About 6 months, I downloaded the MCC on a whim just to relive some of the glory days of Halo. I didn't play Halo 3 that much but Halo: Reach was essentially the only game I played for about 2 years, so I do have some experience with the franchise so I wasn't going in blind. After playing a couple matches of all the games multiplayer, I realized something…
I was actually having fun.
Forgive me for being a little dramatic but it was of the first times I had genuinely enjoyed the multiplayer experience in a really long time and I spent a while thinking about why that was the case and came up with a few reasons.
Complexity (or lack thereof): Something Halo always did right was take their initial gameplay loop and make it as simple and fun as it could be. In every game leading up to Halo 4, Slayer spawned you in with an assault rifle, a pistol, and usually 2 frag grenades. In contrast to that, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War gives you over 30 guns to choose from with dozens of attachments for each that modify the gun slightly as well as the 3 perks to choose from, your tactical, and grenade choice. I'm not saying this is bad or that games should always be this simple, but when it feels like every shooter keeps increasing its complexity, a return to simplicity feels like a breath of fresh air. Not to mention, in Call of Duty certain guns dominate the meta, which makes the choices you make leading up to that point essentially pointless as there are only 3 or 4 viable guns (I am aware that patches and balancing exist but when the game still feels unbalanced months after it's come out you gotta ask "Why even bother?").
Atmosphere: This one is pretty hard to explain/define. The MCC just feels more… relaxed. Deaths feel deserved most of the time. The other game modes are much more focused on fun. People just care less (granted I don't really play competitive but I don't play it in COD either). Halo probably has the most game clips on my console and for good reason. When I throw a grenade at an enemy hiding behind a box and it launches the box towards me, crushing me, I laugh rather than rage. I distinctly remember a moment where a pane of glass separated me and an enemy. He teabagged and I teabagged back. We eventually walk around the glass and begin jumping and dancing around before he eventually melees me when my back is turned. Moments like that where you and your opponent realize it's just a game feel few and far between in other games, especially when others pride themselves on being toxic.
Community: Halo is/was (depending on who you ask) one of the best communities in gaming. Forge has given players the tools necessary to create whatever they want, whether it be a map or game mode. While it's clear that the glory days of hopping on the mic and by the end of the day playing custom games with 15 strangers are behind us, the upcoming addition of a custom games browser is at least an attempt to bring some of that magic back.
No SBMM/PBMM: I'm not 100% on whether or not MCC has SBMM in it's social playlist but I would err on the side of probably not. Some games, an enemy goes 26-2 and other games, you go 23-4. Is it a little frustrating to be placed in a game with people better than you? Yes. Is it still better than the alternative? Yes. In the end, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. When my teammates aren't doing well, I don't get nearly as mad because it isn't a situation where everyone needs to be at the top of their game in order to win. I'm not saying that SBMM is always bad but in this case, it feels better. Is the fact that I can occasionally stomp on noobs a major factor in this decision? Maybe.
Nostalgia: I mean this one really speaks for itself.
Lack of Change: Out of every modern series still around today, the Halo series does have a reputation (which has been waning a bit) of extreme polish. The difference between release Halo and their MCC counterpart is pretty small. It's nice to have a game that doesn't have an evolving meta that changes weekly and almost demands the player to keep up to date on what the best character and guns are. I know that 5 months from now, I''m getting the same consistent experience.
Price/Content: 50$. That's it. For every first person Halo game (sans 5). And it's on Game Pass. That includes all campaigns, all multiplayers, all firefights, all forges, all custom games. When a game like Cold War, can launch with a short campaign, a multiplayer with 10 maps of varying quality and 25 guns, a single Zombies map and a mode that no one really plays (Dead Ops Arcade) for 90$, you can clearly see the difference. Sidenote: I am aware that re-releasing games that are 10 years old are obviously going to be priced differently but this is mostly to showcase the difference in bang for your buck.
I think all of this boils down to just the much more simple and relaxed atmosphere of the MCC. Feel free to let me know what you think.
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