Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Two years later and it works perfectly.

 By Sam Coles:

When Halo The Master Chief Collection was first announced back at E3 of 2014 I was super excited as it had a from the ground up remake of Halo 2, not only that it came with Halo 1, 3 and 4 with frame rates of 60 fps and 1080p resolution. It’s great you can play cleaner versions of the games; however when the game came out it was marred with technical issues such as awful matchmaking where you could be waiting up to an hour for a game coupled with crashes and glitches. It took 343 almost a year to get the into a working state with over 22GBs of patches to fix it, so after all the controversy is it worth picking up for your Xbox One? Yes.

Halo The Master Chief Collection is a package that comes with Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4. Halo 2 has had the most attention as the cutscenes and graphics have been overhauled as this collection was released to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Halo 2. It’s a great way to play through all four games from start to finish whether you are playing it for the first time or you want to do a full Legendary play through from 1-4, you can customise playlists to suit your needs and play style and it’s great. It’s a great way to get into the series if you’re a new Xbox One owner or if you’ve never played a Halo game.

The gameplay is great and it’s interesting to see how the gameplay has changed with each game and how it has evolved or devolved depending on who you’re talking to. The first game was somewhat traditional as a shooter as you have these big wide open spaces exploring and looking for health kits etc. Yes health kits the original Halo did not have regenerating health only your shields will regenerate. Halo 2 was more focused on the narrative with story swapping between two protagonists Master Chief and the Arbiter. Halo 3 felt like the original Halo with the huge and wide open spaces and 4 was heavily focused on the narrative with the relationship between Chief and Cortana.

Multiplayer at launch was a total mess where matchmaking would not work what so ever where I remember waiting for 45 minutes for a match. These issues have been ironed out and it’s fantastic, you can customise playlists from all 4 games which can be a bit jarring switching between gameplay from each game. There is a lot of content when it comes to the multiplayer and the ability to mix the games up keeps everything fresh.

In terms of visuals Halo 2 got the most attention as it was the 10 year anniversary of Halo 2 when the collection came out and it looks amazing where everything has been made from the ground up. The cutscenes done by the folks at Blur Studios look absolutely stunning with new textures and animations coupled with the excellent facial animation.

Not to say that the other games didn’t get a bit of TLC Halo 3 looks vibrant and clear compared to the 360 version the environments really shine in this version although the character models do look blocky. Halo 4 looks like it belongs on the Xbox One with the sharper textures and smooth frame rate, you can really tell that 343 push the limits of what the 360 could do back in 2012 with the visuals, Halo CE looks a bit drab but it’s nice to have a smooth frame rate.

Halo The Master Chief Collection had a rocky start back in 2014 but is the best way to play Halo 1-4, so if you want to play through them again or if you’re new to the series and are an Xbox One owner then this is a good place to start. This game is fairly cheap these days so it’s a bargain of a package.  

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