hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

343 Industries

Review: Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Nov 07 // Chris Carter
Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox One)Developer: 343 IndustriesPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease:  November 11, 2014MSRP: $59.99 After booting it up, Halo: The Master Chief Collection gives you the keys to the kingdom right off the bat. Instantly accessible are all four campaigns (with local or online co-op), multiplayer, and the extras menu. The latter includes all of the Halo TV content, a spot to change online profile settings, and the Forge and Theater modes. That's, well, that's a lot of stuff to sift through, so let's start with the campaign, shall we? From the start, every single mission is unlocked. While this sounds like a small caveat, it's actually a very welcome mechanic that will allow long-time fans to skip their least favorite levels and get right into the good stuff. Also, the game's larger cutscenes can be viewed in the mission select menu to easily rewatch later. That's something most will probably want to do that over and over for particularly special clips such as the brand new remastered Halo 2 FMVs. While the original Halo doesn't look as good as its successors even with the resolution upgrade on the Xbox One, there's no denying that it's a timeless classic. From its memorable campaign to some of the best multiplayer maps of all time, Halo: Combat Evolved is a game that people won't stop talking about for decades. It was a joy to replay the campaign again, marveling at the toggle between "old" and "new" visuals, which is instantaneous in Master Chief Collection. For those that have never played a Halo game before, the campaign still holds up, and the silky smooth framerate will no doubt alleviate any concerns that this has become too dated. [embed]282966:56231:0[/embed] Halo 2 is the golden boy of the package though, and it is fully remastered beyond the capabilities of what 343 Industries did in 2011 on the Xbox 360. The most dramatic effect is the completely redone cutscenes -- a night and day difference when directly compared to the original game's in-house visuals. When I first replayed the campaign, I was utterly confused as to what I was watching until I pressed the Back button and realized just how incredible the upgrade was. That jaw-dropping effect carries over into the regular campaign, which is even more fun than the original in some respects. This is thanks to the addition of the memorable Arbiter character, and a greater look at the overall lore and races of the Halo universe. Halo 2 took the concept of the Ringworld device from Combat Evolved and expanded the galaxy tenfold, and it was a pleasure to relive the experience yet again. On the other hand, Halo 3 is my least favorite of the core games. It basically took what Halo 2 did in terms of raising the stakes off of one location, but it lacks a lot of the surprise and charm from the second go-around. This is definitely one story that I skipped around a lot, foregoing specific missions that were either too tedious or not inspiring enough to replay. Where Halo 3 really shines is in multiplayer, as it features some of the best maps in the series. The brilliance of Master Chief Collection is that it allows players to simply watch the story scenes and skip right to Halo 4 if they want. Although it was polarizing at release, I can definitively say that Halo 4 still holds up for me. The stark shift to the Forerunner conflict was a huge breath of fresh air, especially after Halo 3. This switch is particularly evident after playing the first three titles back-to-back, and I think people will appreciate the unique aesthetic and playstyle of Halo 4 more after experiencing them together. While I'm okay with the omission of the disappointing Halo: Reach, ODST would have made this package even more amazing. But, the sheer quality of these four games, whether it's by way of their campaigns or multiplayer maps, stands on its own. Master Chief Collection is presented in such a way that everything is linked through one menu that can be accessed from within any game. This is where universal options can be tweaked, but it also allows for specific customization to any given title. Love inverted controls for Halo 1 but hate them for Halo 2, 3, and 4 for some reason? That can be altered permanently. Fancy using the Call of Duty style right-analog click for melee in every game? That can be switched to apply for every game. There's also the ability to auto-mute everyone in multiplayer as a default, and to set online avatars for each game. This amount of customization is not only welcome on a console, but mostly unprecedented. The individual campaigns are each impressive in their own right, but multiplayer's where most will find themselves spending most of their time. After all, that's the thing that's going to keep everyone playing for more than a few weeks. With all of the claims and promises, I'm pleased to say that 343 Industries didn't take a half-measure with this collection in terms of preserving the original Halo experience; this is definitive. Hell, even the levels from the PC version of the original Halo are included in all their glory. For anyone that had a classic moment with any core Halo game, it can be relived here. There are playlists upon playlists: Capture the Flag, King of the Kill, Oddball, Races, Infection, Flood -- it's all there. Not every gametype is playable in every title, but if it was in the original, it's in that respective list. In the sessions I had, online play was very smooth, and each game had their own authentic signature style without feeling too jarring jumping from one game to the next. The matchmaking system is set to go live next week and will feature the Trueskill ranking system from Halo 2. We will update with a report of how things are going during launch week. Since Halo 2 is getting the royal treatment, it also has a small selection of completely remastered maps which employ a vastly upgraded visual style that is accessible from a different playlist. While the maps are a visual treat, this is essentially my only major problem with Master Chief Collection. Not only did 343 not take the time to remaster every map in the game, but it's also confined to a different section. It's an odd decision, as the isolation goes against the concept of cohesiveness that the Master Chief Collection sets out to accomplish. Making matters worse, the actual list is less exciting with such a small pool of maps. Another relatively underwhelming extra feature is the "Playlists" section from the main menu. This boils down to a hand-picked selection of campaign missions that fit certain themes, like "daring escapes" and "vehicle heavy" levels. The only bright spot with playlists is the cross-game capability, which lets players experience similar stories across multiple titles. It would have been more impactful if all of these levels were heavily modified in some way to make them worth playing again, but fortunately, it doesn't detract from the overwhelming amount of content in the core game. Digging through the menus, the features go on and on. Forge is back for every game outside of Halo: Combat Evolved. With the new visual updates it's easier than ever to craft new modified versions of favorite levels. Theater is equally great, as it allows rewatching of past matches and the option to find new ones online. Lastly, Halo TV is integrated, as is the Halo Nightfall series, the Halo 5: Guardians beta, and Halo 4's Spartan Ops mode -- all of which aren't live at the time of writing. The prospect of completing the whopping 4,000 Gamerscore will also terrify and excite hardcore fans. While I think I would have given up playing a Halo 2 remaster on its own after a few months, The Master Chief Collection will keep me busy for quite a while. The sheer number of maps, variants, playlists, and rulesets will keep me interested for months on end. I can already envision myself joining groups of friends who only like particular games, forming separate communities within the collection. Not only that, but this is also the perfect way to replay each campaign if I ever get the itch instead of finding multiple discs. This is the new gold standard for remakes. Well done, 343 Industries.
Halo Collection review photo
The master of remasters
Although Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary was a noble effort to remaster the original game that brought first-person shooters on consoles into a post-Goldeneye era, I couldn't help but feel a bit underwhelmed by the over...

Halo 2 documentary photo
Halo 2 documentary

I didn't make it all the way through the Halo 2 documentary


'Remaking the Legend - Halo 2: Anniversary'
Nov 04
// Jordan Devore
343 and Run Studios' hour-long Halo 2: Anniversary documentary is now up on YouTube. I enjoyed the first 20 minutes, a nostalgic look at the original game and its sequel with fun behind-the-scenes tidbits sprinkled throughou...
Halo multiplayer photo
Halo multiplayer

Master Chief Collection's multiplayer ranking system is just like Halo 2's


No 'master' ranking
Oct 31
// Brett Makedonski
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is going to include a whole lot of multiplayer action. That's what happens when you cram four separate games into one bundle -- all of them renowned for their competitive play. As such, ...
Halo 2 photo
Halo 2

Halo 2 Anniversary's new cutscenes look so damn good


Well done, Blur
Oct 29
// Jordan Devore
Blur Studio has been killing it lately. You might not know the company by name, but as someone who plays modern videogames you'll surely recognize the company's visual effects. When Halo 2 Anniversary debuts in The Master Ch...
Halo photo
Halo

The Master Chief Collection's remastered Halo 2 maps look beautiful


Check out Coagulation
Oct 28
// Chris Carter
Microsoft is calling Blood Gulch, and its successor Coagulation, the quintessential multiplayer Halo map, and I have to agree. After spending hundreds of hours playing LAN games in the original Halo on it, it was easily ...
Halo 2 Anniversary photo
Halo 2 Anniversary

I'm down for this Halo 2 Anniversary making-of documentary


'Remaking the Legend'
Oct 20
// Jordan Devore
You may have heard that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will require a 20GB day-one update, but did you also know that there's a documentary for Halo 2 Anniversary, one of the games in this compilation, on the way? (I hope...
Halo Achievements photo
Halo Achievements

It's going to take so long to unlock every Achievement in Halo: The Master Chief Collection


There's, uh, more than 400 of them
Oct 10
// Jordan Devore
After looking over IGN's full list of Achievements in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, yeah, I won't be earning all 4,000 (!) Gamerscore points. Hell, I knew that after reading the literal first Achievement description: "Co...
Halo 4 photo
Halo 4

343 Industries fixes Halo 4 achievement glitch...after months of waiting


Terrible
Oct 10
// Chris Carter
In the grand scheme of things, achievements don't really matter a whole lot, but if they're included in games, you probably expect them to...work. Well that wasn't the case with eight achievements in Halo 4, which were comple...
Halo photo
Halo

Warlock is the final Master Chief Collection map to be revamped


A fan favorite
Oct 08
// Brett Makedonski
Six maps from Halo 2 are being given preferential treatment when Halo: The Master Chief Collection releases on November 11. The previously revealed ones are Ascension, Coagulation, Zanzibar, Sanctuary, and Lockout. ...
Halo photo
Halo

Halo: CE's PC-only maps will be in The Master Chief Collection


That pose!
Oct 03
// Jordan Devore
In a short FAQ on its blog, 343 Industries notes that the maps previously exclusive to Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 on PC will in fact be a part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Weapons like the Fuel Rod Gun and Flame...
 photo
Wort wort wort!
I recently got to check out Halo: The Master Chief Collection at an Xbox event, which gave me a big ol' happy, because I love me some sweet, sweet Covie-killing action. In 343 Industries' presentation, they spent half of the...

Halo 2 MP photo
Hit markers, grenade indicators, nit pickers
343 Industries has shown off about an hour of the re-mastered Sanctuary and Ascension maps from Halo 2: Anniversary, which is one part of the Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Halo 1-4) coming to Xbox One in November. 

The Halo Channel is a huge indicator of Microsoft's plans for the franchise

Aug 14 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]279449:55232:0[/embed] Videogames aren't just about playing games anymore. They're about being an inclusive experience through all methods of media consumption. They're a service. That's unabashedly apparent with The Halo Channel. It's an easy prospect for skeptics to guffaw at, but anyone that wants to be immersed in everything Halo would be hard-pressed to find a better place to do it. Microsoft's branding the channel as an "interactive digital network." All of those claims are true. 343 Industries is putting an emphasis on two-way communication -- not only can it deliver its message to you, but you can deliver your message to it and all of your social contacts. After all, conversation helps things grow; it's how a stagnant experience turns into a talking point. Maybe the key to The Halo Channel is the balance of passive and active activities for users. The active ones are obvious, but still somewhat nuanced. Want to simply play Halo? Hop into a game from the network's hub. Watching a match and fancy some multiplayer of your own? The exact game type that you were viewing can be instantly set up, turning you from a spectator to a player in seconds. However, it's the passive aspect of The Halo Channel that will really justify its existence. The channel will boast a video on-demand service along with a continuous rotation of programs. Microsoft's keen on producing a lot of unique video content that strengthens the Halo lore, so there's sure to be no shortage of shows to watch. With the videogame industry putting more and more emphasis on eSports all the time, 343's direction with The Halo Channel might be a good indicator of its approach to the subject with regard to Halo. 343 producer Kiki Wolfkill explained that the studio's "doubling down" on Halo as a spectator sport. Twitch will be integrated to the channel so players can watch matches at any time, and as mentioned previously jump into similar matches at a moment's notice. When asked what 343's future plans for Halo as a competitive eSport are, the team sort of dodged the question, but remarked that Halo 2 would be well-suited for that kind of thing. Whatever happens with all aspects of the franchise in the future, The Halo Channel is 343 and Microsoft's way of ensuring that fans stay invested and interested in the present. It'll be fairly easily accessible, as it's coming to Xbox One and Windows 8 devices soon, with plans to release on Windows phones sometime down the line. It might be an ambitious project for a singular brand, but if there's one in Xbox's arsenal worthy of the honor, it's Halo. And, if it's as simple, streamlined, and packed with content as it looked to be during the presentation, Halo fans won't need to go anywhere else to get their fix.
Halo Channel photo
Games as a service
Xbox's flagship franchise isn't something that Microsoft's going to stray from anytime soon. Why would it? If there was any doubt about Halo's lasting appeal, it was dashed with the E3 reveal of Halo: The Master Chief Collect...

 photo

It's the return of Sanctuary in Halo: The Master Chief Collection


Good for competitive mataches
Aug 12
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Lots of Halo news today, but this should be the last of it for now. Check out the updated return of Sanctuary that you'll be able to experience in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. 
Halo photo
Halo

You get 12 inches of pure Master Chief with the UK-only Mjolnir Edition of Halo: Master Chief Collection


I think Halo is a pretty cool guy...
Aug 07
// Brittany Vincent
The Halo: The Master Chief Collection Mjolnir Edition has been revealed and includes a 12-inch Master Chief figure made by Artfx. The figure has two sets of interchangeable arms so you can pose Master Chief all nonchalant wit...
 photo

Zanzibar gets reimagined for Halo: The Master Chief Collection


Blur does great stuff
Jul 25
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Halo's presence at San Diego Comic-Con continued today with some new details on Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The team at 343 and Certain Affinity showed off for the first time the re-mastered Zanzibar map from Halo 2. ...
Halo photo
Halo

Here's our debut look at Halo: Nightfall


Digital series streaming this November on Xbox Live
Jul 24
// Jordan Devore
Ridley Scott is executive producing Halo: Nightfall, a live-action digital series that will bridge the gap between Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. The latter game prominently features a new character, "legendary manhunter" Jam...
Halo photo
Halo

Check out the full Halo: Master Chief Collection RTX panel here


Shiny, happy Master Chief
Jul 09
// Brittany Vincent
We all miss big events. It happens. But if you weren't able to make it to RTX this past weekend but are still jonesing for some Halo: The Master Chief Collection tidbits, the entire panel is now available to watch in its ent...
 photo
They probably shouldn't tinker with the multiplayer
During 343 Industries' stint at RTX 2014, they announced some multiplayer game modes which will appear in Halo 2: Anniversary Edition, coming by way of the Halo: Master Chief Collection to the Xbox One this Fall. They also announced a modified version of Halo 2's Mongoose vehicle, called the Gungoose.

Gungoose photo
Gungoose

Halo 2 gets the Mongoose with a gun in Master Chief Collection


Introducing the Gungoose
Jul 07
// Brett Makedonski
When Microsoft revealed Halo: The Master Chief Collection at E3, it mentioned that Halo 2 would get the anniversary treatment to commemorate ten years since its release. One of the ways this will happen is through t...
Halo Xbox One Collection photo
Halo Xbox One Collection

This new Halo: Master Chief Collection trailer is sexy


Thanks mostly to the silky smooth voice of Keith David
Jul 05
// Kyle MacGregor
A new trailer for Halo: The Master Chief Collection featuring the voice of actor Keith David's Arbiter was unveiled today at the Rooster Teeth Expo in Austin, Texas. The debut took place as part of a panel, hosted by de...
 photo
Coming to you from my living room
Here's some very flaccid news in the wake of E3 -- Destiny's Alpha is over, with a Beta next month. The game'll be a Sony exclusive in Japan. The new dude from Halo 5: Guardians has been named Agent Locke, and he'll be i...

Guardians of Ga'Hoole photo
Guardians of Ga'Hoole

Agent Locke is Master Chief's Spartan foil in Halo 5: Guardians


Ha-owl-o 5: Guardians of Ga'Hoole
Jun 17
// Steven Hansen
While Chief boasts top-billing in Halo 5: Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Agent Locke (pictured above) will have a "key role" in the proceedings, 343 studio boss Bonnie Ross told Eurogamer. Apparently Ridley Scott's digital serie...
Halo 2 HD comparisons photo
Halo 2 HD comparisons

Halo 2: Anniversary comparison hits right in the nostalgia


A full decade of technology has done wonders
Jun 09
// Brett Zeidler
As part of the Master Chief Collection that was announced this morning, Halo 2: Anniversary is getting a fully remastered face lift just as Halo: Combat Evolved did three years ago with Halo: Anniversary. So, the game lo...
Halo 5 beta photo
Multiplayer beta access with pre-orders
Folks who pre-order Halo: The Master Chief Collection will gain entry to the multiplayer beta for Halo 5: Guardians this December, as announced during Microsoft's E3 media briefing. A short CG trailer was shown which promise...

 photo
Plus, an excuse to show clips from Akira
There's been a whole bunch of interesting stuff to talk about in the last week! Halo 5: Guardians has been announced for 2015, Far Cry 4 is coming this fall, Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction has been rebranded as Bombshell, Tom ...

Oculus photo
Oculus

Oculus hires former 343 Industries and id Software art director


Brought on to build the first-party content team
May 15
// Jordan Devore
Bunch of Oculus VR hiring news as of late. Here's more: art director Kenneth Scott, formerly of 343 Industries and id Software, is on board. His hire is notable, at least in my mind, as being part of the Oculus' first-party c...
 photo

Ridley Scott attached to a Halo live-action project


Totally separate from the Halo thing Steven Spielberg is working on
Apr 03
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
There's a Halo movie in the works. Yes, another one. This one is sees Ridley Scott as executive producer, with Battlestar Galactica director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan on board as well. The series is expect to follow the same forma...
Halo photo
Halo

A Halo game is headed to Steam next week, but it's Spartan Assault


Well, shoot
Mar 27
// Jordan Devore
How desperate does Microsoft think we are to play anything Halo on Steam? We'll see if the company's decision to bring Halo: Spartan Assault to the platform next week pays off, I suppose. This overhead dual-stick shooter will...
 photo

Let's take a look at some of the new Halo toys


A Halo 2 specific Master Chief? Hmm ...
Feb 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
New York Toy Fair took place last week, and the official Halo Twitter showed off some of the upcoming toys we can expect. Highlights include Master Chief wearing the cloak from the Halo 5 teaser, an electronic Mantis with wir...

  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -