Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Buy Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Microsoft Store en-AU

“Halo: The Master Chief Collection” is an investment well worth your time if you are a fan of the Halo Universe and PC games. This game still has replay value for me and I played it primarily for the story and campaign. This was also a much needed release as not everyone owns all the XBox systems and I’ve always been primarily a PC gamer. Hell, most Microsoft games I buy because they are PC games. So it was great to finally see the Haloverse fully come over.

In this I’ll post a summary of my thoughts on each game in the collection as well as a link to the original review. So without further ado. Here they are in release of where they fall on the Halo timeline from earliest to latest.:

Buy Halo - REACH - Microsoft Store

“Halo: Reach” is the best of the collection giving us a story with consequences, an ensemble cast and truly showing how dangerous the Covenant are as a threat. This game is also “Star Wars: Rogue One” done right and I wish I could have cared about those characters to the same level I came to care about these Spartans. This game leads directly into the events of “Halo: Combat Evolved.”

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2020/07/06/halo-reach-a-fantastic-exploration-of-the-cost-of-war/

Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary HD Wallpaper | Combat evolved ...

“Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary” is a beautiful and epic game. This game truly captures the space opera nature of the Halo Universe and does an amazing job of putting you into the shoes of Master Chief. You aren’t an unstoppable force and this story like “Reach” has consequences that you experience at the end. You can tell how early this is into the lore too as you see no clear leader of the Covenant and it is more about the general experience of combat and basic story reveals which are great and still very much hold up.

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2020/07/02/halo-combat-evolved-anniversary-still-a-great-space-opera-and-introduction-to-an-awesome-universe/

Halo 2: Anniversary PC | Halo: The Master Chief Collection - YouTube

“Halo 2: Anniversary” is a really good sequel. The biggest issues with I have are out how retcons some things and how it ends on a cliffhanger. What really carries this story is the introduction of the Arbiter and showing just how complex Covenant politics are. Covenant politics are some of my favorite part of the Halo games and the Elites are such a fun faction. I’ll take the Arbiter over Master Chief or a Spartan any day as an option to play and story to explore so I’m glad he carries half the game in this. One of my biggest issue with this story is how it turns Master Chief into a superhero, which annoys me to this day.

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2020/07/05/halo-2-anniversary-great-lore-caught-in-the-center-of-a-trilogy/

Halo 3: ODST on Steam

“Halo 3: ODST” is another really good game. It gives us a bunch of character stories to follow and we see what happens between “Halo 2” and “Halo 3” on Earth and it isn’t through the super soldier perspective of a Spartan. This lends the narrative strength and I love how you are Rookie investigating what happened to your missing team members until it all comes together for a pretty amazing final mission.

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2020/10/10/halo-3-odst-uncovering-connections/

Halo 3 - GameSpot

“Halo 3” is a great ending to the trilogy that completes the arcs of Master Chief, Cortana, the Arbiter and the human allies that have helped them through the Trilogy. This is a story with consequences and stakes and the Brutes are truly a worthy threat. We get our usual Covenant and Flood threats and the full exploration of the different types of combat that made Halo so much fun. I wish the series for Master Chief had ended here as the story truly is complete, but you can’t kill Mickey Mouse. The Franchise must go on…

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2020/07/19/halo-3-a-great-ending-to-an-amazing-trilogy-that-builds-on-the-prior-games/

Halo 4 on Steam

“Halo 4” is a beautiful mess without much going for it. The human characters are all extremely unlikable, which is a feat after how fun they are in the “Halo Trilogy” and “ODST” and we get a Master Chief as “Chosen One” arc and the worst version of Cortana brought to the screen. The game is beautiful but this is a game that I’d only recommend if you are completionist. The deep lore is more confusing than anything else and what interesting enemies we get are wasted in their execution.

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2020/11/27/halo-4-beautiful-and-empty-with-choices-i-hated/

“Halo: The Master Chief Collection” was worth and it and good, even with “Halo 4” only managing to be fun and the worst of the lot. The games were released over an amount of time to fully experience the campaign in each and I still go back for multiplayer campaign playthroughs with friends, which is something I cannot say for many games. This was definitely worth the price and I hope future Halo games will be for the PC and available on Steam.

Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare – The Ongoing War

   “Halo Wars 2” is one of my favorite games. I have always had a soft spot for RTS (Real-time Strategy) games and this one is one of the best. Besides “Starcraft 2” it is the one I always come back to, especially if it means playing with friends. I’m a huge fan of the Halo Games (1-3, Reach and the first “Halo Wars”) and this game delivers on that lore you get in the Halo Universe. Before I get into spoilers, if you are a fan of RTS games you will probably love this one. The balance is really good between the two factions, the campaign variety is a lot of fun and the story is solidly good. It has also has quite a few fun multiplayer options that give it great replay value. I’ll be reviewing the game up to all that has been released so far (The initial game was released on February 21, 2017), which is currently up to the DLC “Rise of the Nightmare.” I’ll be giving individual scores to campaigns (Base Game, Operation: Spearkbreaker and Awakening of the Nightmare) before my overall assessment of the game itself.

The game was created by 343 Industries and Creative Assembly and produced by Microsoft Game Studios.

This is a game that picks up where “Halo Wars 1” left off following the crew of The Spirit of Fire after they crossed through the portal at the end of the second game. The story follows them as they face off against a new threat for Ex-Covenant Soldiers known as “The Banished.” They are lead by Atriox, a powerful Brute leader who is seeking to take control of The Ark, something so powerful that with control, they would easily capture the Galaxy.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Universe – I am a huge fan of this Universe. I’ve never been the biggest fan of humanity since we don’t really see a diversity of opinion in the games and it is more of a Space Marine defending everything, which is a fun survival game to play, but isn’t compelling as Space Politics. The Universe has so much Space Politics in the Aliens of the Covenant and this game leans in on all of that. We get more lore for the UNSC with the crew of The Spirit of Fire being followed and we get a whole new faction in “The Banished.” Each faction has new heroes we meet and it is great to see them all interact. This Universe clearly isn’t done yet, as you’ll see from the campaign, things are left pretty open so I’m curious to see if “The Banished” are going to be incorporated into “Halo 6.” I love their heroes so it would be cool to see them become a permanent part of the Halo Universe beyond “Halo Wars 2.”

Gameplay and Multiplayer – Multiplayer is a lot of fun. As part of there are weekly and daily missions where you unlock playing cards you can use in Firefight and other multiplayer modes, there is standard multi-player as well and in all of them you have the many Commanders with some being Halo Wars 2 originals like YapYap, Atriox and Isabel and some who are carryover characters from the first Halo Wars like the Arbiter you fight in “Halo Wars 1.” Within standard gameplay you have hero powers you unlock as you progress in the game, like the first “Halo Wars.” Each commander has unique special units and powers as well, which leads to a greater variety of choices and replayability. When you are in a game and you and your friend are co-oping against a great opponent there are some amazing moments of synergy that can be created.

File:HW2 Campaign Loadscreen.jpg

Halo Wars 2 Main Campaign – The main campaign is fun. It is here we meet Atriox and his “Banished” as well as the new A.I. Isabel, who was with other human’s on the arc before Atriox’s arrival. The story follow Captain Cutter working with Isabel and the Spartans on the ground as they work to push back Atriox’s forces and prevent them from activating a Halo Ring. Captain Cutter, Anders and the UNSC are successful but the final shot is of Atriox watching a map of the Ark, showing us how clearly his forces still own it, even after all the setbacks he’s faced since the UNSC arrival. There is great mission variety and you learn a lot about “The Banished” pretty quick and how they were a Covenant Suicide Squad until Atriox rebelled and proceeded to conquer and recruit through the galaxy.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10. Really good for developing the lore but doesn’t feel like a whole story. We have some great arcs like Isabel’s completed, and the gameplay is fun. But besides that it is mostly Atriox’s forces being slowly broken down and his big plan being prevented.

File:HW2 OperationSpearbreaker Banner.png

Operation: Spearbreaker – This DLC follows a squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers called Sunray 1-1, as they uncover and stop the plot of a “Banished” Hunter leader named Colony. These missions were easier than the hardest in the base campaign and also not as fun. You are primarily investigating with your troops until you uncover the Forerunner Ship that Colony is trying to activate, than it becomes all out war and becomes more enjoyable as Colony sends all of it’s forces at you. This one is fun but easily the weakest of all the content. I couldn’t tell you the personality of anyone in Sunray and the only interesting character is Colony, but we don’t really get to know it, beyond it being a very smart and clever Hunter.

Final Score: 7 / 10 Solidly enjoyable, but not replayable.

File:Halo-Wars-2 Key-Art Vertical.jpg

Awakening the Nightmare – I was a fan of the “Covenant” in Halo Franchise, at least in regards to being a fan of the aliens who made up the Covenant. I was Team Arbiter the moment he was playable in “Halo 2” and “Halo 3” and I’ve wanted to play as the alien factions in Halo Universe for as long I’ve played “Halo” which for me dates all the way back to High School. In “Halo Wars 1” the “Covenant” don’t have a campaign and sadly for much of “Halo Wars 2” they didn’t either, until “Awakening the Nightmare.” For me this was something I’d been waiting for a long time and I was not disappointed. This was challenging gameplay and a really fun story as you have two Brute Brothers (Pavium and Voridus). They are investigating remains of the battle from “Installation 00” from the ending of the “Human-Covenant War” for technology. Voridus being stupid awakens the Flood in his investigation of the dead Covenant ship High Charity after he shuts down the Forerunner Defenses. From here he and his brother Voridus must reactivate the Sentinels and stop the Flood and a Proto-Gravemind from taking over the Ark. Pavium is the smart one who had warned him the first place and holds the line as they end up facing off against The Flood together before a final victory. It is an awesome fight and Pavium is one one of my favorite commanders in multiplayer and Halo Lore. I really hope we see these two brothers again as “The Banished” really need a win against the UNSC, and this mission showed that even against overwhelming odds they are Atriox’s survivors and warriors for a reason.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great and finally a “Banished” campaign.

Okay:

Story Consequences – We have had 2 DLCs released as well as the base game but it feels like nothing has happened. Atroix’s forces have continued to lose ground and the UNSC continues to become more powerful but there hasn’t been any real major change. I want to see where this story goes and have characters change in a way that either builds on the Universe further (more than the existence of “The Banished” already does) and leads to some sort of ending. I’m good with that being a peace treaty or something that has Atriox winning for once, but it feels like we have been given so much game but things haven’t changed very much at all beyond status quo of “The Banished” losing ground. What happened to Anders and “The Halo?” Do the Flood exist elsewhere in the Galaxy as a faction? (I’d love them to be playable, even if it was only multiplayer, there should be enough game assets to do so). I put this as okay because I still enjoyed my time with the characters and the campaigns are fun. I’m still holding out for a major “Banished” win and them becoming a major part of the Halo Games moving forward. This story has the potential to not be a repeat of “Halo Wars 1” and not repeating “Halo 1-3.”

The Cons:

Microsoft Issues – To buy the full game it is expensive. The DLC, even when sold discounted isn’t cheap. Some Commanders on their own are nearly $10 and each new DLC, even if it includes commanders usually starts at $20. Given how expensive the base game was for so long that always rubbed me the wrong way. I also wasn’t a fan with how I continue to have issues with connecting online because of the Microsoft Server. It makes me miss the days of old Battle.net and games where you didn’t have to log onto a 3rd Party Account to play a game. Whenever you have to log on you are beholden the problems of whatever is hosting you be it Steam or Microsoft. So yeah the price and Microsoft bugs are major cons that keep the game from being great.

“Halo Wars 2” is one of my favorite games and if you love the Halo Universe, you will probably love it too. I play it on PC and I think that is the way any RTS should be played. Controllers were not made for playing RTS games and I have no idea how anyone does it. I can’t wait to see where Microsoft takes this game and Universe. There is still so much potential there and so much more story to explore. This is a really good game and I continue to play multiplayer with my friends as this wonderful game continues to inspire my passion for the rich lore of the Halo Universe. In the end the pros outway the cons for me and I expect I’ll probably always be coming back to this game. If they release another expansion for this game and give us more “Banished” content, you can expect to see that review on the blog. Their existence got me back into this amazing universe and I’m looking forward to all the stories that can be told.

 

Final Score: 8.8 / 10