Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC is not an Epic Store exclusive

Nice to see this collection on PC will finally be complete next week.

I’ve slowly been making my way through the campaigns on the heroic difficulty setting and after years of not really understanding what the fuss was about have come to appreciate the series. The firefights manage to stay dynamic thanks to how your selected weapon combination truly changes up your opponents tactics. The music is simply wonderful and the skyboxes are to die for. I despite the storytelling, but the little interactions with the NPCs who are chuffed to play alongside you is very charming.

I haven’t finished ODST yet, but I would rank the other campaigns as follows:

  1. Halo 3 - Easily the best. Lots of open spaces and variety in the level design, the best set of tools and set pieces. The moment where you face off against two Scarabs is an all-time great encounter for me. I love how Bungie keeps introducing novel surprises.

  2. Halo 1 - Extremely uneven level design holds this one back from greatness (so many copy and pasted layouts), but the combat and sense of place is sublime. The open-ended levels where you can mess around with vehicles are the best. People weren’t kidding about the Library though. That was an utter garbage pace-killer.

  3. Halo Reach - It’s hard not to roll your eyes at hoorah heroics of the by-the-numbers squad (maybe I would like this if I was American), but the fatalistic tone gives it a unique sense of identity.

  4. Halo 2 - After reading Vice’s excellent history of Halo article, the fact that Bungie ran out of time and had to scale back there ambitions is evident across the board, though especially in the dull graphics (regardless of whether you choose enhanced settings or not) and the cliffhanger ending. Arbiter was just whatever, and playing as him wasn’t meaningfully unique. Dual-wield is an okay addition, but the boxy levels and the jumpy difficultly curve weren’t particularly enjoyable. It matched my memories of being unimpressed when I checked the game out after playing HL2.

Great summary of each of the Halos! I do disagree about the library, I always really enjoyed that level and how it changed up the gameplay completely. But most people agree with you on it. And that’s the reason why I’d place Halo 1 above the others still.

Let us know when you finish ODST and Halo 4. I enjoyed both of those.

I’ll have to revisit Halo 3 after reading your summary of it. Maybe I didn’t give it a good chance. I finished it coop with my friends only. It’s the only Halo that I didn’t also play through Solo, and in Coop it had a lot of problems. The story was nonsensical, but I really hated slowing down and having to listen to exposition. But as you pointed out, they really throw a huge variety of combat scenarios at you.

Whenever I read a complaint about The Library in Halo, I think back to this post:

That is a great post. I thought you were going to link to Tom’s defense of the library, but I like that even better!

But I’ll link to Tom’s defense of the library, it’s great too.

Library is amazing. Especially in context to its era.

That’s an amazing post. Maybe when I replay it down the line I’ll understand its greatness, but so far its charms completely elude me despite reading at least two well-reasoned, passionate defences of the level, including one by Mr. Chick. It was repetitive, unchallenging and bland.

I keep thinking that I really need to play the Master Chief Collection but I can’t muster up the gumption. It sits in my library (ha!) just looming at me. It’s like the video game equivalent of cleaning out the garage, I don’t know if I can face such a monumental task.

Yeah, I felt that way throughout the Xbox One era. I got the Master Chief collection early on, and kept meaning to get to it, but never did.

But I feel like this time next week when it comes out for Series X, I’m really going to do it this time. Join me dive!

Big kudos for playing on the correct difficulty by the way. As you probably realized while playing it, a lot of the systems that work and work well in the game are somewhat unnecessary on lower difficulties. Heroic is the first difficulty tier on which you really have to use all the tools at your disposal at any given moment, and that’s where the game truly shines.

Hmmm … I might very well, but I feel like I need a little structure here. Something like our weekly Star Trek episode watch, to make sure I’m keeping pace and making progress. Maybe if I shoot for one level per week or so, I can make slow but steady progress? There’s gotta be a way to work this.

It definitely makes a huge difference. I believe that’s why I bounced off the games when checking them out with my buddies back in the day. When I finish all the campaigns I might give Legendary a try but it seems like a considerable step up in terms of punishment. I’ve heard that Halo 2 is especially brutal. Not looking forward to facing-off against those rocket launcher flood, haha.

I’m only on the second mission, but so far the music in ODST is especially fabulous, which is really saying something for this series.

Looks like Halo 4 PC is out on GamePass now…

Nice. And on Xbox Series S|X with enhancements too.

I hope it hasn’t grown huge in the intervening years since I last played it and that I can install it on the Series X with a reasonable hard drive footprint.

Played first mission. I was looking forward to it because I must have listened to its soundtrack hundred times back when the game came out. And finally I get to play it. It looks quite awesome in 4K maxed, incredible that it came out on same console as Halo 3, which looks ancient in comparison.

The first levels looked amazing back on 360.

Easily could’ve passed for this gen until things like Arkham Knight came out.

I’m really looking forward to revisiting those in 4K HDR on my X. I might even finish the game this time!

Some hours in to Halo 4, Alistair discovered the Sprint key…

But there was no coverage in his area.

I continued my Halo CE highest difficulty playthrough of the campaign last night.

Hooooly shit this is hard. And yet, oh so fucking satisfying. I had forgotten just how precise you have to be with your movement and aiming and use grenades constantly and melee constantly, along with your guns. I love it. So good.

Edit: I’m playing on Series X btw. I still switch back and forth between the old Halo graphics and the redone 360 graphics. I still can’t decide which I like better. Most of the time I leave it on the improved 360 graphics, but some things I still think look better in the original look.

Just finished 4 and the jungly bits, the desert bits, the exosuit and fighter plane bits are all pretty good still, but all those featureless alien platforms housing 3 Xs to be destroyed were just depressing :)

Roll on Infinite. Although in hindsight, having these guys work on that rather than remastering old titles might have made more sense.

Finished ODST in one sitting this afternoon. Really enjoyed the ways it departed from the previous games, with some nice hub-style exploration and a moody, noirish tone. You could tell it was made by a smaller team (was this once intended to be H3 DLC?), so I appreciate that they took some big risks.

Tried the first few missions of Halo 4 on legendary and its just not doing it for me. I feel like the difficultly is a bit borked. Enemies aren’t especially challenging but they feel very bullet-spongey and take forever to take down. There’s a bit too much banter between Chief and the now-inexplicably-scantily clad Cortana and quite a few buttons to press. Still, it’s early going. Great looking game for the tail-end of the generation, but feels a bit more traditionally sci-fi than I expected from the series. Might return to it later.