Halo 3 Xbox One X Enhanced Impressions
Halo 3 is my all time favorite game and while I was disappointed it didn't get the anniversary edition it deserved, it did finally arrive on Xbox One in its natural standalone form for the 10th anniversary. This was honestly rather strange considering The Master Chief Collection already presents the game with better performance, but it's nice to have as an option I suppose. When I first laid eyes upon the backwards compatible version I found it rather ugly, it was jagged around the edges and need a boost. One day a random announcement came by with the promise of a Halo 3 Xbox One X Enhanced update.
This of course is what I'll be going over and damn, this is one hell of a boost. The game is presented in crisp 1080p (textures, awaiting confirmation on that though seems to be the case) while rendering at 4k resolution according to captured images with various smaller graphical tweaks to unlock the full potential like The Master Chief Collection version received. It runs at 30fps as it has to for cross-play reasons as Xbox 360 users can play with Xbox One users. The game did get a nice baking of HDR truly bringing the world alive. It makes such an improvement to the game with the sun shining realistic rays of light and this in itself makes the game look better than it ever has. The light reflects through the BR, the soft white of Snowbound glistens and the jungle of Sierra 117 shines.
HDR really is one of those must have improvements for a game, I never realized it until I got to experience it on the Xbox One X and wow. That's not to say those very smooth lines that dot the structures and guns in the world aren't beautiful, but that shine makes it something else. The best I can describe this enhancement to the game is that thought you have when thinking about an old game. In your memory, a game was amazing and it looked beautiful. When you go back to play these games they look rough, dated and just ugly around the edges. This enhancement makes it look just like how you always picture it in your head and that's just magic. It's quite emotional to see this game get an update like this and it could very well lead way to other Xbox 360 games getting a fresh paint on Xbox One X to provide longevity to those titles.
While playing I worked through a key selection of levels. I was sure to play on the game running on Xbox One X prior to the enhancement, the Master Chief Collection version and the enhanced version. It's a significant difference and possibly the best looking version of the game until MCC gets an enhancement. Obviously the frame rate at 30fps is a drag, but the game is beautiful. Levels I viewed included Sierra 117, The Storm and Halo. Multiplayer maps were a plenty, I directly compared High Ground, Last Resort and Valhalla. Afterwards I viewed basically all of them and did some multiplayer, its gorgeous looking. I was very happy with the Halo 3 Xbox One Enhancements and this is a great start for hopefully more Xbox 360 games to get treatment.
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