Crazy fool, why do you always jump?
Presentation: 7/10 It’s subjective. On one hand you have a collection of some of the best first-person shooters ever made on a single disc, looking, sounding, and playing better than ever. On the other, you get networking problems, technical hiccups, and spots where the whole sections of the games fail to preserve their original sense of scale and dramatic weight. The networking is all kinds of wonky in particular. Half of the time I can either get into a party with a friend or a game session but not both, and getting into a matchmaking game is tedious and a true test of patience as finding enough players can take ages. On top of all that, the customization of your multiplayer avatar has been dumbed down to only being able to wear full sets of armor instead of mixing different permutations. Worse yet, they rarely show up in the middle of actual matches.
Gameplay: 10/10 When everything is working perfectly it’s easy to see why this franchise was seen as being so revolutionary in it’s day. Between the dramatic pacing of these stories and the memorial battles that take place, it’s easy to understand why more titles in this genre made an effort to be more like Halo. Halo 2 and Halo 3 stand out spectacularly in this department while Halo: CEA is still a classic albeit, noticeably aged experience, and Halo 4 feels nearly out of place as the first in 343 Industries brand of Halo games. A universal control scheme ties it all together in a seamless fashion and the 60 frames per-second really helps things. When all kinds of human and covenant weapons start firing in multiple directions you can really tell the difference and I don’t imagine I’ll want to play an FPS at a lower frame-rate ever again. It’s that profound.
Thought I’d try shooting my way out.
Graphics: 9/10 The original graphics are the best they have ever looked, Thats to say, they range from dated, to ugly, but it’s still easy to see how they were considered AAA for there time. Most of the problems have to do with the actual art-style inconsistency between the games. The original graphics of Halo 2 and Halo 3 could be two parts to the same game, bombing around in war-torn cities and far-off worlds is where Halo is at home, and it’s never more apparent than in those games. On the flip-side, Halo 4 has a a very clean, straightforward, and “new” feel to it while Halo: CEA retains its more lived-in atmosphere with the alien-world feel to it all. In order to save time with Halo 2, 343i borrowed several art assets from Halo 4, and it leads to a few instances of losing your sense of time passed within the lore. Seeing the Halo 4 warthog model in Halo 2 Anniversary really takes you out of the experience and is a small but dramatic oversight. Technically, nothing is pushing the Xbox One in any real way here but I can’t imagine these games looking any better than they already do.
Sound: 9/10 The games sound as good as they ever have, but it’s not without it’s feelings of missed opportunity and intrusiveness. Liberties taken with changing some of the finer nuances of the original Halo sound in the Anniversary editions underhandedly change the way whole sections of the game feel. They’re worth a listen, but it’s hard to say if the changes are really that good. Some sections of Halo 2 especially were known for shutting up and letting the music do the talking. I loved these moments. It’s a real shame that the gentle voices of a quire while riding an underwater elevator are now drowned by an orchestra and babbling A.I. Really, all the iconic music may have been best left alone going forward. Luckily both the new sound and graphics can be toggled on and off on a whim. I just wish I didn’t have to play whole sections of Halo 2 on old graphics just because the audio is tied to it’s visual generation. I can’t stand some of the new stuff.
Less drums, more guitar.
Value: 9/10 Is this game worth the asking price? In short, yes. The first three of these games can be considered true classics of the genre and still stand as some of the best shooters ever made, and Halo 4 is a good way to get a feel of the direction 343i is taking the franchise. The changes made have both good and bad elements to them but there’s something here for every shooter fan. If you’ve long since burnt out on the franchise this might play to your nostalgia enough to buy in. For everyone else, if you’ve ever been a Halo fan, a FPS fan, or just enjoy action games, and getting alot of mileage for you money, you can’t go wrong with Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Warts and all.
Heres to making things right.
- Graphical Updates
- Great Value
- Online Connectivity Issues
- Recycled Assets