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Master Chief fellow Spartans Halo

The highly-anticipated update to Halo: The Master Chief Collection has finally rolled out, offering new features, enhanced visuals, improved matchmaking and a slew of other improvements. This update has been a long time coming and, if everything goes off without a hitch, it should make series fans pretty happy.

The full update rundown is live over on Halo Waypoint and you'll definitely want to give the full list a gander if you're looking to learn the nitty-gritty details of the patch. I'm going to run through the bigger points here, though, for those who prefer the TL,DR approach.

For starters, the Master Chief update weighs in at a whopping 73GB, so make sure you've got some space set aside before launching the download. I figure a lot of that space is dedicated to what is likely the most intensive part of the update, enhanced graphics for the Xbox One.

Another highly-requested fix included in this update is improved matchmaking, as well as the inclusion of dedicated servers. You can also enjoy offline LAN support, if you prefer to party like it's 1999.

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Another, rather brilliant, addition is what the team is calling Intelligent Delivery. With it, you can pick and choose what content is installed on your hard drive, allowing you to free up some space while still being able to play the modes you want. It looks like each game can be broken down into its campaign and multiplayer components, with players able to keep or scrap any of those components they want. If you've played all of the campaigns but want access to all of the multiplayer modes, you can do that. If you don't care for the multiplayer in Halo 2 or Halo 4, you can just get rid of those. Want them back? Simply set them to re-download.

Other noteworthy enhancements include things like faster load times and an updated user interface, as well as new matchmaking playlists. It basically pulls Master Chief Collection apart and, hopefully, stitches it back together as a bigger, badder, more complete package.

It's also worth noting that The Master Chief Collection is now a part of Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass program, which will likely mean an extra boost in those online lobbies. The service costs $9.99 a month and grants access to a library of more than 100 games. From Sea of Thieves to Gears of War, BioShock Infinite, Mass Effect and beyond, the service lets you download and play as many of its games as your hard drive has room to support.

And in case you haven't picked up an Xbox One yet, Microsoft also this week revealed Xbox All Access, a service that lets you grab a console, Game Pass and an Xbox Live Gold subscription for no upfront cost in exchange for a small monthly fee over 24 months. It's a pretty fantastic offering that makes modern gaming (in the U.S., anyway) about as affordable as it has ever been.

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