Halo: The Master Chief Collection is now out in the wild, and while it’s suffering from some intolerable matchmaking issues post launch, it’s still a fantastic collection of games that has plenty of content to keep you busy while 343 gets its shit together with the matchmaking component. It truly is a shame that players still can’t get into a reliable multiplayer match using the matchmaking system, and the delay is somewhat inexcusable, but I still stand by my initial review and would so even if there wasn’t a multiplayer component. The campaigns are beautifully remastered, especially Halo 2, and there is a ton of extra content that is packed full of interesting Halo themed content to check out.
If you’re struggling to connect to a matchmade multiplayer game we have four alternative activities you can embark on in Halo: The Master Chief Collection to realize how stellar the collection is. None of these recommendations require matchmaking, so you’ll be free to experience them the next time you boot up the game.
4. Custom Multiplayer Matches
This recommendation completely relies on your friends list and if you have enough of them on there that also have Halo: The Master Chief Collection. If you do, then you’re in luck! You can fire up a custom multiplayer match on any of the available maps, set your own rules, and then have a blast with your own group of friends. Considering Halo 1 was essentially a local multiplayer game that required friends to be in the same room as you, or at least at the same location, then these custom games will feel like a modern homage to Halo 1’s groundbreaking multiplayer. Hell, you can even just play on Halo 1 classic maps and relive 2001 all over again! It’s not matchmaking, but it’s Halo multiplayer with your friends, so fun will be had by all, well, except for your really sucky friends who dominate the bottom of the match rankings.
3. Halo 2 Anniversary Campaign
Like I mentioned earlier, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is an amazing game with tons of value just based on the four included campaigns, but the Halo 2 Anniversary campaign is definitely a stand out. 343 with the help of Blur studios have remade all of the cutscenes with current-gen flare, and they look so awesome that they make a great case for having a CGI animated Halo film green lit. The actual game itself has been upgraded as well with new visuals, updated sound design, 1080p resolution, and 60fps of awesomeness. The ability to fast toggle between the old and new visuals is also a nice touch, and a great example of just how much work 343 put into remaking one of the greatest Halo games of all-time. The story is also fantastic, and well worth experiencing all over again, especially if you haven’t played the campaign since 2004.
2. Campaign Playlists
343 has created a brand new playlist system for Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s campaigns and it’s a fantastic way to replay many of the missions, or full on runs through each game. Each campaign has its own set of playlists that range from difficulty based runs to the infamous LASO runs, which entail turning on all skulls and playing on the Legendary difficulty setting. Other playlists are rooted in fan favorite missions, vehicle only missions, UNSC missions, Flood missions, and many more varieties. When you factor in the cross game playlists, which take missions from each campaign and lump them into one coherent list, there are hours upon hours of content to relive in a new way that will also reward you with plenty of achievements. If you really want to put yourself to the test you should fire up the Legendary Master Chief Collection playlist in the cross game section, which requires you to play all 45 campaign missions with over twenty skulls active on Legendary. Have fun with that you masochists!
1. Dive into the Extras section
Halo: The Master Chief Collection easily has the most expansive Extras section I’ve ever seen in a video game. It’s packed full of engaging content that any Halo fan will appreciate, and it also serves as a great repository for Halo lore. The Halo: Nightfall live-action series is embedded in this section and uses the Halo TV app, which is actually quite functional and offers a very interactive experience while watching the videos by providing bonus scenes and extra content. Nightfall kicked off its five week run today with the premiere episode. The acting won’t garner any Oscar attention, but the content is solid and offers a cool look at what can be done in a live-action Halo project.
The Extras section, by way of Halo TV, also has every single Halo terminal video to watch, which all provide great lore to supplement the overarching narrative that has been woven over the past four Master Chief-centric titles. You can also watch the Blur Studios Halo 2 Anniversary cutscenes in full here, as well as a documentary on the making of the game. That’s not all you’ll find on Halo TV though. There are also Halo 101 videos to cover characters like the Arbiter and Master Chief, as well as map breakdowns for the various multiplayer locations included in the collection. You can even re-watch all of the Spartan Ops cutscenes from Halo 4!
The Extras section really is impressive and full of content to help pass the time while 343 gets the matchmaking issues ironed out. There really is a ton of non-matchmaking content to explore, so back out of the endless connecting loop and give a few of these recommendations a try.
You can stay on top of the matchmaking issues via 343’s official update site.
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