A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Halo: The Master Chief Collection includes the first four official games in the best-selling shooter series. You play as a human super-soldier who must kill thousands of aliens from a first-person perspective. The player uses both human and alien weapons; watch for copious blood and gore when attacking enemies and during some cut scenes, such as slicing throats, stabbing enemies in the back, and blowing creatures to pieces. Along with the intense violence, parents need to know there's plenty of profanity -- including "s--t," "damn," and "ass" -- as well as an unmoderated multiplayer mode.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
An Xbox One exclusive, HALO: THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION is a greatest-hits bundle that features the previous best-selling games in the series, including the iconic Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 -- all remastered in 1080p HD resolution and running at a smooth 60 frames per second. The collection also has a ton of added multiplayer levels, a "playlist" maker (to choose the best parts of each game, such as the intro level of one or the finale of another), downloadable content, and other goodies. Also, the Halo: Nightfall live-action digital series is included, as is an invite code for the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta.
Is it any good?
The remastered Halo games have never looked so good -- especially the older ones, which date back many years. Although the core play remains the same, the high-definition graphics, improved lighting, and faster, smoother frame rate will be the first thing gamers notice after booting up. As in previous remakes, such as 2011's Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, you can toggle between the new look and the old graphics. That said, the old games still don't hold a candle to today's, but developer 343 Industries did a great job. The sound effects and music have been redone, too, and they sound exceptional on Xbox One. Most importantly, the gameplay feels fresh and fun, whether you're playing against the artificial intelligence or tackling others online, using more than 100 multiplayer maps.
Be warned: You have to wait for a downloadable update to patch the collection, and it's more than 20 gigabytes. This is an unfortunate trend for many of today's Internet-connected consoles, and it's because of a "ship now and fix later" mentality. Matchmaking for multiplayer games will be another update, followed by Halo 4's cooperative "Spartan Ops" mode. If you can get past all this, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a "must-have" disc or download.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether Halo: The Master Chief's sci-fi premise make its violence more acceptable. Does the killing of aliens make the violence more tolerable? What about the fact that humans kill other humans in multiplayer?
Talk about consumerism. Some companies seem to be repackaging older games in bundles, with updated visuals and some extras. Is this a tactic to sell more games, or is it a way to repay fans for their dedicated following of a franchise?
- Platforms: Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Microsoft Game Studios
- Release date: November 10, 2014
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Language, Violence
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