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Halo: The Master Chief Collection Review

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Bungie and 343i’s iconic franchise returns to the next-gen stage in one stunning collection designed to please almost all, if not every Halo fan on planet Earth with an Xbox One this Fall. Containing all of the legendary games featuring Master Chief (this means excluding Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach), you have every single chapter of Halo 1, 2, 3 and 4 at your disposal in addition to every single multiplayer map ever made. To keep the game as a 1-disc shipment, a 15GB update is required for those who want to play the best multiplayer games on Xbox LIVE. I don’t see this as an issue considering if you are online with an internet connection then downloading should not be a problem, saving all the necessary campaign content for disc – and you do get to play and keep the flaming helmet in Halo 3 made famous for Bungie staff only on Xbox 360!

The traditional Halo menu system with all previous left-sided options has been replaced for a series of drop down selections and slides to make navigation as seamless as possible between games. With such a huge collection of content to hand, finding what you want, when you want has never been easier. It’s quite a simplistic system of choices by Campaign, Multiplayer, Playlists, Options & Career, and Extras. With each selection opening up further choices by title, map, and rather impressive is a new cross-play playlist to play well remembered parts of different Halo titles straight off as one chunk of gameplay action. Whether you want to focus on Hogs, Jets, Tanks and Mechs – or the final escape from each title then it has now all be made possible. This collection is about re-living memories and moments that made an impact on your love of Halo and Xbox, with next gen touch ups to the main engine of each and solid, fluid gameplay at 60FPS – replaying Halo all over again feels like an entirely new experience on Xbox One.

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The driving force behind the collection is undoubtedly the remake of Halo 2; do you remember the outrage at closing down the original Xbox servers forcing Halo 2 online to its sudden death? With the remake of Halo Combat Evolved, Halo 2 Anniversary was always ‘that’ rumour, or for many, a wish, a hope, a chance to replay a classic game in a whole new skin – and now that day is here. In the same tradition of Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary which was released three years ago on the Xbox 360, Halo 2 Anniversary also has a seamless old vs remade graphics switching on the fly. This transition of old vs new is such a realism check on how far gaming has evolved since the early days of Halo, but in the newest Anniversary edition cut-scenes too have been completely remade from the ground up and taking advantage of next-gen capabilities allowing them to look as amazing as your mind can only imagine. This leaves something to be admired in terms of the upcoming Halo 5, because if Halo 2 cut-scenes can look this good on Xbox One, just how bloody amazing will Halo 5 look! Since, touching on the subject of Halo 5, do not forget that the Beta is only available through Halo: The Master Chief Collection this coming December as for those with the game will notice its presence in the Extra’s menu! Just sat there teasing you with an image.

When the campaign of Halo is as majestic as it is and millions around the globe having already played it many times over in the last ten years and more, Halo 2 Anniversary truly is like reliving the magic all over again as every detail you remember re-skinned, from the very floor tiles to the stars in the sky – it’s all new and shiny, with a very current feel!  Gamers who joined the Xbox brand from the Xbox 360 days may have never played Halo 2 and if they haven’t upgraded yet to an Xbox One – they still might never play Halo 2! The early Halo games are a pinnacle in the story lines that gave rise to the continuation in to Halo 4 and upcoming Halo 5: Guardians. A real “miss it or miss out” game and if you’ve enjoyed all other Halo’s then rather than cling on to the Xbox 360 for every last day it has left in its life – go out and get your Xbox One if only for this collection alone!

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Halo 2 itself was originally released in 2004 seeing out the Xbox original in its last year, but was quite rightly the most popular game on Xbox LIVE until Gears of War was released on Xbox 360 in 2006. That’s two whole years of LIVE domination and before the rise of Call of Duty, the FPS king of gaming was always that of Halo. The story campaign plays out in alternate plot lines between an early Master Chief, and a Covenant Elite called the Arbiter, who also made the transition to Halo 3 as a co-op playable character. So, if you’ve ever wondered about how the Arbiter branched into the first chapter of Halo 3 – you need to play and relive the story through Halo 2 Anniversary which has a visual quality now far greater than ant of its predecessors thanks to the overwhelming power of Xbox One. Halo 2 has been revamped and brought back to life in a very eye-catching way, so much so that it could even be considered a current game on Xbox One, it’s a grand job well done from 343 industries.

Other Halo games in the Halo: The Master Chief Collection, that includes Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4 are all Xbox 360 editions that now take advantage of improvements to the game engine running on Xbox One with clearer detail and more fluid gameplay – and it is clearly evident in the frame rates. Whilst Halo Combat Evolved and Halo 3 campaign do not appear much more visually enhanced than what you would normally see on Xbox 360, Halo 4 on the other hand looks far cleaner, brighter, smoother detail enough to make you sit up and realise that lighting and textures appear to be enhanced in some way.  The main benefits of all four halo games together as one collection has to be being able to jump right into any mission from any game instead of having to play your selected game through from beginning to end to keep chapters you’ve played. 343i have really opened up Halo as a whole allowing for cross-game playlists as mentioned earlier and also being able to compete in challenges, Leaderboards and make it a real social experience with friends over Xbox LIVE.

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One of the burning questions you might ask is about Customisation; with so many Halo games and each with their own unique styles for multiplayer – it’s natural to think about how has this been adapted for one huge collection as this.  The customisation options are all linked together in the Options and Careers menu that allows you to edit your online multiplayer settings for each game, Player ID, Career Stats Viewing, My Files for Map Variants, Films and Screenshots, controller Settings and Leaderboards, all linked into the same menu system. Character customisation allows you to edit your player for Hale Combat Evolved, Halo 2 & Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4 independently. The best options for Halo 3 and Halo 4 include all the Armors unlocked from the start; this allows you to play with a Flaming Helmet in Halo 3 that was never previously available outside of Bungie Employees, and no need to earn unlock rewards in Halo 4 as the mass of Armor is readily available to you without earning CR points. It’s simply about choosing what you think suits you best. This also applies to colour options too, but it’s all a little different for Player ID and NamePlates.

Player ID’s are those shapes and symbols used to display on your Service Record where you can mix and match emblems, where as NamePlates are the background displays showing a game logo or associated icon. To get access to these you need to complete certain challenges within each title and then a notification will appear alerting you to check for new unlocked items. If you want to edit your own Clan Tag you must complete 50 Missions or multiplayer games, but you can edit your Service Tag at any time you choose. Other unlockables include Avatar’s, which are relevant images of iconic characters that you can set to appear on your Player Details page (accessed through Roster and highlighting a player). These characters are also unlocked for performing various tasks within each title and are prominently displayed on the Player Details page that includes your Career History, File Shares and Rivals.

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For gamers who love to create their very own map or game variants, Forge has returned and allows you to play around with Halo 2: Anniversary Maps, Halo 3 Maps and Halo 4 Maps and some with Magnets and Snaps to create a seamless and tidier looking map variant by accurately being able to place objects where you need them. In the older days of Halo, just dropping a whopping great boulder as close as possible was the only option and hope for the best it landed where it needed to be. With snap tools and magnets crafting a great map has never been easier, but this has been left untouched in Halo 3. It’s not just Forge that makes a return, but Theatre mode is back too, with all recent play offerings stored in your Temporary files you can simply browse and watch all the action all over again, and again if you wish.

Although online Multiplayer was not available during the time of this review, all maps were available as part of custom game play and browsing.  Nineteen maps available for Halo Combat Evolved, Twenty-Five maps for Halo 2 Classic, Six re-made and renamed maps for Halo 2: Anniversary, Twenty-Four maps for Halo 3 and finally Twenty-Five maps for Halo 4. This is a grand total of Ninety-Nine Multiplayer Maps – a huge amount of endless gameplay online right there when the multiplayer becomes available. I have a sneaky suspicion that more Halo 2: Anniversary maps could come as DLC on the success of this collection because six seems like such a low number. I am unable to comment on server encounters because multiplayer was not played, but having looked in depth at a great deal of the maps available, the same fluid movement and improvements to texture and lighting applied to each. This has given me confidence that the multiplayer in Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be every bit as bright, detailed and fluid just as I encountered during a Press Only session at Gamescom with Xbox UK earlier this year.

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection is quite possibly the largest ‘Master’ collection of gaming history in one very large bundle. With all the campaigns of four great Halo games and every bit of multiplayer maps and the downloadable content is no denying a great deal and a great piece of gaming history re-touched and improved to freshen gameplay and bring Halo on to the Xbox One. It’s very hard to find fault with such a piece of excellence as this, everything is created to ensure you have an easy transition between games with encouragement for cross-game play action. A whole ton of maps and of course, a completely re-made Halo 2, where everything else on disc is more of a bonus to accompany it.

The ‘must-have’ game of the year, and an absolute disgrace not to own it.

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection goes Golden

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Dan Ayoub Studio Head from the Halo External Development team  at 343 Industries today headed over to Xbox Wire to post an updated on Halo: The Master Chief Collection. We’ve summarised some of the key points or you can read the full post below.

  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection has gone gold and is now available for Pre-Order & Pre-Download today.
  • November 11th remains the release date for the US and majority of other territories. However delays are to be expected in Belgium, France and Japan.
  • The 45GB Blu-Ray Halo:  The Master Chief Collection will ship on is near to full. Therefore a Day One update is required and will be 20GB in size.
  • You can immediately play the Campaign whilst the update is downloading and installing.
  •  Spartan Ops Halo 4, will now release in December via a secondary update.
  • Only 26 more sleeps to go.

Keep your eyes  on ThisisXbox.com for a full review shortly after release day.

Source.

“Hey there Halo fans!

It’s been a long, crazy, exciting road, and we’re finally getting close to launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection in November. I wanted to personally share some big status updates with you. Let’s start with the biggest:

Halo: The Master Chief Collection has gone GOLD!

This is a massive milestone for the team and also means that the game will be available for Pre-Order and Pre-Download later today. I couldn’t be more excited to start having fans grab this game online so everyone can hit the ground running on release day! The team has been working incredibly hard to make this happen, so we’re all eager for you to play this labor of love.

One of the questions we get asked most is about worldwide release plans. The reality of worldwide sales and retail processes always makes simultaneous launches challenging. Some fans expressed disappointment in our original planned release date of November 11 in North America and November 14 in several other territories around the world. We heard you loud and clear, and I am happy to announce that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be released on November 11 for the majority of our fans around world!

There are still a few countries that will see a slight delay due to public holidays. In Europe, Belgium will release on November 12 and France will release on November 14 as part of their typical Friday release schedule. Our fans in Japan will see a release of November 13. Given the social aspects of the experience, we were really happy to get it as close to a simultaneous worldwide release as possible so that we can all celebrate on November 11 and start playing together.

This is literally going to be the biggest Halo experience so far

That is to say, the sheer size and scope of the content. To recap, Halo: The Master Chief Collection contains four complete Halo games, every multiplayer map ever released (including DLC from console and PC) across each game, a complete remaster of Halo 2 with all-new audio and Blur’s mind-blowing cinematics, and all of this is tied together with (and enhanced by) a revolutionary user interface.

From the start, our philosophy has been to give Halo fans the best possible experience and not compromise the quality or features of the collection. The result is that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will take up almost all of the usable space of a single Blu-ray (45 GB), and we will also issue a content update at launch that is estimated to be 20 GB. You’ll be able to start playing Campaign and more as the content is installing, with some features and multiplayer content being added via the update. Yes, the update is large, but we weren’t about to cut corners to save disc space. This ensures that you are getting every bit of Halo goodness we can fit in. Our work is not done, however, as we continue to tune, tweak and optimize the online experience to ensure a smooth multiplayer launch. This will continue right up until launch day.

One caveat we wanted to share is that Spartan Ops, our episodic co-op experience from Halo 4, will now release in December. In the meantime, we’re making some technical enhancements to that experience to make sure it’s smoother and even better than before. All ten episodes will be available at the same time, so we’re working to make an event out of it with our Community teams.

26 more sleeps!

Lastly, I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to you, our fans. Development of a game is always hard, but Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been the most challenging of my career. No team has really attempted a project like this, and the number of moving pieces has been staggering. The development team at 343 Industries has been working hard alongside our partners to make this happen and, at every step, you have been there for us. Whether it’s with encouraging words at events, or via messages on Twitter, I can tell you that your feedback is crucial and fuels our drive to make Halo: The Master Chief Collection the best it can be.

I’d like to thank you all for your continued enthusiasm, excitement and support for this game. See you on Xbox Live!”

Halo: The Master Chief Collection – Castilian Spanish Support Missing

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Greetings from Spain! I’m a fellow Halo fan and a die hard fan of the multiplayer matches. You may not know me, but we’ve sure met in battle. I’m writing this calling every gamer, every Halo fan out there, hoping that you can understand what we’re living here with the upcoming release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

I would like to start with a little recap. In 2004, Microsoft had the “brilliant” idea of dubbing Halo 2 with what they called “neutral Spanish” (some kind of made-up language that mixes several Spanish dialects and accents), and they decided to dub it in LA with a bunch of non-professional actors. The result was a total disaster, an embarrasing voice work that has generated thousands of memes and jokes during the past decade. It didn’t please the fans from Spain, nor the fans from America. A couple of awful examples (with terrible voice acting):


However, Microsoft stated, back in the day: “Halo 2 is so good, our spanish-speaking friends will soon forget about the voice acting”. Amazing. Yet Microsoft decided to let it go, and did nothing to fix that back in the day.

Now, in 2014, Microsoft announced Halo: The Master Chief Collection, with Halo 2 Anniversary included within it. We fans thought that this was a GOLDEN opportunity to ammend such a terrible mistake, but (quite unsurprisingly), Microsoft again decided to do nothing, but they’ve screwed the language even further: they’ve removed the original dub and, instead of re-dubbing it (Halo CEA had Captain Keyes re-dubbed, since the original audios from Bungie were missing), they’re releasing the game in full English. This is absurd due to one main reason: Halo – The Master Chief Collection has a pretty awesome launcher that allows user to remix all the campaigns in customized playlists. What’s the point in playing some levels in Spanish and then suddenly play others that come in full English? It’s nonsense, and will make our experience very awkward. Halo deserves better. Many people disliked that dub, both in Spain and America, so Microsoft decided to correctly dub the future Halos, both in Spain’s “Castilian” and in America’s “Latin” (and the new games have a way more professional voice acting for both regions).

The Halo fans here in Spain (and in America, since many communities there also support this cause) refuse to accept this. This is why we have created several initiatives and petitions to show Microsoft that we are a big community and they can’t risk losing that huge amount of customers for their struggling XOne (Spanish is the most spoken language in the world right after English). We ask them to reconsider this situation and make a proper dub so all their Spanish fans can finally enjoy Halo 2 and the Collection it is included in.

These campaigns are:

Xbox Feedback: https://xbox.uservoice.com/forums/251647-gaming-achievements/suggestions/6083567-halo-2-anniversary-con-nuevo-doblaje-en-castellano
Change.org: https://www.change.org/es/peticiones/microsoft-ibérica-s-r-l-haced-un-doblaje-en-castellano-castellano-del-juego-halo-2-anniversary

Since we started this campaign, we contacted tons of sites, and as of today, almost 50 websites from all around the world have shown us their support and care. Here’s the current list:

http://halo2anniversary.blogspot.com.es/2014/07/paginas-web-que-nos-apoyan-que-hariamos.html

We don’t have Spanish-only support. Our voice has been heard beyond our territories proving us that Halo is truly a beloved IP. The greatest Halo community in Italy is helping us with this:
http://www.halo.17kgroup.it/sc/5604-halo-2-anniversary-i-fan-spagnoli-chiedono-aiuto/
http://kingdomgame.it/news/6570-halo-2-anniversary-gli-spagnoli-chiedono-aiuto
They even spoke to 343i at Gamescom:
http://www.halo.17kgroup.it/ap/5812-gamescom-giorno-1/

Also, from the UK (Halo.Bungie.Org), Claude Errera himself showed us his love:
http://halo.bungie.org/news.html?item=40538

Even from the USA, we have this long thread in NeoGAF:
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=875819
There, Halo Franchise Director Frank O’Connor (aka Stinkles) wrote an official answer:
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=125891870&postcount=8074

And the latest community to join is Halo France:
http://halo.fr/news/communaute/soutien-la-communaute-espagnole

You can see that we have a huge worldwide support on this. But, unfortunately, it is not enough. We need more help, your help, to vote, sign (Xbox Feedback and Change) and share, so we can prove them that the Halo community is a borderless one. We want every region to be considered equally with a wolrdwide release of this magnitude.

Thanks a lot for reading this, and for your help.

Lluís SD.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Hands-On at #XboxGamescom

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Halo – one of Microsoft’s greatest franchises of all time that started life on the original Xbox more than ten years ago from the original developers’ Bungie. Now in the hands of 343i the franchise has been revived and now revisited as the Master Chief Collection for Xbox One brings all four games featuring the ‘Chief on to our newer consoles with enhancements. 60FPS fluid movement, touch-ups, all maps and content unlocked from the start, and a completely re-touched Halo 2 Anniversary Edition ensuring all multiplayer matches across all games featured have the same Halo 2 ranking system.

During Gamescom, Microsoft and 343i announced that a new Halo Channel will also hit the Xbox One from November 2014 and will be a new destination for all-things Halo related. This could be a next-gen alternative to Halo Waypoint which was a last-gen app for stats, news and updates within the Halo Universe. The Halo Channel will allow you to access behind the scenes footage from Halo Master Chief Collection, Halo Nightfall and the upcoming Halo 5 Guardians. It’s assumed to be always updated with new content.

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As part of the Halo 2 Anniversary Edition within the collection, the Halo Booth at Gamescom in Cologne was showing a fully playable fan-favourite map known as Ascension. It hasn’t kept its original name as the map is renamed Zenith, but for all the Halo fans out there you are likely to be aware that the iconic Ascension with it’s famous centre piece battle hot-spot was also in Halo: Reach as a map named Pinnacle. I have to be completely honest now in that I wasn’t over impressed with Zenith and I would rather have seen a map that hadn’t been re-made in Halo: Reach. Although in terms of visual quality and the impressive 60FPS, Zenith looks completely amazing in how it has been re-touched from its old Ascension days, but the more I looked around the map I felt that Pinnacle on Halo: Reach from the Xbox 360 was potentially more of a better remake only in how Reach changed the gameplay with its unique weapons and jet packs.

I think it was a bad choice for Microsoft and 343i to have shown the Ascension (now Zenith) map at Gamescom in the Halo Booth because you can’t help but compare it to what you have played on Halo: Reach – I wanted to be totally blown away and re-play a map I’ve not replayed on the Xbox 360. My personal favourite choice of map to have seen would have been Backwash, the only map that was completely removed from Halo 2 Multiplayer due to Fog loading issues within the map on the original Xbox console. Since this was a map that even the most obsessive fan could not enjoy, to have played a re-touched version of this would have been mind-blowing and more of a prominent reminder of how technology has also evolved since the map was removed from the multiplayer in 2006!

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Going back to the change in frames per second for the new collection, playing in 60FPS was noticeably faster, every movement appeared more fluid, easier on the eyes and I am so excited to see how this changes across all other Halo Maps; especially Halo 3’s since I was unable to see what changes were made to the Halo 3 maps due to Halo 2 Anniversary having all the attention during Gamescom 2014. It was also great news to hear that everyone will have equal starts to make it more balanced and a fairer multiplayer system overall.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection will launch on Xbox One from November 11th 2014.

Halo 2: Anniversary – Cinematic Trailer

Take a first look at the overhauled Halo 2: Anniversary cut-scenes in this trailer from Blur Studio. Included in Halo: The Master Chief Collection as part of Halo 2: Anniversary, the cut-scenes immerse fans into the critically acclaimed story and complement fully the re-mastered campaign gameplay.

In addition to Halo 2: Anniversary celebrating its 10th Anniversary, Halo: The Master Chief Collection also features Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 4, Halo: Nightfall, and access to the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta. This is the definitive Halo experience, coming November 11, 2014.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Leaked Footage

Although Halo fans were teased (slight understatement) during E3 this year with the news of Halo: The Master Chief Collection heading to Xbox One on November 11th; leaked footage previously unseen has made its way online from the San Diego Comic Con event. Hit play above to check out the video of some gameplay footage.

The Master Chief Collection will feature all the multiplayer content from each of the four games, including all previously released download-only maps. All campaign chapters are unlocked from the get-go, so fans can use the intuitive newly created interface to play any mission, any time, at any skill level. Multiplayer will also benefit from the Master Menu, as a variety of user-friendly, streamlined features – such as maps being broken into gameplay types – are being implemented.

We’re hoping to have a review of Halo: The Master Chief Collection closer to the release date, keep and eye out in the coming months for more news and footage.

Thanks VGLeaks

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

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E3 2014 was the official announcement of the rumoured Halo: The Master Chief Collection. All four major Halo games “Halo: Combat Evolved,” “Halo 2,” “Halo 3,” and “Halo 4” on a single disc from November 11th 2014. Dubbed as more than a mere bundle of previously released games – The Master Chief Collection is a bundle of enhancements, bonuses and extras optimized to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s power. So, all games in the collection will run at 60 frames-per-second giving even the series’ most recent releases – “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary” and “Halo 4” – a huge benefit from the jump to Xbox One, with higher fidelity, better shadowing, reflection, and lighting effects, and an overall level of detail that trumps the previous console generation.

Halo 2 raises the bar even further says Xbox Wire… then chucks it, javelin-style, through the heart of your high expectations. Because the Master Chief’s second outing is celebrating a big anniversary, his handlers are giving it an extra coat of awesome. All of the cinematics have received a retina-searing makeover courtesy of Blur Studios; the crazy-talented team is also applying the movie-making magic to a brand-new prologue and epilogue that sheds some light on the Chief’s forthcoming journey in “Halo 5: Guardians.”

Those who replay “Halo 2” will also be treated to new narrative elements via story-expanding Terminals, much like those found in “Combat Evolved Anniversary.” Also like its predecessor, “Halo 2” will see the addition of game-customizing Skulls, as well as the cool ability to swap between its original visual presentation and the optimized version at the touch of a button. Finally, “Halo 2’s” massive multiplayer following can celebrate the big 10 by diving into six map remakes, built from scratch for the Xbox One.

The Master Chief Collection will feature all the multiplayer content from each of the four games, including all previously released download-only maps. All campaign chapters are unlocked from the get-go, so fans can use the intuitive newly created interface to play any mission, any time, at any skill level. Multiplayer will also benefit from the Master Menu, as a variety of user-friendly, streamlined features – such as maps being broken into gameplay types – are being implemented.