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Halo: The Master Chief Collection Review

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection Review

Post by GTA V Moderator:Jessie345 on Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:15 am

Release Date: November 11 2014
Platforms available on: Xbox One
Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: First-person shooter

It shouldn't be a surprise, but it really is - the first three Halo games hold up absurdly well. In fact, going back to them is a genuinely refreshing experience - what with most modern first-person shooters being formulaic, corridor-based greyathons with all the imagination and wonder of a dead carp.

Actually it's almost daunting, going back to the original Halo and realizing just a couple of levels in that it's more open than your aging memory allowed you to remember. You're free to explore, to a limited extent, and those objectives can be completed in the order you wish.

Just that loosening of the reigns - something that, at the time, was merely a nod to the PC-based shooters that had influenced Halo - feels so utterly liberating. It shouldn't, because it's not like we're talking Grand Theft Auto levels of freedom here, but it does. That's just a sign of the times.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection packages the first four Halo games on Xbox One


Anyway: what is Halo: The Master Chief Collection? Well, it's a collection  of Halo games  starring Master Chief  - the original Halo and Halo 2 from the first Xbox, as well as Halo 3 and Halo 4 from the Xbox 360 era.

Beyond the games - more on them in a bit, don't worry - there's a load of other stuff for you to mess around with, look at, tinker with and so on. Playlists let you tackle certain varieties of mission from across the four games - or play through every single Halo mission in order,

Every single game hasn't had its actual mechanics fiddled with in any way. This is the Halo we all know and love.

But the games are the real attraction - bundled together in what a cynic might call a cash-grab, what with The Master Chief Collection coming out just before Christmas and all. But we say fie to the cynic, because there's a lot of effort that's gone into this.

Just because it's released at the opportune moneymaking moment doesn't make this bundle of Master Chiefs any less fun. Because - make no bones (or skulls) about it - this is a selection of great games that hold up superbly. (Halo 4, mind, I can take or leave). The first game is presented in its Anniversary edition guise, with reworked visuals that can be reverted to the old (still pretty) ones at the push of a button.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection packages the first four Halo games on Xbox One


The second game has had its own Anniversary-style touch-up carried out specially for the collection, and it's probably the best example of the fact there is effort put into the package. Not only is it purdy, again with graphics that can be switched out at the press of a button, but it has new cutscenes that are even purdier and help explain the story better.

The third and fourth games have been dragged up to 1080p, but other than that remain largely unchanged - and every single game hasn't had its actual mechanics fiddled with in any way. This is the Halo we all know and love.

So that means in Halo: Combat Evolved you're still getting the excitement of the Silent Cartographer alongside the trudge of the Library; you're again battling through New Mombasa, loving every second of annihilating everything in your tank - contrasting with the still-disappointing ending of Halo 2; Halo 3 still has that ridiculous final level, but is nevertheless one of the best shooter experiences out there; and then there's Halo 4.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection packages the first four Halo games on Xbox One


Multiplayer comes back, too - and just like the offline games it includes everything the originals had with them, along with a few shined-up maps for Halo 2. That means you've got 90+ maps, customisable modes, a replay theatre, the Forge (with functionality added for Halo 2) and... well, dozens of hours of having your backside handed to you by people who've been playing the game in multiplayer for over a decade. If you're anything like me, that is.

While it's still to be seen how it all performs out in the wild, our time with the game - tested with a real internet connection against players all over the world, though admittedly with very few people online at any one time - was fine. Good, even. Smooth, straightforward, no hitches - but an annoying tendency of those we were playing against to select Halo 3 maps. That's not the game's fault, mind.

The bar has been raised for remakes, remasters and collections of old games slapped together to bring in a quick buck.

Compared to the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield, Halo online definitely feels looser - and slower. It can devolve into matches of two teams bouncing around with the series' classic low gravity in tow, lobbing grenades with gay abandon and seeing teammates get picked off with unnerving accuracy by an opposition that you struggle to believe isn't cheating.

Then again, it can be some of the best fun you can have online, just like it always was. A few friends together, a balanced couple of teams and a game of capture the flag on Blood Gulch was formative in the multiplayer experiences of many a player - and it still holds up. That's testament to the quality on show throughout here.


Last edited by GTA V Moderator:Jessie345 on Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:22 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fixing)
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