I’ve beaten Halo 3 about six times since I downloaded Halo: The Master Chief Collection. I’ve also completed the previous two games a couple of times each, and have dipped into Reach and ODST for the first time since they originally launched. Although I had very fond memories of the series, I now realize that I hadn’t been nearly nostalgic enough about it – somehow, these games are even better than I remember.
There are plenty of excellent benefits to the Master Chief Collection. You’ve got all of the good Halo games in one convenient place, a fully-functioning online component with a huge player base, and the ability to play the games in their original format, but on a high-end PC. My favourite bit, though, is the fact that 343 recognizes that it knocked it out of the park with this one, to the extent that we’re constantly getting new fixes and updates to make a good thing even better.
When you consider all of these aspects together, it’s no wonder that The Master Chief Collection has seen the largest influx of new players since Halo 3. People from all over the world are flocking to the collection with the goal of finishing the fight for the last time, 500 times. That sentence makes sense the same way Anchorman’s Sex Panther statistic makes sense.
Anyway, the main reason I’m writing this piece today is because of the news that Grifball is coming to The Master Chief Collection’s port of Halo 3. If you’ve never heard of it, Grifball is basically rugby, but with Gravity Hammers and explosions. Interested? I thought you might be.
Grifball was a beloved seasonal game back in the peak days of Halo 3. Essentially, you’ve got two teams competing to transport a bomb to the opposite side of the pitch. That sounds a bit like ordinary rugby – minus the fact the ball is a weapon of mass destruction – but there’s loads more to it. Everyone is equipped with a Gravity Hammer and an Energy Sword, so instead of scrums and rugby tackles, you’re caving people’s faces in with space weapons. Actually, that’s pretty much all there is to it. The best bit is that it’s very simple.
This paves the way for all sorts of beloved fanfare from the original Halo games to come back. While custom games always spearheaded innovation in the community – I’m thinking of Elephant races around Sandtrap, or labyrinthine Infection lobbies on Foundry – seeing a mode like Grifball come back into the fold after over a decade is immensely gratifying. It makes me long for the days of turning the volume down to two or three at 10:30 on a school night so my parents didn’t realize that, actually, I was up past my bedtime again and would flat out refuse to roll out of bed at eight o’clock the following morning. Reader, those were the days.
Anyway, I just wanted to point out that The Master Chief Collection is a dream come true for a day-one Halo fan like myself. Now please excuse me, I’m off to clobber loads of bomb-chasers with an impractically large Gravity Hammer.
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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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