You’d think it wouldn’t be hard to put together an anniversary collection for a series like Halo. Just stick the games into one package, make sure the multiplayer works, do some refining here and there, and boom. You’ve got a Halo collection. It’s undoubtedly more complicated than that, but that’s the basic idea of it.
The Master Chief Collection didn’t quite manage that. When it first launched, it was honestly kind of embarrassing! The multiplayer was a mess, the campaigns were busted, and the collection itself only functioned at the best of times. Worse yet: it took 343 years to get around to actually sit down and update it. Hell, they didn’t even try until they started work on the PC port!
Granted, they’ve put the pedal to the metal! All six games are now on PC, along with tons of gameplay refinements and extra content. It’s undeniable that the game is in a better state than it ever has been.
Question is: is it finally all we had hoped it would be? Well… almost.
This game contains six total games: Halo 1-4, Reach, and ODST. This includes all their single player and multiplayer offerings, from PVP to Firefight. And in my experience, these work really well! They’re not perfect; there are some graphical differences over the originals and the occasional glitch. But overall, they’re pretty solid ports.
They even added some unique challenges to add a bit of replay value. Some of these are simple, from beating certain levels to killing enough enemies with a specific weapon type. They’re not much, but they add a nice incentive to experiment with things you normally wouldn’t try.
They’re also the best way to get unlocks, provided you don’t wanna do multiplayer. And hoo boy, are there plenty of unlocks! Armor parts, colors, avatars, nameplates, everything you’d expect from a modern day multiplayer game. We even get tons of new stuff, like new armor pieces for Halo Reach and 3 and skins for weapons and vehicles! Some of these are pretty dumb, but others are really fun! You can turn the assault rifle into a squirt gun and the warthog into the Jurassic Park car!
If only those applied in single player…
Unfortunately, the multiplayer offerings are still riddled with problems. While the games themselves still run pretty well, actual control over the matches is a problem. Custom games are still a huge pain to set up and join, if you can join them at all. Matchmaking is an absolute nightmare. Hopping into multiplayer as it is is like gambling; how much fun will I have today?
In terms of game modes, you can only select them by broad criteria. Slayer modes, capture the flag, goofy games, so on and so forth. As for the specific rules or the map you play on, that’s mostly out of your control. So you’ll be playing on the same maps over and over and over again with virtually no hope of getting one you want. And if you hate the map you’re stuck with, then tough shit! That’s what the game chose!
Matchmaking is the worst. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the best players in the game or one of the worst. You’ll be paired up with anyone. If you’re brand new, you’ll end up stuck with dudes who have been playing for thousands of hours already. Sometimes, this may work out in your favor. But chances of that are slim. More often than not, you’ll end up getting completely obliterated.
This will inevitably cause rage quitting. Unfortunately, there are no options for joining games in progress. So if you’re getting fucked and over half of your team has quit, prepare for a long and torturous experience. One with no hope of rescue.
And no rage quitting if you want those sweet unlocks!
If you’re looking for an easy way to replay the Halo campaigns, this collection is a solid choice. But if you’re in the market for that glorious multiplayer, you might be disappointed. Not that there’s no hope; they’ve been rolling out update after update at a reasonably quick pace. Maybe they’ll make it more tolerable soon!
Or they’ll shrug and focus entirely on Infinite. Money’s on the ladder.