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


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.


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!


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.

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