Halo: The Master Chief Collection
3D3 Industries, Xbox Game Studio
Boy, is this compilation of games a whopper! In total, the Halo: The Master Chief Collectionincludes 65+ campaign missions and around 120 multiplayer maps. I’ve reviewed each of them in chronological order (along with their pluses and minuses) according to the series lore.
By the way, this series can be played in up to 4K resolutions, in HDR, and uncapped framerates with total mouse and keyboard support. In short, if you love shooters you’ll be in heaven.
This is the starting point. Halo Reach is a stand-alone prequel story to the Master Chief’s (the main protagonist) journey. It puts you in the armored suit of a new member of an elite Spartan squad that tries to save planet Reach, which is a human colony. The first contact is a story about loss and defeat, and strength of the spirit.
- The visual aesthetics blend vibrant colors and environments, chunky, pseudo-realistic military models, and unique alien architecture, creating a look that still impresses today.
- Overall the AI is weak, both for the many mobs and for your companions.
- Missions are short and storytelling is too rapid. Characters aren’t developed and you don’t feel empathy for them during cathartic moments.
HALO COMBAT EVOLVED ANNIVERSARY
After Halo Reach, Halo Combat Evolved is the real beginning. It introduces you to the Master Chief and all of his combat capabilities. The maps are huge sandboxes. The first impression is that this game defines the overall series’ design along with its triumvirate of guns, grenades, and melee attacks.
The game aged “kind of” well. Overall, both the storytelling and rhythm are slow and confusing for newcomers but it is a 2001 game.
- This anniversary edition got some nice remastered graphical overhauls, you can switch between both new and old graphics by pressing the TAB button. It’s a really nice addition to be able to compare between the two graphical styles.
- Without any maps or landmarks, the exploration of some of this game’s huge maps can be a pain.
HALO 2 ANNIVERSARY
This anniversary edition is a total remake and makeover of the original. Other than adding dual-wielded weapons, greater story ambitions, and a heavier multiplayer focus, this sequel just rocks in general. The storytelling is at its highest point here and the game’s rhythm is breathtaking. Overall it paves the ground to the next games that follow.
- The graphical overhaul is magnificent and the cinematic cutscenes between missions look like they are out of a movie.
- Other than the fact that the game doesn’t have subtitles I can’t find anything bad to say.
Halo 3 introduced map editing, more equipment, and bigger levels but not much else. Overall, I’d say that this is the worst game in the collection, but it has a good ending to the first chapter of the Master Chief’s story.
- The graphics are colorful and the level design is well made, with smaller areas and some scripted elements. Gameplay immersion is heavier here, with less third-person narration and more interactive elements.
- Poor optimization and a heavy quality drop from the second game, this game is not an evolution from the second one, but merely a repetitive follow up. It features the same gameplay and plot design of the first two games—the same enemies, same alliances, same betrayals, even the timing predictable as well.
Finally, we can take off the Master Chief’s helmet and rest…right? Nope. ODST is a spin-off, a more story-driven open approach to the HALO franchise. The game takes place between the events of the second and third titles and you can explore a neighborhood of Mombasa city during the Covenant invasion. You can also choose which quests you want to play.
- I love the UAC helmet function that adds night vision and “friend or foe” targeting to the combat system, mostly because almost all the action is during the night, or in dark areas.
- There’s more freedom but less content—it’s the shortest game of the series and gives you less combat variety.
Finally, we have an evolution in plot design. Forget the boring flood; forget the brutes, and forget the Covenant…no wait. Take the Covenant back because the Master Chief needs enemies. This fourth, and final title of the Master Chief Collection, is a masterpiece of storytelling variety. It’s up there—filled with cinematic cutscenes, relatable enemies, and a great ending.
- The gameplay is fun, really fun. It has a lot of variety both in terms of weapons and in cars, tanks, helicopters, and planes. Its maps are huge and well built, which makes them open to different approaches.
- The Master Chief now has more sophisticated character movements and abilities, Enemy AI is sharp and learns from you. It makes enemies follow you and try to kill you without leaving you a moment to rest or recharge your shields. Overall, Halo 4 is not only a success but a bar-raising triumph for the entire first-person shooter genre.
With around 120 maps, you can dip into a plethora of competitive modes or play the Spartan Ops co-op levels (only with friends, shame). You can also level up your character and customize their loadout and gear as you gain experience. You may be on the Red or Blue team in competitive matches, but your custom Spartan will show off all your customizations in co-op.
As my introduction to the Halo franchise, this bundle is a stunning entry point to one of the most beloved videogames series of all times, and now I can see why.
The Halo Master Chief Collection is a refined, huge batch of content that successfully links three generations of astonishing games, all together. It’s worth it every penny…and much more.
Halo: The Master Chief Collectionhas some pretty amazing graphics that make its shooter gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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