Halo Master Chief Collection: Opportunity Missed

I’ve been playing the multiplayer for ‘Halo Master Chief Collection’ recently. It’s all of the original Halo games bundled as one, with Halo 2 remastered for the Xbox One. The other games have been upscaled, and the original Halo game brings with it the Xbox 360 visual update it received in 2011.

I was excited when I first heard that the online versions of all the games were going to be included, with every map that’s ever been added (I’m not one for buying DLC, so a lot of these were new to me).

Unfortunately the multiplayer side of things is one big opportunity missed. Rather than take the latest, most refined gameplay elements from Halo 4 and let you play in any map, the game actually loads the version of the game that the map originally came with. I know that might sound obvious, but I was looking forward to playing Halo 4 online, but in some of the revamped Halo 2 maps, or original Halo maps.

I’m sure there’s technical reasons why it wouldn’t be easy to do this, but the experience would have been far greater. At the moment if you join a playlist such as ‘Big Team Battle’, you could end up one of 41 maps, which could run in one of 4 different game engines. Your weapons look different, extra abilities aren’t available, even the height of your jump is slightly different. Why should a user care about different game engines? How are they supposed to learn the game when it’s different everytime, for no other than technical reason?


Want to play your favourite map ‘Ragnarok’? Roll the dice, you have a 1 in 41 chance.


That brings me to my other main complaint, which is that the playlists are too huge and it’s not easy to select which maps you want to play. Team Fortress Classic managed this back in 1999 by showing a list of games, their current map, and the number of players. Take ‘Big Team Battle’ again. This playlist has over 40 maps in it that could randomly get selected. How is anyone suppose to master a map (really get to know the environment, and all of it’s hidden features) when they’re getting one of 41 random chooses in each game?

I’m sure there’s a reason for this, the developers want to make sure a wide selection of maps get played perhaps? Maybe they want to reduce the complexity of the user interface? Whatever it may be, I think being able to choose a map is crucial. Players tend to gravitate towards their favourite maps (take 2fort and rock2 in Team Fortress Classic), surely this is vital feedback for what works? Yes, you can create your own custom games of course, but these only seen to be open to Xbox Live party members.

So in my view, this game is a massive opportunity missed. Buy this game for it’s single player modes, not for the multiplayer.

Halo Reach

OK so I am a little late to the party with this review, I like to wait until the price of an Xbox game comes down in price before shelling out for it.

I’ve been playing Halo Reach a lot over the Christmas period and I am really enjoying it. I was a huge fan of the original Halo, the story and simplicity (there were only 6 or 7 weapons) and nonstop action. Yes some of the levels were repetitive (I remember one level, where you had to get to the top of a building fighting The Flood, and each floor was essentially the same, meaning you did the same over and over level 5 or 6 times!) but others like the wide-open second level where you drove around the planet Halo were ground-braking for an FPS. Halo 2 was more of the same, now with dual-wielding and some more weapons, and multiplayer. What I didn’t like was playing as someone other than the Masterchief , I lost interest during these parts. Halo 3 was for me, more Halo 2 with prettier graphics and better online play. The story didn’t really grab my attention, possibly due to the parts I’d blanked out while playing Halo 2 and me not knowing what on earth was going on except there were enemies to shoot. ODST was a return to form for me, a totally new set of characters in a rich, dark, film-noir (Blade Runner-esque) atmosphere and good backstory that compelled me to keep playing.

The good

Halo Reach takes the good parts of ODST’s story and gameplay, but adds some new features such as jetpacks and the sprint ability. What makes a big difference between it and say, Halo 3 is the story seems to grab my attention and gives me a reason so shoot all those

Covenant. The levels are also very varied and don’t get boring. The multiplayer is rock-solid too, unlike Halo 3, I don’t seem to end up getting shot from out of nowhere every 10 seconds – it seems more well balanced.

The bad

Not all is good however. Only 2 months after its release, Bungie are expecting loyal fans to pay more for some extra maps in order to enjoy the full online experience. I am all for additional content that can be purchased, but it seems that these days games developers hold back content specifically and then sell you it a few months later. I wouldn’t mind if we were 1 or 2 years down the line but to release it so soon just makes me think that nowadays when you buy a game, you actually get 90% of it and can expect to pay another ~£7 in points to get the full experience in 2 or 3 months time. I have also seen the new maps being bundled with the game in shops for the same price as the original, further penalising the loyal fans who go out and buy this stuff when it comes out.


The game is great, and will provide hours of fun. There is plenty of replay value, not just with the online play, but also the solo campaign which can be played on multiple difficulties and with friends. I am slightly annoyed about the additional maps being released so soon (they should have come with the game), but I wouldn’t that spoil what is the best Halo game to date and one of the best shooters of the 360.