Master Chief is back in his first outing to the Xbox One and while it may not be a new adventure it is one that fans of the franchise have been looking forward to. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is, as the name implies, a collection of all of the Chief's greatest adventures, including Halo CE: Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4 as well as a whole lot of other features and goodies. Halo: The Master Chief Collection was created by 343 industries and released exclusively on Xbox One on the 11th of November
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a love letter to the fans of Master Chief. In this collection you follow Master Chiefs exploits as you play through the four main games in the Halo series. Master Chief is a Spartan, an elite genetically enhanced super soldier, who while on board the Pillar of Autumn and escaping the Covenant attack on Reach stumble upon a Halo ring. The series from there focuses on the exploits of Master Chief and his A.I. partner Cortana as they explore the Halo and learn of their secrets and a strange unknown foe. In Halo 4 you follow Chief as a strange foe from the past, the Didact, and begin his adventure in the first installment of the Reclaimer trilogy.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection has the original game engines of Halo 1, 2, 3, and 4 inbuilt, this means that that experience you had playing Halo, even as far back to the first games original release for the original Xbox in 2001, will be the same except for some additions. Halo: The Master Chief Collection has a single unified main menu which allows players to easily access any of the campaign missions from either of the four games or enter matchmaking where you can fight against other Spartans on over 100 multiplayer maps including all DLC maps from previous games. Another unifying feature of Halo MCC is the ability to set a control scheme that will be constant throughout all campaign levels and multiplayer modes, this is especially fortunate so you don't have to keep relearning controls between matches. Now that all of the games have been unified you are also able to play pre-made playlists that are themed to follow Master Chief's journey or you can create your own. Examples of preset campaign playlists are levels with vehicles, where you play the vehicle heavy missions, or even a great escapes playlist with the final levels of the first three games, worst of them all is the LASO Collection playlist where you have to play through the entirety of the Master Chief Collection Legendary All Skulls On.
One of the biggest parts of the Halo Master Chief Collection is the visual upgrade, from original graphics and resolutions 343 industries has made a game that was already pretty even prettier. Halo CE: Anniversary is a game that has kept its upgrade from its Xbox 360 release, a noticeable change is that now that the hardware that the engine and two graphic sets are running on is more powerful the switch between graphical styles is instant. In Halo CE: Anniversary for Xbox 360 there would be a delay where the screen would fade to black and switch graphics between new and old, this was a nice feature but made it impossible to use if you needed to see what you were doing. Halo 2 had the most attention paid to it in the Master Chief Collection as the graphical upheaval have brought that 10 year old game into the new generation with the same on the fly switching option that Halo CE: Anniversary received. The cut scenes have been worked completely from the ground up by Blur studios, also known for the cinematic trailers for games such as Batman: Arkham franchise and The Old Republic, creating 58 minutes of cinematic that will astound you. Unlike in Halo CE: Anniversary in Halo 2: Anniversary you are able to trigger the graphical change during any of these cut scenes to really show how much has changed. Halo 3 and Halo 4 have not had any specific upheavals on the new system but due to the increased hardware and the upscale in resolution they still shine in a new light in the Master Chief Collection.
Halo CE: Anniversary, like with its prior release, has been given an anniversary musical treatment which you can decide when selecting a level to play if you wish to have the original musical score or the remastered audio play as you are fighting the covenant. Halo 2: Anniversary has also been given an additional audio track including all background music, audio effects and voices. The differences between the Halo CE and Halo 2 anniversary is that to change the audio track for Halo 2 you don't need to head back to the menu to change the music options as it toggles with the graphical changes whenever you want it. The audio and soundtrack for Halo 3 and Halo 4 is remaining the same as it did in the previous releases of the games. There are some strange times when audio cuts in or out or even layers over one another, this can be distracting at times but usually corrects itself before too long.
Multiplayer in Halo: Master Chief Collection is astounding and vast and at the time of writing still finding it's feet. Campaign multiplayers allows you to play Halo CE and Halo 2 with a friend and allows you to play Halo 3 and Halo 4 with up to three friends. In the competitive multiplayer you are able to play on one of the 100+ halo maps from the previous games, including DLC maps too. Six of the Halo 2 maps have been given the anniversary treatment with changes, some examples would be Bloodline as the new Blood gulch, and these maps also have new interactive elements like a large bubble shield on Zenith. Other additions to the multiplayer is the gungoose vehicle, basically the mongoose with machine guns on the front. Apart from the graphical changes the gameplay is still the same as in the original games, just like in the campaign this is due to the original game engine running even if in a playlist you hop from Halo 2: Anniversary to Halo 4 and then back to classic Halo 2. At the time of writing the matchmaking is still being worked on for matching times but 343 industries and Xbox are currently working on fixing this issue.
Halo: Master Chief Collection also comes with beta access to Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer, this will only be available to the public from the 29th of December till mid January and will be given it's own preview on its release.
Halo Master Chief Collection is everything a fan of the franchise could ask for, a chance to play a great series of games all in one place without needing to bring out the old Xbox 360. The collection breaths new life into the old games with updated everything and an incredibly impressive number of achievements meant to challenge you to play these old levels in new and interesting ways. If you are a fan of the franchise and you want all that Halo goodness all in one place then this is a must to pick up!
This game was purchased by the reviewer and reviewed on the Xbox One