Halo: Reach's PC Version Sports an Enhanced Mode That Goes Beyond Performance

Halo: Reach's PC Version Sports an Enhanced Mode That Goes Beyond Performance

Digital Foundry got a look at Reach for PC and liked what they saw.

Halo: Reach was a good looking game in 2010, but definitely pushed up against the limitations of the Xbox 360. Halo 4 pushed the system even further, but since the release of the Master Chief Collection in 2014, Xbox One owners have had a way to experience that game on beefier hardware. The upcoming release of Reach for the Master Chief Collection will be the first time players have gotten to see Bungie's last Halo game go beyond basic backwards compatibility support—and apparently, it goes beyond a frame rate and resolution bump on PC.

At X019, Digital Foundry went hands-on with the PC version of Halo: Reach and found that it features a new "enhanced mode." Unlike the toggleable "anniversary" graphical treatments that Halo and Halo 2 received—total visual overhauls with new rendering techniques and assets—the enhanced mode coming to Reach on PC lets the engine take better advantage of modern PC hardware. Mostly, it seems like the mode tweaks level of detail out in the distance: basically, there's "more grass, fewer lower poly models—just a general, highly welcome increase in visual refinement."

If that doesn't sound like much, Digital Foundry provides side-by-side comparisons of Reach running with and without the new enhanced mode enabled in a new video analysis.

There's no word on whether or not the Xbox One version of the Master Chief Collection will receive the same toggle or not, but that version should still be a considerable improvement over the Xbox 360 version, especially with the Master Chief Collection's Xbox One X enhancements. According to 343 Industries, an Nvidia GTX 770 should be enough for PC players to run Reach at 4K and 60 FPS.

The Master Chief Collection versions of Reach will launch for the Xbox One and PC on December 3. The other games in the collection will be added to the PC version one-by-one, beginning with 2001's Halo: Combat Evolved.

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Mathew Olson

Reporter

Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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