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Halo: The Master Chief Collection review — Revisiting hallowed ground

SINGAPORE — The Halo franchise barely needs any introduction: It’s been one of the most popular first-person shooters on consoles since the first instalment in 2001. And as we wait for Halo 5: Guardians to be released next year, Halo: The Master Chief Collection provides the best jumping-on point for those fresh to the series, or for experienced gamers, a great time to revisit the past.

Halo 2 has received a massive graphics upgrade in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Photo: Xbox

Halo 2 has received a massive graphics upgrade in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Photo: Xbox

SINGAPORE — The Halo franchise barely needs any introduction: It’s been one of the most popular first-person shooters on consoles since the first instalment in 2001. And as we wait for Halo 5: Guardians to be released next year, Halo: The Master Chief Collection provides the best jumping-on point for those fresh to the series, or for experienced gamers, a great time to revisit the past.

In it, you get all four Halo games released so far, from the remastered version of Halo: Combat Evolved to 2012’s Halo 4. Each of them has been upgraded and now run at 60 frames per second.

But what really gets a good polish is Halo 2, 10 years after its 2004 release. There’s a bump in terms of graphics, where the framerate, resolution and textures have all been given a huge improvement. Cut scenes have especially been upgraded and are now fully pre-rendered, and the sound has been fully remastered. It’s quite the sight for Halo fans — and you can even swap back to the old engine right in the middle of gaming just to see how things have changed.

If you’ve played these games before, this is a great way to have another go at the classics. The best part is that you don’t have to play through each game to unlock the missions you love — you can dive right into your favourite moments just to experience them in their high-definition glory. The multiplayer maps are also back, allowing you to relive some of the most long-lived parts of the Halo franchise.

But in the end, your mileage will depend on how much feels new to you. First-timers will get to experience all these games for the price of one game, so it’s extremely good value. But if you’ve played all the previous games to death, it might not feel as novel — especially since some of the older instalments clearly show their age in terms of gameplay features, despite the graphical upgrade. They might have been groundbreaking, but only in the era they were released in.

All of these games have been out there for years, so you could easily say there’s nothing truly new about the collection. But as a tool for first-timers to experience the games, or even for long-time fans to revisit the games in higher resolution, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is highly recommended. After all, these Halo games aren’t legendary for no reason.

Rating: 4.5/5

Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be released tomorrow (Nov 11) for S$69.90, and is available for pre-order.

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