Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Very Pretty, Bug Addled Mess - Halo: The Master Chief Collection Ryview

Halo: The Master Chief Collection, by 343 Industries.

My Rycommendation (How have I not already been adding that "y"?): The games are solid, and I love Halo. And Halo 2 has never looked so amazing. But the UI is littered with bugs, transition problems, and a dead multiplayer. I'd still recommend buying it but there's no rush until the Halo 5 beta comes out (if that works!).

So, you're probably well aware of my love affair with Halo (if you're not, I have a love affair with Halo. Now you know!). I want to clarify that I love each and every one of these campaigns, and I think the core gameplay is still there. However, this game has some serious problems right now.

Let's start with the obvious one that everyone has been very vocal about: matchmaking is essentially non-existent. I haven't been able to connect to any games yet, and I've tried several times. It really pisses me off because one of the biggest draws for me was to play the classic multiplayers. I started with Reach, so I never got to experience the Halo 2 multiplayer in its original form. I really wanted that chance, but now it looks like I'll have to wait even longer for it.

Looks like I can't get slaughtered by Rocket Launchers just yet. [1]

But, even setting that aside, there have been numerous occasions where I'll be somewhere in the various menus, unable to navigate back. I'll set up a custom game, and I can't go back to the previous screen. It's like the game won't let me move on. Last night I finished a custom match and I was stuck on the results screen for 10 minutes, not frozen, but unable to go to anything useful.

And playing the campaign missions is quite frustrating, because after you finish a mission, there's no option for anything but "start the next level". Hitting the damn B button sends you forward, and that's your only option. No "return to menu", no "do something else", just start the next mission. And when I play a mission and I'm ready to be done, I don't want to have to sit through the damn loading time for the next mission. I'm not playing it right now, let me leave!

Try to leave now, you bastards! [2]

The terminals in Halo 2 don't seem to load a video, they just bring up the Halo channel and stop there. Sometimes I'm able to return to my game, sometimes I'm not. Halo: Nightfall had similar problems for me in the Halo Channel, frequently the video wouldn't load or finding the actual play button in the mountain of vertical menus just got to be too difficult.

That being said, being able to play Halo on the Xbox One is a real treat, and Halo 2 looks fantastic. The cutscenes add a meaningful flare to the game, and the new music mixing is much louder, giving the game a nice in the moment feeling. Halo 1 is just as polished as before in the anniversary edition, but now you can switch gameplay to the old graphics without the fade time, which is very appreciated. And 3 and 4 are both there too.

So hideous...

Having everything in one location will pay off in the end, especially with the built in playlists and the possibility to create your own. And if the multiplayer actually starts working ,it's a really cool setup to be able to jump from one game to the next to seamlessly. So lots of unrealized potential at this point.

I'd say it's definitely worth the buy, but don't expect it to operate smoothly until a few patches come out. Play the campaigns, enjoy how realistic Johnson's cigars look, and enjoy some local custom game fun for now. The rest isn't ready yet.


Time Value
Money Value
Final Score

Until next time,


Images courtesy of Wikipedia except where sourced

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