Halo 3 vs 4 – A Graphical Comparison
You may be thinking, “why the hell do we need a comparison for games that are 5 years apart”. Let’s face the truth. Gamers are a bunch of masochistic, scrutinizing, inert creatures. People love to nit pick and analyze the most minute of details in order to ameliorate themselves.
So far for Halo 4, the only single player footage we’ve seen is through a jungle on the planet Requiem, the new location for Halo 4. Halo 3‘s first mission starts out in a forest as well, so these first two videos should give you a great representation of how far the graphics have come. I’ll give my own comparison in text under the two videos. Keep in mind, this is just to show how far the series has come since 2007. Obviously, Halo 4 looks better than Halo 3.
After examining the videos, the first thing that stood out to me was how awful the facial animation and polygon counts in Halo 3 are. The character models are just plain rancid and trees are sharp, angular messes rather than smooth pieces of work. Also, the rock textures in some cases are extremely low resolution. They’re almost reminiscent of a last generation game. It’s hard to believe that critics gave approbation to this game’s visuals back in 2007.
Moving onto the video for Halo 4, the most palpable improvement is the lighting. I may be incorrect, but the lighting looks pre canned. Comparing Halo 3 to Halo 4, the lighting seems to have undergone major changes. I’m still unsure if it’s dynamic lighting, but it certainly looks it. The refractions of the light seeping through the openings of the trees creates a much more natural, convincing effect than Halo 3 did.
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The weapon models don’t look too different at first glance, but upon closer inspection its clear the weapon models have gotten a fairly decent upgrade as well. They appear slightly more defined with shaders to give them a shiner, more textured look.
The particle and volumetric effects also see a step up as is evident when Master Chief is strolling through the forest and the fog seamlessly pulls in then out. The transparency is very well done. Enemies shoot off more sparks when blown up. The developers likely got a handle on how to maximize on screen effects while improving the general graphics and keeping framerate solid.
Another diminutive yet nice touch is the bullets seen flying off the side of the gun as bullets are shot. The last thing of note is the textures, which I can definitely denote as better in Halo 4, though the video’s compression makes it very difficult to do a solid comparison in that regard.
What I can espy is the much better character models. Halo 4 does have a different aesthetic to it than Halo 3 that is difficult to explain, but easy to discern when you look at direct pictures of character models between the two games. The armor suits look more fantasized. The armor suits in Halo 4 are more sleek in appearance. They look more like what you would imagine futuristic suits of armor would look like in real life.
This more “realistic” aesthetic combines well with the better texturing, armor detailing, and boosted polygon counts.