Halo Reach vs Halo 4 – A Graphical Comparison
We here at Velocity Gamer decided to do a graphics comparison between Halo 3 and Halo 4 recently to see how far the series has come from the beginning of this console generation to the tail end of the generation. People wanted a comparison of Halo 4 to Halo Reach which is understandable since it was the last entry in the series. Before we proceed towards the comparison, we have been considering other graphics comparisons and want user feedback on what other series should be compared. Again, this is just to show the graphical upgrade being applied, not to prove which game looks better etc.
You can follow along with the comparison in the photo gallery. The first two pictures are shots of the spartan armor models. Obviously the Halo 4 picture is of Master Chief, but that is besides the point. As divulged in the prior comparison, the look of the games is different. They aren’t exactly employing disparate art styles, but the characters have a different look to them. Whereas the armor appears more buffed up, the spartan armor is more slimmed down and sleeker. In terms of actual graphical differences, there isn’t much noticeable aside from some better texturing here and there on the collar area and around the legs. The armor itself is also much more filled with designs and details to make it appear more realistic. Despite little actual visible improvement in the models, I can assume the better lighting helps to accentuate the suit itself. It’s amazing how much of a difference good lighting can make.
The next two set of pictures displays the weapons well. The design of the assault rifle has changed. Because Reach was a prequel, the design of the assault rifle in 4 is more in line with that of the other games. Bullets fly off the side of the gun in Halo 4. It’s a nice little detail to add realism to the game. The textures are more improved with the weapon models than they are with the armor. I gather more effort was put into improving the weapon models because they are in your face the entire time.
The third set of pictures shows the multiplayer models during what I postulate is an assassination. The difference in aesthetics between the spartan armor suits manifests itself more in these multiplayer shots. Halo 4‘s suits also look less dirty. It looks like more advanced bump mapping might have been used in order to get the varying components of the suit to stick out. The steel in the environment looks more like steel. It is shinier, has higher resolution mapping to it, and gives off reflections.
The fourth set of pictures take place at completely different times in the day, so lighting comparisons are out of the question. The rocks in Halo Reach make use of flat textures and one rock to the right demonstrates the low polygon counts on the rocks. That particular rock in question to the left of the Halo Reach picture is a pointed, sharp mess. Halo 4 uses a tessellation like effect to create the illusion of rocks with real depth and “roughness” to them.
the final set of pictures gives a look into the Elite and energy sword models. The armor is dramatically improved in subtle ways. The indents in the armor is more defined and the better specular lighting reflected on the armor gives the illusion of much better Elite armor when it is only actually improved slightly. The Elite’s face in the Reach picture is farther away so it”s hard to tell, but I think Halo 4 has better normal mapping for the faces. The energy sword also looks more like it’s pulsating actual energy.
At one point, 343 Industries stated they were trying to make Halo 4 the most graphically impressive console game ever. There is still time left, so they can improve the visuals, but as of now I don’t think they have achieved that goal. Some aspects like the lighting and weapon modeling are impressive, but this is not the best looking console game ever. The best looking Xbox 360 exclusive ever? Probably.