Is Halo Better with Master Chief?
Rhetorical question. Of course Halo is better with Master Chief, even if he's not in a starring role 100% of the time. Sounds like Microsoft has finally figured it out too, as Microsoft Game Studios VP Phil Harrison had this to say to OXM UK:
We kind of lost our way a little bit, I'll say. And that's why I wanted to make sure that at the unveiling of Halo 4, you knew you were playing Master Chief, that John was back. Because Master Chief is the John Wayne character of that universe, and that's who you want to play.
Opinions do differ on this matter, and it's hard to come away from Halo Reach and allege it's somehow a worse game than, say, Halo 3. But it's important to point out that many find Reach's lasting value and charm in its multiplayer modes, something that Bungie was obviously building on over the years; simply by coming later and having years' more worth of gameplay feedback does Reach have so many superior features.
But for me and for many other avid Halo players, the last two games - neither of which put Master Chief in any role beyond cameo-glimpse or a quickly mentioned reference - stick with us like the first three Halo games did. Sure, he didn't talk much, but at least Bungie didn't design a whole game around him being mute, nor did they have him so obviously doing things like refusing to answer a pointed and important question (and plenty of modern shooters still do that - Crysis 2 and F.E.A.R. 3 immediately come to mind). He wasn't a chatterbox like Nomad was in the first Crysis, and he only had something to say when it really mattered. Like a not-quite-as-Silent-Bob version of Silent Bob. But with guns.
It's good to hear that 343 Studios, with the massive shoes they're going to try and fill with Halo 4 (which stars Master Chief) will at least be putting the franchise's most iconic character to good use.