343 Industries’ treatment of Halo: The Master Chief Collection has, in recent years, been a tremendous effort to preserve the beloved Xbox franchise throughout its darkest years. However, with today’s new update, the developer has crossed lines that should never have been crossed: adding Halo Online’s armour into Halo 3.

Halo Online was a free-to-play PC Halo game that was released in beta in 2015. Developed by Saber Interactive – the same team as Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer – this Russian-only release was built upon a modified version of Halo 3.

Saber’s free-to-play release was eventually cancelled, but fans turned to a modded version of the same, ElDewrito, to experience Halo 3 on PC, years before Microsoft would turn their focus back to PC gaming amidst the failed launch of Xbox One.

Fast-forward to now and Halo developer 343 Industries has salvaged the armour style of Halo Online and retrofitted it into Halo 3 as new armour sets to equip in multiplayer. The problem? Halo 3 and Halo Online share drastically different aesthetics, and the latter looks garish when placed inside the world of the former.

Halo Online’s armour style isn’t based on the Bungie aesthetic, the long-beloved art style that 343 is highlighting a return to with the upcoming Halo Infinite. Bungie’s clean, almost toy-like MJOLNIR sets with their clean undersuits and simple helmets is the definitive Halo look. It’s a look that fans have craved to return to since 343 Industries took over the reigns, a look 343 is returning to with Infinite.

In comparison, these new armour sets aren’t just inspired by Halo 4, they’re the worst offenders of 343 Industries’ controversial design. The new techsuits are bumpy, like reptile skin, armour pieces are overly complex and Halo Online’s helmets make no sense at all.

Personally, I don’t dislike the style of Halo 4’s armours. I thought it was a good alternative back in 2012 as 343 tried to develop a Halo distanced from Bungie. It was a new look for the iconic Spartans, but it was a look that also fit the world that was developed around them. These new Spartans running around old worlds looks off; these new Spartans next to the old toy soldiers looks abysmally inconsistent.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection was a celebration of Halo, offering everything players loved from the series in one place. While 343 has added skins for weapons and vehicles, that players can importantly toggle off, they’ve never done anything that fundamentally altered the beloved aesthetic of the game. Until now.

Players can’t disable new armour in Halo 3. These ugly, downright distracting new armour sets have to be seen. While you can play every Halo game in the Master Chief Collection, you can no longer play Halo 3. This is different.

Banner Image courtesy of RCSRex.

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