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Review: Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Since his arrival on the Xbox in November 2001, Master Chief has become one of gaming’s most iconic characters. The enhanced super soldier has been at the forefront of the Halo series, which has provided some of gaming’s most memorable moments in its 13 year history. Following months of rumours, Microsoft confirmed at E3 2014 that 343 Industries would be working on Halo: The Master Chief Collection – a compilation of the four Halo titles, remastered especially for the Xbox One.

Upon booting up the collection for the first time, there’s a real sense of nostalgia as the ever familiar tones of Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori’s “Opening Suite” and “Truth and Reconciliation Suite” play over the menus. That nostalgia oozes throughout the collection, as the Master Chief makes his debut on the latest generation of gaming.

The Halo: Master Chief Collection contains the four major Halo titles, each of which has been given a light makeover by 343 Industries. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4 have all received a number of minor improvements, mainly on the graphical front. However, the most exciting inclusion for fans of the series is Halo 2: Anniversary.

Halo 2 has been fully remastered especially for the Xbox One. The Anniversary edition, which is the highlight of the collection, contains additional content (in the form of a new prologue and epilogue), as well as a high-definition resolution and improved audio and graphics. The result is a final product that is on par with a number of the Xbox One’s best offerings and could easily have been launched as a standalone game.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection allows players to access any of the campaign missions from each of the game’s campaigns straight out of the box. This is ideal for gamers who want to carry on where they left off or for those who are looking to replay specific moments from the campaigns.

However, this is not just a quickly thrown together bundle; not by a long shot. 343 Industries has gone one step further with the addition of playlists, allowing missions across all four titles to be grouped together based on a specific filter. For example: gamers can play all of the missions involving vehicles back-to-back or make their way through a playlist of all the missions which feature the Flood. There are a lot of customisation options, allowing players to personalise their Halo experience.

The nostalgia of Halo: The Master Chief Collection continues through to the multiplayer, which is just as enjoyable as it was back in the day. Across the online play for the four titles, there are over 90 multiplayer maps, as well as a range of features such as Forge (the map editor), the replay theatre, customisable game modes and more. It’s the complete package for the Halo elites.

While the title has suffered from severe matchmaking issues since its release, the multiplayer remains as solid as ever. The combination of well designed maps and strong game modes provides one of the most enjoyable multiplayer experiences, even in this modern era of gaming.

This may not come as a surprise to some, but all of the content in Halo: The Master Chief Collection has fully withstood the test of time. The sheer quality of the games is still evident, even in this modern era of gaming.

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