Infopost | 2023.02.06

Halo Master Chief Collection Pillar of Autumn Halo ring

After blazing through The Ascent (review forthcoming), me and J consulted the list and decided on an epic Halo playthrough. It didn't go so well.

Halo Master Chief Collection games
The Master Chief Collection has Halos 1-4, ODST, and Reach.

Though Reach is a prequel, we opted to run the games in release order. After realizing that I needed to download Halo 1 from within the collection UI (rather than Steam), we hopped aboard the Pillar of Autumn.

Halo Master Chief Collection Pillar of Autumn elite coop

We were immediately slapped in the face - not by elites with laser swords but rather by 3-20 fps gameplay. Like what? It's an early-2000s game running on modern hardware. The atrocious framerates were accompanied by frequent reconnect prompts and eventually a crash on the host (Steamdeck) side.

Halo Master Chief Collection ring escape pod

I gently suggested we have the gaming rig on ethernet do the hosting (though he has fiber), but he couldn't connect to the game session. A little bit of searching yielded this:

Moskeeto93 Moskeeto93 In desktop mode Steam, find MCC in your library and right-click it. Then click on manage > browse local files. That'll open the location of the game files. Open the folder labeled "easyanticheat" and delete the file labeled "".

This did the trick, J joined up and we skipped ahead to the second chapter. My machine ran the game silky smooth, J was still getting garbage fps. We both had to wait on reconnects and the game finally timed out a reconnect before the warthog dropped.

Halo Master Chief Collection bunker defense dropships

I found a bunch of threads like this one:

Apex_Slide Halo 3's netcode is still stupidly broken. I've just introduced a friend to Halo, it's their first time ever, and we're going through the playlist... They're host, because the input delay in 1 and 2 are abysmal at the best of times?
Halo 3? Yeah we couldn't even get it to run more than 0.5 frames per second, that's how expletive censorship bad it was.

I remember 343i giving some BS excuse about it taking too

Halo Master Chief Collection Pillar of Autumn grunts Halo Master Chief Collection bunker defense combat

The broken netcode theory makes sense. All the Halos until Reach(?) only had local co-op, so to support online co-op 343 had to write a new software layer to coordinate remote players. Since I saw plenty of Xbox players discussing the same issue, it's likely not a Steam/Steamdeck/Windows thing. It's still surprising that:
  1. Co-op mode ever shipped in the first place. What setup could they possibly have used where anyone would have said, "yeah this is a product we can charge money for".
  2. A decade of faster internet and hardware since MCC first released doesn't overcome the issues.
And alas, since gaming companies killed LAN, we can't even attempt an ultra low latency local session. I like Halo, but there are a zillion better single player experiences.

Halo Master Chief Collection Reach intro

I vaguely recalled that Reach was released in the era of online (or at least LAN) co-op. So if there's any truth to the garbage netcode theory, it should run fine. That is, the software to synchronize remote players already existed at launch (and we know it worked fine) so there wasn't a job for 343 to botch.

Halo Master Chief Collection Reach grenade

Yep. Reach runs just fine. We'll play through that because it was a pretty good game, but we're ultimately quite disappointed.

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thumbnail Halo Master Chief Collection Reach elite

Shapes for toddlers square circle triangle cross parenting



Part three of the co-opable Master Chief Collection - Halo: ODST.

Halo 3

A Halo 3 playthrough.

Halo 4

Some screencaps and commentary from Halo 4.