing a fresh take to console first-person shooters, with its vast, open battlefields and introduction of things like regenerating health, and nothing has changed here.

But other, smaller things constantly serve to remind you that you’re playing a game that’s seven, ten, or thirteen years old. In singleplayer, you’ll get to deal with unforgiving, poorly placed checkpoints, awkward vehicle controls, and a lack of hit markers or recoil on your aiming reticle. In multiplayer, there’s nothing to discern friend from enemy, other than the colour of their Spartan suit, which is not always instantly evident in darkened rooms.

Of course, all these things get less and less noticeable as you make your way through the games, and the sense of progress in gameplay design that’s on display across the series is interesting. Still, I can’t help but feel that 343 missed an opportunity here to introduce even some little things – hit markers, better checkpoints – to give the games a bit more of a modern feeling. The nostalgia factor is great, but this collection is also going to giving a lot of people their first taste of Halo.

Even with these minor gameplay concerns, Halo: The Master Chief Collection offers the best version of each game contained within – and the fact that there are four games here (complete with four games’ worth of achievement points) for the price of one makes this a thoroughly worthwhile package. Longtime Halo fans get the opportunity to quickly and easily revisit their favourite levels, or jump into a reinvigorated multiplayer; newcomers to the series get the best, most seamless experience of the Halo series.


1 review for Halo: The Master Chief Collection

  1. Anarquía

    Nice and good

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