All In One
Halo is the truest definition of a flagship title if there’s ever been one. In fact there is only one other industry giant that is considered a flagship anything and that’s Mario . Halo was the game that started the Xbox’s journey, shaped the way the world viewed online gaming with Halo 2 , became one of the top selling games in the world with Halo 3 and graced fans with the long desired continuation of the franchise’s true defining character with Halo 4 on the Xbox 360. But there was always something fans wanted, something they felt they would never receive. Not remastered versions of the originals, we had that with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary edition. No the thing fans wanted most was an all in one encompassing disc to pick and choose which Halo they would want to play and when. In fact, it was happening so often to other franchises (albeit some that were less and less deserving of collected editions) but not why give us a packaged deal that would also grant Halo fans the world over to the reason we all clamor for online gameplay, some of the best maps in multiplayer. Microsoft has heard the requests and now we have a solid collection of Master Chief , but is it really worth the wait and the price?
The beautiful thing about this collection is that it holds the entire core Halo titles. The ones about Master Chief specifically. Yes, I was a little upset when they announced the title and saw Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and my personal favorite not in the mix. But maybe in a couple of years we can either get a “here’s the Halo that doesn’t have Master Chief in it” collection – maybe. But I digress–this is after all the weakest complaint one could have about the Master Chief Collection , but I do have some other weak ones. More on that later.
As was noted in the announcement of this collection, players will get the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Remastered edition of the first entry. I played this a while back and was really impressed with the visual upgrade and it holds true here once more. It once again made me think of all the games I have played in the past I would love to see this kind of treatment done to. Because, like the rest, gameplay is retained and you are only getting a visually pleasing upgrade. So why not ensure it is the best to be done? Thankfully this rings louder than I expected it would when talking about Halo 2 .
Let me be clear, I knew Halo 2 ’s anniversary remasterd version was going to be great. I knew going into it that I could expect some great visuals and appealing improvements to the game I played and still enjoy. However, what I received was well above my expectations and a truly pleasant surprise. Before I get to my “squee” moments, Halo 2 at its core is exactly how you remember it. You will find yourself championing Chief all along the way to achieve his goal (well the goal of Halo 2 anyway). The game plays exactly how you remember it, just with a truly jaw dropping upgrade to the cinematics. Knowing how things looked all those years ago, and then to see the advancement made to the cinematics based on next-gen tech truly was like seeing everything for the first time and being sucked back into the world of Halo 2 all over again. I found myself wanting to keep playing Halo 2 just to continue to watch the story unfold with “brand new eyes”.
Unfortunately, Halo 3 did not receive the same treatment. There are some upgrades and some of these are quite noticeable approvingly so. But it is troublesome to see Halo 3 look this way. I understand why the decision was made because it was, after all, just last gen and there shouldn’t be a need for an upgrade, but on the very short end of that stick it should have. If for no other reason than to show consistency in the series. But more so to say this is Chief’s story and it looks damn good from beginning to end and you can’t deny the awesomeness coming from your T.V. right now. This is not to say Halo 3 looks like a train wreck of the trailer park degree, because it still looks as strong as it did when it first came out. But sandwiching it in between the visual strengths of Halo 2 and 4 really draws attention to its lacking areas.
Each game is laid out in an intoxicatingly simple design for you to choose from, with both quickstart and missions option. In Quickstart, beginning the story as a solo Chief, it’s not until you select the Missions option you are able to entertain the option of local co-op. While this is not offensive nor detrimental to choosing co-op there is one thing that I do have another slight issue with. It’s not even the way the missions are cut up in each game for co-op. Nor is it the other random goodies you get to add to your gaming experience before you start. No, my problems lies in the “cheating” way to find out the story thus far in the Halo universe.
Let me clarify. The real issue I have are the prologue and epilogue present in Halo 3 , and even more so in Halo 4 (with the epilogue). I know it shouldn’t be that big of a deal because these games came out years ago, but the fact that in the missions select screen on Halo 4 the description says point blank (I mean major SPOILERS right after this) Cortana is dead and Master Chief has to move on (END SPOILER). Yeah, yeah, I get it, everyone’s already played Halo , but what about those select few who have not? Where will be their surprise, shock and any amount of feeling they will have when this takes place naturally during the course of an unfolding storyline? Like I said this is not a huge issue for me personally, it just seems like a poor decision on someone’s part – Paul we shall say it is Paul’s fault.
But let’s be honest for a moment, most won’t even check out the campaigns of Halo . WE DEMAND MULTIPLAYER, and boy did we get it! All of the maps you know and love are present. However it is important to point out a vital thing for Halo 2 fans: while all have received a graphic update, only a few maps have received that glorious remastered touch. Sure this can be an issue, but imagine for one moment that all of the maps–yes all of them–are accessible through one disc or download. There’s really not much to say about the multiplayer other than I fear will enjoy many, many hours playing it and ignoring important things–like eating.
While I pointed out a few faults in the game, they are nitpicky at best. At its core this is a collection worth the price tag. It’s the franchise that changed an entire generation of gamers. It is the franchise even non- Halo fans want to play. Halo: The Master Chief Collection may not hold all things Halo , but it’s got it where it counts. It’s these areas that I enjoy and look forward to see what’s next. Simply put, there’s no reason for an owner of an Xbox One to not have Halo: The Master Chief Collection , well unless they happen to also be a robot. Robots can’t make good decisions.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.2 Graphics
Beautiful upgrades. 4.0 Control
It’s how you remember them, which is why we still love them. 4.6 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
One of my favorite aspects of all the Halo games. 4.4 Play Value
What you’ve loved for years, all in one convenient package. 4.4 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend|
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid|
2.5 – 2.9 = Average|
3.5 – 3.9 = Good|
4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor|
3.0 – 3.4 = Fair|
4.0 – 4.4 = Great|
5.0 = The Best|