Halo: The Master Chief Collection Review
Halo: The Master Chief Collection Box Art
System: Xbox One
Dev: 343 Studios
Pub: Microsoft
Release: November 11, 2014
Players: 1-16
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Language, Violence
All In One
by Matt Walker

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.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Screenshot

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.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Screenshot

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.

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