Halo has been around for over a decade, it was the game that defined and saved the Xbox two generations ago. The game has spawned numerous sequels and has made more money than some Hollywood blockbusters. The franchise as a whole has also gone through several developers, the original Bungie moving onto their Destiny, and 343 who now holds the mantel. 343 has been doing a great job, Halo 4 was a smash success, and this Collection will be an amazing centerpiece for any Xbox One owner. The disc or download that you will purchase nets you Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 4 and hundreds of multiplayer maps. The monumental content in this game will keep you from enjoying other games on your docket. Master Chief has not lost his luster over the past decade, he’s only getting shinier and this Collection has me looking forward to Halo 5.
The first item on my list that I dived into right away was the Halo campaign, sadly 343 didn’t beef this version up to Xbox One standards, but it was really nice to play it with 360 graphics and the ability to change to original Xbox graphics. I found myself doing that quite often, flipping back and forth, which caused me to die multiple times. The game plays just as well as it did 12 years ago, the controls are tight, the weapons are great and the Warthogs are epic. Then, without beating Halo, blasphemy I know, I went on to the Halo 2 campaign to see the set piece for this Collection.
A lot of time went into revamping Halo 2 for the Xbox One, and it shows. The graphics look great as do the cut scenes, and the controls are as perfect as they were a decade ago. 343 Studios was even nice enough to toss in some cut scenes that link Halo 5 to the original trilogy, which will definitely pique interest in the most astute Halo players. I also took a look at Halo 3 and Halo 4, and I was somewhat disappointed in their transference, perhaps it is my fault, but I was under the assumption that 343 had remastered all of the games for the Xbox One, not just Halo 2. While I was let down that there was no graphical upgrade for 3 and 4, that was not a deal breaker. The games are still masterpieces, maybe 343 will remaster them for the Xbox Two in ten years.
At first I dabbled in the campaigns solo, then some buddies to joined me in the co-op campaigns. Years ago I beat Halo 3 on Legendary with some friends and I remember loving every minute of it. Things had not changed, I played through missions with my friends on the hardest levels and honed my Covenant killing skills. I also attempted a few couch co-op levels with my second controller, I have no one to play with so I tried to direct Master Chief and friend around, which was difficult, but I wanted to see how it played, and it played just fine, aside from my clumsy fingers. This co-op adds hours and hours of gameplay onto an already massive amount. There are 45 campaign missions that you can play solo, or with friends, and after you beat them once you can try with Skulls active and on different degrees of difficulty to beat certain challenges. These challenges consist of time trials and high scores, all of which add to hefty content.
At launch time the matchmaking system was broken for multiplayer, I received my copy after the patch had been released, so it extended my install time by days it seemed. Thankfully after a certain point in the install I was allowed to play the campaigns, sadly multiplayer was the last thing to install, so I had to bide my time with the excellent campaigns as I watched the install percentage number slowly grow. The wait was totally worth it. I jumped in on the Team Slayer lobby, and since 343 hadn’t quite perfected the matchmaking yet, I waited for a good ten minutes. During this time the lobby searched for players and once the players were selected we were thrown into an original Halo map. The map wasn’t upgraded visually, but it was still so much fun to play. I died a lot, but always with a huge grin on my face because it was such a blast. Unfortunately, I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the multiplayer maps and games, but I can’t wait until I can dive back in and see how poorly I do against a human enemy.
The Master Chief Collection is a game that everyone Xbox One owner and every Halo fan needs to own. The memories that are unleashed when the music fires up, replaying those campaigns from yesteryear and blowing away the Covenant with friends almost brings one to tears. I cannot gush about this Collection enough: it has hours and hours of entertainment for your hard earned money, it has four of the best first person shooters ever created, and it has the multiplayer that put XboxLive on the map. I plan on spending lots of my holiday season with Master Chief fighting The Flood, and so should you.