As I sat down to play Halo: The Master Chief Collection, one thing consistently went through my mind. How long will this game take to install? A 20GB day one patch was the last remaining factor standing between me and some of my greatest childhood memories, and although frustrating, I took this update as a good sign, hoping it signified the large amount of work put into the original games.
After two hours of impatiently waiting, Halo: MCC was finally mine, and thankfully, I wasn’t completely disappointed. However, before we go any further, I believe I should make it abundantly clear that I consider myself to be a blunt and honest reviewer. Now that the air has been cleared, let’s get back to my previous statement, I wasn’t completely disappointed.
Despite the overwhelming anticipation to jump straight into multiplayer, I took it upon myself to resist this urge and assess the campaign appropriately. Initially, I played through Halo: Combat Evolved and to my surprise, I found myself enjoying the 13 year old game more than I expected. With the retention of its good old ‘methodical’ gameplay, as opposed to many modern-day plots that crash along at breakneck speeds only to lead empty spectacles, Halo: The Master Chief Collection reminded me how a campaign is supposed to be created.
343 Industries also implemented a nifty feature that allows players to revert the games graphics back to their original state by simply clicking the ‘view’ button. This component works seamlessly, as one can flash between past and present graphics as fast as their fingers can humanly operate. It’s fascinating to observe and truly shows you the amount of time that has gone into texturing and lighting.
However, once I took my endeavours online, my high expectations slowly began to decline, as I uncovered several aspects that I personally believe 343 Industries rushed. Initially, within my first multiplayer game on Halo 2, I couldn’t help but question where the budget had gone.
Now don’t crucify me! The gameplay felt amazing within the smooth 60 frames per second capabilities of the Xbox One, while still retaining the classic Halo action, yet I remained a little perplexed as to why the updated textures were seemingly excluded from the multiplayer maps.
Within my first game, I was fortunate enough to play alongside a good friend of mine, Hunter ‘Shifty’ Pendygraft, who also happens to be a former professional competitive Halo player. After our time spent online, I was able to obtain Shifty’s initial thoughts surrounding the game;
“Well, as a player that started off in the Halo Community, the first positive that I see with Halo: Master Chief Collection is that the Halo Series has finally made its way to ‘Next Generation Consoles’. The fact that all of the games run in 60 FPS is a nice touch, and makes the games run a lot smoother, while at the same time retaining that "classic" feeling that most of the Halo Community loves! The games all run flawlessly and are beautifully rendered, which is satisfying, both gaming wise and aesthetically.”
“From a competitive standpoint, the game is beautiful. By bringing back two of the best ever competitive games in their original forms, Halo 2 & 3, 343 Industries have made the Pro Halo Community grin from ear to ear at the chance to rekindle our love for the game. What else can I say? It's my personal favourite series of games, all in one disc.”
“However, with all good things, there must be negatives as well. My first complaint is the Matchmaking/Server issues that are currently plaguing the game. For everyone to fully enjoy Halo: MCC's amazing multiplayer, it is essential that players are able to find a match in less than 15 minutes of waiting time in between games.”
“Another negative is that the shot registration and hit detection is still the same. Regardless of what console, players will still be receiving bloodshots online. Sorry to say it.”
“Lastly, I feel that Halo 2 Anniversary has kind of stepped on some player’s toes by taking away the button exploits, such as, double shots, quad shots, etc. However, that is a very minor complaint as the game is still very enjoyable.”
Overall regardless of its flaws, having all of the Halos wrapped into one beautiful package is not only innovative and unique, but very enjoyable to play as well. I personally believe a "Collection" title like this, given that the bugs get straightened out relatively quickly, will bring back everything Halo Players loved about the series and possibly even bring on some bright eyed newcomers!
Despite the minimal flaws, I had a great time playing multiplayer alongside Shifty. Until it happened. The servers were toast. In a futile attempt to get back online, I even sat in a lobby for a ridiculous amount of time, so much so, that I genuinely fell asleep at my desk, only to be woken up by the terrifying sound of ‘SLAYER’ echoing in my headset.
So, unfortunately, as many of you probably already know, at this moment in time there is a large issue with the multiplayer servers. Finding a game is a nightmare and incredibly frustrating for people, like myself, who simply want to play the game. On top of this, as Shifty previously mentioned, there is an issue surrounding the hit detection within the game, however I assume this will be addressed within an upcoming patch. I myself also managed to encounter a sound glitch (only once), in which my gun would produce no noise at all. If anyone else has experienced this make sure to comment below.
My only other issue surrounding Halo: The Master Chief Collection is whether it was necessary and appropriate to include all four games within the collection. The reason I say this is due to the fact that every time there was a choice between a Halo 3 map and any other map within the franchise, Halo 3 would get selected. Although it’s been well documented that I’m a strong advocate of Halo 3, my concern is solely based upon the competitive scene. I hope MCC doesn’t result in stagnation within the community, with Halo 3 once again becoming the title of choice, except this time around it’s on next gen. Ideally, MCC will maintain its role as a fan collection, to be enjoyed for several years to come, as we prepare for a new competitive title, Halo 5.
To summarise, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a beautiful re-mastering of the classic series we all know and love. A gorgeous celebration of its 13 year life span, minus a few mishaps (Halo: Reach).
If you enjoyed this article then make sure to follow me on Twitter: @jameslilley_EU
Also follow Shifty: @Shifty_sE
And as always follow Gfinity: @Gfinity