Is Halo: The Master Chief Collection worth returning to?

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Image credit: 343 Industries)

Halo: The Master Chief Collection (hereby referred to as the MCC) was one of gaming's all-time biggest disappointments. What was promised as a definitive collection of all the main Halo titles before Halo 5: Guardians turned out to be a bug-ridden, glitchy disaster that heavily damaged the reputations of both 343 Industries and the Xbox brand.

Despite this, 343 committed to fixing the MCC as a side project while they develop Halo Infinite. Near the end of August, the MCC was updated with a plethora of fixes and new features, and on the first of this month, it released on Xbox Game Pass. But does the update deliver on what it promises? I decided to test the game extensively to find out for myself.

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Features: Selective install, interface, and more

One of the coolest things to come to the MCC in this update is selective install, which lets you choose which Halo games to install. For people without external hard drives or a massive game library, this is a dream come true. Additionally, the multiplayer playlists have been expanded on significantly, which allows people to have more control over which games they play and what modes they play in them.

Also new is a completely redone user interface that's cleaner, more concise, and less laggy than the one that preceded it. Concerning graphics, the update added Xbox One X enhancement, which improves the visuals of every game in the collection across the board on that console and gives users the ability to edit high definition resolution settings. And if that wasn't already enough, the game even received LAN support.

The only negative to come out of the new features is the fact that matchmaking servers are now region locked, which means that you can only play with people in your country. This won't be a problem for United States players like me since the MCC is popular here, but in other countries where it's not, finding a match takes ages. Granted, this does guarantee good connections, but I think people would rather play with some lag than wait dozens of minutes to find a match.

9/26/2018: Recently, 343 Industries has reduced the severity of the region locking. This has resulted in people who were previously affected having a better experience.

Read: 343 'evaluating' Halo: Reach for the MCC

Performance: Bug fixes, stability, and consistency

The real meat of this update is the extensive list of fixed bugs and glitches. The MCC's poor performance was what originally made it a failure, so it was critical that 343 Industries solved these issues. Thankfully, for the most part, they have. While there's the occasional glitchy moment or net code mishap, the MCC is in excellent working order ninety-nine percent of the time.

The most noticeable improvement is by far the speed of matchmaking — provided you aren't a victim of the region locking issue, the time required to find a game ranges between two-to-four minutes, which is on par with most current games with matchmaking. Other positive changes include faster load times, more consistent hit registration with weapons, and fixes for almost every campaign bug across all four of the included Halo games.

Should you return to the MCC?

Ultimately, people should definitely give the MCC another try after this update. Almost everything now works as intended, and the new features allow the player to customize their MCC experience more than ever before. The region lock issue is a problem for players in countries where the game isn't popular, but nothing is stopping them from adding some people on Xbox Live and playing Custom Games.

The MCC is available on Xbox One for $29.99, or with a $9.99 subscription to Xbox Game Pass.

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Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.