Halo is possibly one of the most influential games of all time. Later iterations, unfortunately, forced players into one of two camps: you loved Halo, devoting hours to it, or you moved onto greener pastures. I have always enjoyed each Halo game (yes even the RTS game). So when I heard that the Xbox One was getting the Halo: Master Chief Collection with all of the core games from the franchise, I had to own it. I was hesitant because I’d been disappointed with previous remakes—like the terrible multiplayer settings in the Halo: Combat Evolved remake. I immediately checked out multiplayer when I fired up Halo: Master Chief Collection. I was instantly thrown back into the glory days—sitting around a TV with friends, playing split screen Halo with custom game types.
Halo 1 in the Master Chief Collection is, at its core, essentially the same remake from a few years ago, but with improved multiplayer. One of the biggest improvements is the game’s frames per second—60fps. This is a big step-up from the original remake, and it even allows you to switch between the original graphics and the new, updated ones. It brought back the feeling of turning up the graphics on your old PC and experiencing a favorite game in higher resolution.
This time around Halo 2 gets the remake treatment, plus some bonus material to connect it to the new Halo: Guardians game out next year. Just like in the remake for halo 1 you can also switch between new and old graphics in halo 2. Which was one of my favorite things in the halo 1 remake and was glad to see it here again. They even recorded all-new audio; it not only got a new graphics paint job, but an audio one too. I still remember the midnight opening for Halo 2, a few scraggly nerds outside Walmart sharing gamertags, discussing all of the cool new stuff we’d hoped would be in the new game. It’s worth playing through this one again.
Out of all the Halo games in the Master Chief Collection, Halo 3 still shows its age. This isn’t really a bad thing. While Halo 3 wasn’t my favorite, it was nice to finally get to the end of the Halo storyline. The Halo 2 storyline was a bit disappointing, so it was good to have the franchise grounded back on Earth.
I was surprised at how great Halo 4 looked in this collection. My one hold up was with characters’ introduction. They didn’t really give much backstory, and unless you’d played the games through, you didn’t understand the significance of some of the characters.
Halo: Master Chief Collection multiplayer is set up by game and type, and they’ve introduced special playlists. One of the craziest playlists (the one that I’ve spent the most time with) is the Team Slayer playlist. This playlist has maps from Halo, Halo 2 (Halo 2: Combat Evolved), and Halo 3. You can use the playlists in all the games (hopping between them), so it really tests your abilities as an online gamer. The playlists are mixed up in different ways too. You can play all of the last levels in each Halo game, or you can go hardcore and play each game on Legendary. My biggest complaint with the multiplayer content is the fact that there is no firefight mode. They also exclude the side campaigns from Halo 4 (the Spartan Ops). The did keep forge mode from Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4. I never messed with forge mode (besides occasionally playing a created map), I know a lot of people did so it’s nice to see it included.
The Xbox One controller feels clunky when you’re playing through the Halo games. There are several instances when the reaction time on the analog sticks seemed slower than it did on the Xbox 360 (and even the original Xbox).
Overall this collection is great for people who still enjoy Halo. While it does feel dated, and some of the magic is definitely gone, I really enjoyed being able to play old favorites again.
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The Bottom Line