I’ve been playing the multiplayer for ‘Halo Master Chief Collection’ recently. It’s all of the original Halo games bundled as one, with Halo 2 remastered for the Xbox One. The other games have been upscaled, and the original Halo game brings with it the Xbox 360 visual update it received in 2011.
I was excited when I first heard that the online versions of all the games were going to be included, with every map that’s ever been added (I’m not one for buying DLC, so a lot of these were new to me).
Unfortunately the multiplayer side of things is one big opportunity missed. Rather than take the latest, most refined gameplay elements from Halo 4 and let you play in any map, the game actually loads the version of the game that the map originally came with. I know that might sound obvious, but I was looking forward to playing Halo 4 online, but in some of the revamped Halo 2 maps, or original Halo maps.
I’m sure there’s technical reasons why it wouldn’t be easy to do this, but the experience would have been far greater. At the moment if you join a playlist such as ‘Big Team Battle’, you could end up one of 41 maps, which could run in one of 4 different game engines. Your weapons look different, extra abilities aren’t available, even the height of your jump is slightly different. Why should a user care about different game engines? How are they supposed to learn the game when it’s different everytime, for no other than technical reason?
That brings me to my other main complaint, which is that the playlists are too huge and it’s not easy to select which maps you want to play. Team Fortress Classic managed this back in 1999 by showing a list of games, their current map, and the number of players. Take ‘Big Team Battle’ again. This playlist has over 40 maps in it that could randomly get selected. How is anyone suppose to master a map (really get to know the environment, and all of it’s hidden features) when they’re getting one of 41 random chooses in each game?
I’m sure there’s a reason for this, the developers want to make sure a wide selection of maps get played perhaps? Maybe they want to reduce the complexity of the user interface? Whatever it may be, I think being able to choose a map is crucial. Players tend to gravitate towards their favourite maps (take 2fort and rock2 in Team Fortress Classic), surely this is vital feedback for what works? Yes, you can create your own custom games of course, but these only seen to be open to Xbox Live party members.
So in my view, this game is a massive opportunity missed. Buy this game for it’s single player modes, not for the multiplayer.