Halo: The Master Chief Collection is magnificent. Unprecedented. Masterful, even. It's thirteen years of console FPS history in a single package: Halo 1-4 tweaked and remastered with all of the local co-op, optional skulls, new skill and time challenges, levels, stages, secrets, live-action series and a massive multiplayer suite spanning 100+ maps, brought together into one cohesive experience. Halo 2 pushes the boat out even further with an Anniversary Edition boasting all-new textures, tweaks and gorgeous cutscenes. When it comes to HD Collections and re-releases, we may be looking at nothing less than the new platinum benchmark.
Unfortunately, it's also not all there, and I mean that very literally. The multiplayer suite and numerous performance tweaks aren't included on the disc, rather they have to be downloaded via a massive 15GB patch... which was only released 24 hours ago.
Giving the Master Chief Collection a score at this stage would be hilariously unethical, then, and I'd raise an eyebrow at any site willing to do so. However, having blasted through the all-important singleplayer campaigns, I absolutely can split the review in two to take an in-depth look at the remastered singleplayer and cooperative experience. You'll have to wait until next week for the multiplayer and our final verdict.Click here to read more...
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is out next week, containing all four numbered Halo titles in a single enormous remastered collection. Our full review will be going live soon, but it's now the perfect time to look back at the franchise and remember why we still loved it. For us, it comes down to the levels, thirteen years of unforgettable set pieces, pulse-pounding moments, vehicular shenanigans and the freedom to experiment and improvise with our own strategies. So without further ado: the top ten most legendary Halo levels.
DIShonourable Mentions (nobody's perfect):
Sergeant Johnson knows what the ladies like: grinding treads and awesome tanks. What's not to love? This level starts with a bang as you smash across a Covenant-occupied bridge in a Scorpion, snipe jackals, go on a shotgun rampage ("It's tight quarters on the other side, sir. Use this!"), blow up an entire Covenant task force in a gauss hog and finally leap onto the back of a Scarab to murder its crew.
Halo 2 may be the most inconsistent and unsatisfying campaign in the series, but damn, it has its moments.Click here to read more...
Microsoft have revealed the second batch of daily deals in its ongoing Xbox 360 Ultimate Games Sale., and it looks like the Chief is leading the charge of the cheap in towards roster of savings:
|Content Title||Content Type||Discount %|
|Halo 4||Games on Demand||50%|
|ArcaniA||Games on Demand||75%|
|WWE 2K14||Games on Demand||50%|
|Dragon Age II||Games on Demand||75%|
|Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate||Arcade||50%|
Halo 5 is coming. We'll probably have to wait until 2015 if the rumour mill is anything to go by, but as longtime fans of the series, we can't wait to see how 343 Industries push Bungie's legendary brand into the new console generation.
Actually, we do have a few ideas of our own - and some criticisms of Halo 4 to boot.
Halo 4 deserves to be studied in game design courses over the next few years, since it featured both the best and worst QTEs in recent memory.
The first level challenged us to climb up a collapsing superstructure in the most immersive QTE ever implemented by a videogame. Master Chief glanced left or right instead of relying on silly button prompts, allowing us to unconsciously make the right move without breaking the first-person perspective, to the extent that I had to replay the scene and intentionally fail just to convince myself that it wasn't a cutscene. It was utterly masterful (no pun intended) and we'd be happy with more of that - even in other games. Plagiarise the heck out of it, everyone.
However, we want none of the other kind of QTEs in Halo 5. The bad kind. The lazy kind. The immersion-killing kind. The 'press RB to kill the Elite' or 'hammer X to win the game' kind. No. Bad 343. Bad. Don't make me roll up a newspaper and bonk you on the nose.
eSports are all the rage these days, and Halo 5 is already perfectly placed to turn the best of its gametypes into a sensation. Grifball. Rooster Teeth's joke became a deadly serious mode, one that's as tense and tactical as it is ludicrously fun and riotously ridiculous.
So not only do we crave Grifball at launch, but we'd love loads of rotating championships and tournaments built directly into the game, supported by robust stat tracking, then perfectly accompanied by Xbox One Twitch streaming and DVR. See you in pre-season!
Oh, and we're looking for a fourth team-mate. We're undefeated in 2014. Sort of.Click here to read more...
As I write this, I'm listening to Martin O'Donnell's Rock Anthem For Saving The World. I have the Halo albums shuffled up in a Spotify playlist. Greatest Journey from Halo 3 is up next, and I'm steeling myself for epic Warthog flashbacks from that game's majestic final run. Under Cover of Night aurally describes the midnight before a dawn of fire -- the calm before the storm. The Overture from ODST takes me back to slinking around the Covenant-strewn streets of New Mombasa before Never Forget almost makes me shed a tear. Not for the plot of intergalactic war and the loss and despair that comes with it, but rather for nostalgic good times that have yet to be bettered.
So much of my enjoyment of the Halo series comes as a direct result of Martin O'Donnell's (and Michael Salvatori's) work. The Halo suite itself is an iconic theme that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It's a succession of strings that just says, Oh we got this!
In spite of his long service to the Halo franchise, it's the versatility shown in the games that don't feature Master Chief that gave me hope for O'Donnell's work on Destiny.
This week, though, presumably with much of the work on that game complete, Bungie terminated the contract of their in-house composer. Depending on whose account you read, it's either a straightforward affair, or possibly something a little fishy.Click here to read more...
For this week's Game Night, the trio decided to return to their old stomping grounds of Halo 4, and took the fight to the enemy in SWAT and Big Team. They also made their glorious return to the world of Griffball. Did they find the victory they were craving, or was it one too many hammers to the face for them? You'll have to hit the jump and watch to find out.Click here to read more...
Halo 4 will be receving three new DLC packs next month, which can be bought individually or as part of the Champions Bundle. While one pack contains two new maps and gametype, the other two offer... erm... new armour sets.Click here to read more...
As previously reported, 343 Industries have been slaving away on a major Halo 4 multiplayer patch to balance the arsenal against the Designated Marksman Rifle. The kill time for practically every weapon has been reduced, along with sweeping damage and fire rate increases across the board.
We've got the patch notes below ahead of its deployment on June 3rd.Click here to read more...
It's difficult to be sarcastic about begging to be monetised when some folk really are clamouring for it. Halo 4's executive producer Dan Ayoub has suggested that 343 Industries might be mulling over the possibility of including cosmetic microtransactions in subsequent Halo games.Click here to read more...
We sometimes complain about how weapons in games are often rather unimaginative. As it turns out, there's a good reason for this: apparently we just don't like new and original things.
According to 343i's creative director, Josh Holmes, Halo 4 could have seen more "sci-fi" weapons such as a stasis gun or grapple harpoon, but apparently testing showed that no-one really wanted a deep sci-fi experience.Click here to read more...
I'm surprised at how quick this has dipped below the twenty pound barrier considering it's such a first-party hit. Not that we're complaining as it's about time the stragglers caught up to the rest of the world and checked out 343 Industries' fantastic first Halo game proper. Season 1 of the free Spartan Ops co-op DLC has just finished, but it's still available to download and is well worth ckecking out. It's still a regular on the Dealspwn post-work sessions.
Thanks to capelli at HotUkDeals.
Halo 4's third multiplayer expansion promises to focus on vehicular combat in three large asymmetrical stages, bristling with Warthogs and Man Cannons to fling them off of. The Castle Map Pack will launch on April 8th for 800 Microsoft Points, or included as part of the War Games pass.
We've stashed more details and a trailer below.Click here to read more...
Using the above discount code gets you a mighty 50% off Master Chief's triumphant return. 343 Industries stood up to the challenge of taking over the reigns after Bungie departed and accomplished more than we could have hoped for. The first free season of the co-op Spartan Ops DLC missions has just concluded, meaning you and your mates can tear through them all now. Just try not to accidentally run each other.
Thanks to Darkle at HotUkDeals.
This week on the PWNCAST we lament Halo 4: Spartan Ops' missed opportunities, Jon divulges some of his thoughts on Crysis 3, and we launch from discussing the new Tomb Raider title into a conversation about some off our favourite female gaming protagonists.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be a few instances of strong language.
Click the banner at the top to play the file, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.
343 Industries have announced that there's a big, fat Halo 4 patch incoming this week, although there's not a firm drop date as yet.
“While we’d love to give you the specific date and time you’ll be prompted to download this update unfortunately we’re only given an ambiguous window in which it will release, not a hard date," said 343i. "So you’ll know as soon as we know… or something like that, anyway.
"While this update tackles a significant amount of bugs, glitches and issues we’re happy to soon call resolved, there’s more balancing to be done and more matters of contention to address, and we are actively working with the Halo 4 game team to investigate the feasibility of additional fixes. For now, here is a breakdown of what will be included in this particular title update."The full list of tweaks is after the jump >>
343 Industries has officially blown the lid off Halo 4's Majestic Map Pack, which is set to release on February 25th for 800 Microsoft Points (or included in the season pack). This new multiplayer expansion promises to "hark back to classic Halo maps" with three "small scale arenas," a new Infinity Rumble game mode and ten new achievements.,
We've got a trailer and map details after the break.Click here to read more...
Halo 4′s Majestic Map Pack DLC is reportedly landing later this month, and some leaked screenshots showing off three new maps - Landfall, Monolith and Skyline - have popped up online to drool over. Is it just us, or do a couple of them look a bit familiar, SpOps fans?Click here to read more...