Halo The Master Chief Collection Finally Works After The Latest Update, And It Feels Like A New Game

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Mar 05, 2015 06:11 PM EST

There's no sugar-coating it: Halo: The Master Chief Collection's launch--and the subsequent months--have been a disaster. The offline game and singleplayer campaigns are great, but matchmaking barely worked, and a series of patches failed to improve the situation.

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Matchmaking searches were incredibly slow and often failed to find games at all. Teams were frequently unbalanced, and keeping parties together before and after games was a challenge. Quitting the game to restart and try again was legitimately more common than being placed into a match.

Fortunately, finally, that has changed. 343 Industries halted its stream of short-term fixes and promised a bigger update that addressed the fundamental issues with the title. That patch arrived this week, and after frequent disappoints, the developers have finally fixed their game.

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It may sound silly to say, but this version of The Master Chief Collection feels like getting a new game. After such a rocky start it seems counter-intuitive to be excited about a title that frustrated players for months and made 343 a dirty word among the Halo community (the competitive circuit marched on), but that's how playing the game now feels. It's almost revolutionary to search and find matches in under a minute--yes, the minimum expectations for modern games.

The UI has been cleaned up, and changes in search progress do actually reflect how close you are to finding a match. Parties can back out of the post-game stats right away and stay together without hassle. It's what all players wanted and expected out of the game from the start, or at least after the first few patches.

343 has had plenty of criticism thrown its way by this point--there's no reason to pile it on now, and as bad as the experience was, it's only fair to praise the team for that fact that the big patch succeeded. I can verify the improvements myself, but you can also look at the overjoyed (and slightly incredulous) reaction from the Halo community on Reddit.

The frustration was partially borne from the fact that, when it functions, The Master Chief Collection is a lot of fun--a great game has finally been freed from its shackles. The criticism was so loud and persistent (as well as fully justified) because the property is so beloved, and the game itself warranted playing. Plenty of broken titles have launched and been brushed to the wayside, but a functional version of The Master Chief Collection was worth hoping for.

343 lost a lot of credit with the community, and people have every right to be turned off. The game does really work as was originally expected now, though, and I can encourage everyone to try again--even if you were one of many who set it aside in frustration months ago. The developers will continue to improve the game and change the playlists, and it's finally worth investing the time to play consistently and competitively.

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