After a long wait Halo: The Master Chief Collection is making a debut to PC. Microsoft has confirmed at the X019 last week that the planned episodic roll-out of the collection is set to roll out on December 3rd with the arrival of Halo: Reach.
System requirements for Reach are slight to say the least – which is obvious when you consider that the original game launched just over nine years ago for Xbox 360. 343 Industries states that an Nvidia GTX 770 (pretty much on par with a GTX 680 or GTX 960) is good enough to deliver 60 frames per second at 4K resolution.
New assets, albeit few are thin on the ground: this is effectively the original Reach, liberated from the 1152×720 resolution of the Xbox 360 game. That’s absolutely understandable as despite being mastered to last-gen standards, the art design still looks beautiful today. Performance-wise, the original release had some glitches maintaining its 30fps target frame-rate – a situation that has been answered by the rejuvenated Xbox One back-compat rendition of the game. Of course, the PC goes much further: at X019, the game ran seamlessly at 60fps and it’ll be intriguing to check if the port can be unlocked to run faster still.
Apart from the pixel-pushing and performance improvements, the PC version also offers users the liberty to adjust the field of view for both on-foot and vehicle-based sections. Also present is the internal resolution scaler which is effective for boosting image quality still further via super-sampling. However, the ability to choose between original and enhanced modes is worth mentioning.
Back in the day, Reach’s TAA smartly delivered 2x super-sampling for a very neat presentation – but only when the image was static. It should be noted that in motion, ghosting was commonplace and it was especially obvious in cutscenes when close-up characters would move past the camera. And it became more evident when the game dropped to 20 frames per second (which could happen fairly frequently owing to the use of a double-buffer v-sync). With TAA seemingly knocked out in the PC build, the ghosting is gone too. As the game is relatively light on GPU power, users can use internal super-sampling for a pristine image.
Based on our X019 hands-on there are many reasons to be positive about the kickstart of The Master Chief Collection on PC, and it’s truly amazing to see Reach finally takes its place in The Master Chief Collection. All said and done, this is a sensational game that still looks brilliant in this age and for the point of view of budget, it’s one of the top Halo games in the entire series (in campaign form at least). And yes, the PC version comes with a keyboard and mouse support which is a cherry on the cake for a very promising release.