Beer and Games: Halo Collection & Bruery Sourrento

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So some were a little disappointed by the brevity of my previous B&G.  Apologies to #IDARB for being the butt of the joke, but hey man Not Your Father’s Root Beer is so good it makes everything around it an after thought.  #IDARB is tight though.  For realsies.  Ill make it up to you my precious readers this time but you gotta realize you get what you get man.  I do it live.  And ill be honest, i drank that NYFRB aftering having a KBS, a White Oak Jai Alai and a Stone Enjoy By 4.20.2015.  So it was an impulsive entry.

So right of the bat man I gotta say, I feel bad for the Halo Master Chief Collection.  It sounded like pure gold when it was announced back at E3 last year, and it ended up being the reason I purchased an Xbox One.  If you didn’t know, I am a Halo fan boy.  I’ve always loved the simplicity and balance of it when compared to other games.  I guess that is why I’ve also always liked Counter-Strike.  There is just something satisfying about having both teams start on an equal playing field, knowing when you win you won because of skill and not because you had a better gun.

Anyways it sounded like a slam dunk.  Halo 1, 2, 3 and 4 all on one disc, all playable online with ranks (including Halo 1 for the first time ever on consoles) and on top of that a remastering of Halo 2 (the fan favorite of the series).  But then the game came out.  And it is no exaggeration to say it was basically unplayable online for the first 4 months.  Sure you could go through the campaigns (which of course i did) but lets be honest, the reason we all wanted this was so we could relive the glory days of playing the original Halo games online.  But Microsoft needed this out by Christmas no matter what.  I don’t blame them, PS4 was pulling ahead in the console race and Microsoft was already burned by the less than ideal announcement/launch of the console.  So they needed this to bring back their audience.


Sourrento

Shaky hands

Unfortunately this meant there wasn’t time for proper testing and basically the game’s network system was totally borked.  At launch I was averaging about a match an hour due to matchmaking simply not working.  Again, no exaggeration, 1 match an hour.  And the only ranked playlist was Halo 2 Anniversary, and that ranking system was less than ideal with what little matchmaking we had barely taking into account the ranks of individuals.  But luckily 6 months have passed.  I’m going to review this game assuming the past 6 months didn’t happen.  I want to be fair and someone buying this game now doesn’t have to worry about the past of the game, only how the game currently runs.

So I talked about balance being the reason the I love Halo.  Well this time the paired beer is from The Bruery, a brewery who lets just say isn’t the best with balance.  Sourrento is the beer this time, a sour blonde ale w/ lemon zest and vanilla.  These sour ales with sweet adjuncts are getting pretty popular.  I had Tart of Darkness w/ Cherry & Vanilla recently and I was quite a fan.  Something about that vanilla cuts the sourness without clashing.  And i like The Bruery’s golden sour base.  Beauregarde is a favorite of mine.

Anyways let get something out of the way right in the beginning.  Halo: The Master Chief Collection now works.  I’ve had no problems in the past 2 months or so.  And they just recently reset all the ranks and added rankings to the Team Slayer playlist (combo of Halo 1, 2, and 3) which I am now addicted to.  So basically it is now what Microsoft originally promised with this release.  And I love it.  It’s just like I am 13 years old again.

Now the thing you have to realize is, if you didn’t like Halo before, well basically the rest of the statement is moot because these are the same games through and through.  So instead let me focus on whats different, and mainly that is the Halo 2 remastering.  Its pretty for sure, but not anything to run home with.  Obviously if you compare it to the original the remaster is drop dead gorgeous, but if you compare it to new games built for the now current gen consoles it isn’t anything special.  This could definitely run on the Xbox 360 and to be honest I wouldn’t be surprised if it originally was being developed also for the 360.  But obviously that would be a dumb business decision for Microsoft.  This package was built entirely to get previous Xbox owners to come to the newer console.  And like I mentioned previously, that worked for me.  Like most older games though, the original graphics really don’t hold up.  The gameplay is still perfect, but switching to the original Xbox graphics (which you can do with a single button press ala Halo CE Anniversary [which is the Halo 1 edition included here]) shows its age.  So it is nice having the new polish on top.  Plus every cutscene has been completely redone by Blur (the gods of CG trailers) and they are beautiful.  If you are a Halo 2 fan, these redone cutscenes are worth the price of admission alone.  Or watch them on YouTube or something.  I won’t judge you.


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Proper Glassware

Alright I’ll admit it, this isn’t my first time having Sourrento.  I had it when it first came out a few months back and I loved it.  The vanilla was definitely the highlight and it was intense.  It is odd to call a sour a vanilla bomb, but there is no other way to describe it. But like Halo, a good 6 months of time have been added to this beer.  And like Halo I am going to review this as it is today, and the vanilla has definitely mellowed out.  Now the lemon sour hits at the forefront followed by a little bit of sweet cream on the backend.  But not like before.  Mainly it is just acid now.  Lemon isn’t that potent either, but then again it could just be masked by the high amount of sourness.  Its heart burn inducing for sure.  Sour is in the name, and like most Bruery sours, they don’t mess around with the level of acid.  I couldn’t solo the bottle.  My stomach would decay.

The one main complaint I have with Halo MCC is the lack of Halo 2 map remasterings.  You only get 6 remastered maps.  Halo 2 OG (w/ its DLC) had 24 total maps, and though those are obviously included in the Halo 2 classic mode, it would be nice to get more than 6 remastered.  Playing the Halo 2 Anniversary playlist online does become somewhat repetitive after time with votes really only going to Lockout, Sanctuary and Ascension (other maps being Warlock, Zanzibar and Coagulation).  Relic is coming out as DLC and is free to early purchasers of the game (along with ODST which isn’t my cup of tea but I won’t complain about freebies) but I’d still like some Ivory Tower, Turf, and Midship.  Again these can all be played in Halo 2 classic, but its not the same especially when rankings still haven’t been applied to Halo 2 classic.  All I’m saying is considering how far they have gone remastering Halo 2, adding just a few more maps would really push it all the way.  At this point the number of maps seems a little stingy.

Other item to note is the fact Halo 1 is not what you remember it to be.  If you are buying this to play Halo 1 online, i am letting you right now the multiplayer is not what you remember.  Its the same feeling you got a few years ago when you went back to play Goldeneye and realized that game just isn’t good by today’s standards.  Halo 1 was revolutionary at the time ( i put hours upon hours into the game especially playing multiplayer on PC), but the core gameplay lacks the finesse and balance of its sequels.  And I know everyone loves the Halo 1 pistol, but that shit is game breaking.  I love how over powered it is also, but online its just constant pistol battles.  If you don’t use the pistol you won’t win.  Its that simple.


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The Creation of Sourrento (via God Cat)

Lastly I really wish they would include the classic Halo post match screen where you can choose to party up.  Was great playing with a rando and realizing they are also good and one button partying up with them.  Its just not the same having to externally send an invite.

Sourrento is one definitely worth a try.  I like what the Bruery is doing creating these weird adjunct sours.  Melange 9 w/ the coconut was awesome and so was ToD w/ cherry and vanilla as i previously mentioned.  And Sourrento follows suite.  I’m all for a fruited sour (Atrial Rubicite still reigns king in my opinion.  V015 was dope too), but I do like the Bruery trying some new stuff.  Lets get a vanilla cinnamon sour or a strawberry shortcake sour.  I’m down.

Again Halo MCC is working now.  And if you like the former Halo games, you will like this.  That is all you need to know.

Also follow me on Untappd if you got it.  I’ve checked into a few.

Halo Master Chief Collection: 8.68/10

The Bruery Sourrento: 7.5/10 (no joke 9.85/10 when fresh)

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Author: Chris Fadeley View all posts by
I am UF alumni and a computer engineer. I know virtually every useless fact about videogames ever. I like computers and potatoes.

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