Some things just aren’t done; rifling through your mothers knicker-drawer, inappropriately caressing the penguins at Chester Zoo, or wearing a SS outfit to a christening for example. Defending Halo: The Master Chief Collection is another such thing; a game which caused a bigger stink on release than a skip full of spoiled sea-food. However, guess what; that’s just what I’m about to do, so steel yourself.
A few caveats and important contextual points first though. Firstly, I wouldn’t count myself as a fan-boy (yukk…hate that term) of either the Halo series or Xbox. I have bought all the Halo games so far but I have no huge investment in the lore, I just enjoy a quality shooter. As for Microsoft, its probably fair to say that it took until the recent E3 to get them back on track, after a tumultuous start to this console generation; full of poor decisions (like always online) and a focus away from games, towards entertainment, which has benefited Sony’s game focused approach no end (well done Sony). So whilst certain elements of the following may appear as apologist in nature, that’s not the intention, just to give the game credit where credit is due.
Furthermore it is perhaps ludicrous to try and salvage any good will towards the MCC’s online PvP multiplayer. It is absolutely essential to get people on board multiplayer from day one and the matchmaking issues have the the online community broken and bereft of a good player base to work from. I didn’t buy MCC primarily for PvP so I was less offended but some members of GameOnDaily team are still fuming about it…. and with good reason. If you did buy MCC for PvP, it is likely the damage is done and no amount of impassioned defence of the rest of the game will take away the sour taste in your mouth.
If you did buy MCC for PvP, it is likely the damage is done and no amount of impassioned defence of the rest of the game will take away the sour taste in your mouth.
OK, so-far-so-bad right? Well yes….. but I bought for all the other things on the disc and turns out these are really rather spiffing. MCC contains an absolute treasure trove of content; Four full campaigns (with option to cheaply download ODST also) which can be played traditionally or in a challenge mode, the extensive and enjoyable Spartan Ops with its 50 missions and the wave-defence mode Firefight. All of these modes can be played either single player or Co-op and also using split-screen.
The amount of content on display means that 8 months on, I am still playing this game and enjoying it immensely. Not constantly mind, but not a week goes by without me whacking it in the disc tray and firing up a couple of round of Spartan Ops or a Campaign mission.
The amount of content on display means that 8 months on, I am still playing this game and enjoying it immensely.
Thing is, its not just the amount of content but also the quality (see my review link here). Halo 1-4 are variable in their standards and some Halo fans may for instance dislike 4 (I like it as do some of my gaming comrades), but speaking as objectively as possible, they are all good campaigns. ODST isn’t a fan favorite but compared to the market of shooters out there, it compares very favorably. Spartan Ops mission structure may be relatively samey but its still better than a lot the majority of FPS campaigns out there….. and its just a bonus feature. As for Firefight, whilst the Horde mode has become more tired than a knackered tractor, it’s still one of the best examples of this game type out there.
OK, fair enough the graphics are not always AAA but that’s the nature of remasters and Halo 2 and Halo 4 in particular look fantastic on the One. The other titles may not be graphical powerhouses compared to the best the current gen has to offer but when the core gameplay is so sound, it doesn’t really matter.
Halo’s gameplay was so elegant and well conceived to start with that its barely had to change in over 15 years. The only thing which really ages the titles is the sometimes repetitive level structure in the first couple of games but truth be told it’s no worse than many modern shooters.
Simply Put MCC’s content has barely aged, and in fact with the increasingly bombastic nature of action games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, a game which is fairly decent but borderline incoherent in it’s approach to action, Halo is starting to show the advantage in a less-is-more approach. There are other option apart from getting bigger and louder with your explosions after all and they can still be exciting. Halo is the George Clooney of video-games, aging gracefully but retaining all its charm.
The MCC currently costs between £17 and £25 to buy; surely only the most churlish of you would argue that this is not worth a punt? Now MCC has been out a while and been patched all to hell, the online connectivity issues are gone and you are left with a fine collection of games easily worth £40.
Halo is the George Clooney of video-games, aging gracefully but retaining all its charm.
In summary, did 343 mess up with the release of the MCC? Absolutely. Should they have been taken to task for these transgressions? Yep and they were rightly bent over a barrel and given a good rogering by the Halo community. However does this mean that MCC should be written off? Absolutely not.
I would urge you to put aside your hatred for the parties involved and examine Halo: Master Chief Collection in a fresh light. Dust has settled, tempers have calmed (mostly) and whats left is a great collection of campaigns and Co-op titles. The PvP and the community will never really recover but if you can live with that, you may just find one of the best titles on the Xbox One and dismissing the MCC based on its multi-player being a bit lacking is tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bath water. I hereby promote this game to an 8/10 from it’s previous score, and say it is almost a must buy.
Thanks for reading.