AT LAST, HALO: THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION FULFILS ITS POTENTIAL
Better late than never.       




COMMENTARY

By JAY TEE
18/11/20

It’s not sh*t anymore! Yay!  

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As the old saying goes: “A delayed game is eventually good, but something announced in 2014 will one day achieve greatness”. Despite rampant paraphrasing, and the complete butchering of Miyamoto’s infamous edict, it’s safe to say that it has been a long road getting from there to here. But November 17th 2020 will forever be known as the day that Halo: The Master Chief Collection would no longer be deemed a piping hot mess.

In fact, I’d go much further. It’s probably the most seamless, well presented, and comprehensive game compilation ever released. A bold statement, to be sure, given the litany of issues that have plagued this albatross since it first graced the Xbox One with its glitchy, poorly optimised, disappointing presence. Unifying generations of vastly opposing shooters was always going to be a Herculean feat, and as it turned out, it was apparently even harder to pull off than that.

Yet this is a time for celebration, where Spartan-117’s saga is no longer constrained by an idealistic, messy adaptation. The drip feed of PC ports, culminating in the launch of Halo 4 and the Series X/S optimised patches, sees the MCC rise from the ashes to deliver an experience that really should have been available from the outset.

The differences are transformative on numerous levels, and that begins with the addition of cross play. For console players fearful of mouse & keyboard wizards ruining their fun, input based matchmaking is available. But as someone who is fairly decent on a game pad, I didn’t once find it spoiling the broth. Keeping the player pool as broad as possible significantly lowered the barrier of entry, and I never struggled to find a match of my choosing.

That’s a huge improvement over its launch state, where sometimes 5+ minutes would be required to sync up a lobby in even the most popular ranked playlists. Diving back in to the criminally underrated Halo 4 was like riding a well worn, but trusty bike. Infinity Slayer is still the pinnacle of FFA’s iterative development, and the complete lack of 5’s silly dodge mechanic and ninja like mobility tickled my nostalgic happy place.

The bump to 4K60 in two player split screen, and the option for 120fps, are a revelation on console, especially within the various campaigns. These games have never looked or run better, and now their genre defining art styles are being visually represented with maximum splendour. I didn’t expect to find myself a week into the next generation of gaming salivating over relics renewed, but here we are.

In some respects, that speaks more to the absence of Halo Infinite than anything else. It’s (necessary and understandable) delay cast a long shadow over the Series X/S launch window, with MS forced to rely on technical re imaginings of its ever strengthening first party output to tide people over. So while we wait for the next wave of big releases, do yourself a favour and give these classics another shot. Justice is served.  





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