Halo 2 Graphics Comparison: Windows Vista vs. Xbox

How much better does Halo 2 look in Windows Vista? Find out in our graphics comparison feature.

Halo 2 is finally making its way to the PC platform after its initial 2004 release for the Xbox console. The game is still going through the official GameSpot review process right now, but based on our initial impressions, the Vista version feels like an accurate port. The game doesn't include any new DirectX 10 features, but the platform switch alone will ensure that Halo 2 looks better on Windows Vista than on the Xbox. Going from 480p to PC resolutions will still give players a sharper picture and more detailed environments.

Moving a game from the Xbox to the PC still requires a significant amount of graphics work. Games can get away with using low-resolution textures at standard definition, but those fuzzy surfaces will stand out once you get to high-definition resolutions. The Hired Gun team in charge of the Halo 2 for Vista project updated the game textures to ensure that the quality level remained high at PC resolutions. Some textures have increased detail. For example, weapon textures went from 256x256 to 512x512. The team also upgraded other textures with higher-quality compression settings.

You can see the texture improvements by toggling the level-of-detail option in the video settings menu. According to the developers, setting the level of detail to low will reduce the textures down to the Xbox level. The Xbox 360 gave Halo 2 a slight image quality boost, but the graphics in the Vista port put the older version to shame. DirectX 9 hardware and more efficient shaders let the Windows Vista version of the game use more "cinematic" shader effects, such as environmental mapping and normal mapping during gameplay. Models will also retain high levels of detail rather than degrade down to low-polygon versions at far distances.

Halo 2 for Windows Vista definitely offers a visual upgrade over the Xbox version, but don't expect a DirectX 10-sized graphics leap. The graphics in the Vista port are a polished version of the original Xbox game. Some of the differences are so subtle that you might miss them without a side-by-side comparison. We've put together a set of comparison screenshots to show the improvements we noticed while taking a short tour of the game.

Roll over each screenshot to see the comparison image.

Xbox vs. Windows Vista with High-Quality Details

Xbox vs. Windows Vista with Low-Quality Details

Are you a Halo 2 fan? Do you plan on playing Halo 2 on Windows Vista?

Xbox vs. Windows Vista with High-Quality Details

Xbox vs. Windows Vista with High-Quality Details

Xbox vs. Windows Vista with High-Quality Details

Xbox 360 480p vs. Windows Vista with High-Quality Details

Are you a Halo 2 fan? Do you plan on playing Halo 2 on Windows Vista?

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Discussion

1062 comments
Hisairness2345
Hisairness2345

Eh, they both look bad by today's standards. I'd rather play the game with a 5.1 setup and a big screen TV than have to sit in front of my monitor with incremental, by today's standards, graphical improvements.

brian_13un
brian_13un

Wow just wow When I played it on the PC last 3 years I never thought it looked so much better :)

covertgamer78
covertgamer78

OMG! This looks soooooo much better on PC. Xbox version is loaded with jaggies and is super blurry. Too bad there are no stats on PC version or it would be perfect! :D

Icylobster
Icylobster

Wow, it looks like a beast on the computer. I didn't realize how much better it actually looked until seeing these pictures.

flash41000
flash41000

Thats sad lol Go computers :D oh @littledeer You must be missing something entirely. Vista doenst eat your memory up, when you start a memory intensive program, or game, it dumps all the memory it has, the only reason it looks like it eats up memory is because it archives your most used apps start up for that it starts faster, for you complain less, but people still complain. none the less, GO COMPUTERS =D

littledeer
littledeer

I'm gonna wait until Windows 7 comes out. Microsoft said that Windows 7 will be compatible with everything that Vista is. Also 7 won't eat up your memory like Vista does. (Computer memory. Not your brain's memory...)

jamesn12
jamesn12

halo 3 for pc petition... "deactivated at author's request" ????? :|

dfbubba
dfbubba

i signed it :D we are at 228 right now i hope we can get like a billion. . . Esser S12

blesst1
blesst1

Vista crashes every once in a while, but hey that happens with most OS. I hardly ever have problems with the backwards compatibility. Halo: Combat Evolved looked better on the PC than the Xbox, and the same for Halo 2. When Halo 3 makes it way to pcs it will look better also. Because unlike Xbox, the PC can always be upgraded and become a faster system. Thats why I never bother with consoles.

amrabdelbaset
amrabdelbaset

yes iam a cracker of games and this game will be a crack from me and thanks to everyone helping me>

everson_rm
everson_rm

i can see that the PC version is Zoomed (take a closer look to the guns...). Wow, M$ doing a poor port... well, this game is weak anyway... at least comparing it to big time (and old) PC games like HL2, FarCry...

bladealpha92
bladealpha92

Wow I just got a new HP tx1220 us Tablet PC with Vista and I must say, the graphics on Vista are way better than XBox, but a 360 on 480i gets close.

Skinny92
Skinny92

I'm glad I'm getting Halo 2 for Vista.

caro94
caro94

if you have vista its a good game to get but dont upgrade to vista for it

shadowweep
shadowweep

may consider getting this that is if halo 3 is then released for windows vista eventually

Plasmabat
Plasmabat

Nobody smart is going to buy Halo 2 which came out 3 years ago for a little graphic update, with a community with only 3 dozen players.

Chickensoup911
Chickensoup911

Why is everyone saying Vista sucks? I've had it for a year now and it's worked fine and nothing has gone wrong. All the games have worked (except for KOTOR 2) even all my really old games.

eyerok
eyerok

why are the system requirements so high for a game that was released on xbox 3 yeas ago and has infrior graphics compared to FEAR?

pomypompom
pomypompom

No way i am upgrading my window for just Halo 2. No way!

Bakahashi
Bakahashi

I know allot of people think Halo 2 for the PC is redundant and in some ways it is, but I still want it. But I'm defiantly not going to upgrade to Vista just to play it.

jediclone66
jediclone66

love halo 2 vista over xbox graphics really r better

Alterac_Barry
Alterac_Barry

Looks like GS took the XB pics with a camera, nah this looks like a great improvement

ogreiron
ogreiron

it doesnt look much better and i dont feel like dropping more money on halo 2, thats insane so no

damageisking
damageisking

I thought there was a hack to allow some Vista games to be played on XP?

SpeedMan72
SpeedMan72

i have vista, its awesome and it works fine. olthof is right dude ur computer must suck!

olthof
olthof

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

RedDragon14
RedDragon14

this might be a dumb question but i just recently got into halo and half way through the first one.... i don't have an xbox either so i play the pc version. is halo 2 for pc only for windows vista?

yosef95
yosef95

vista is really bad and it takes 1 hour to open a file and i have 64bit computer now i have xp

Tomdogg
Tomdogg

No I don't. I don't plan on buying Vista either.

12Dan12
12Dan12

halo 2 vista looks awsome but the problem is vista

gamerforlive
gamerforlive

I have HALO 2 for Windows Vista I adjust the graphic setting to high, with AA4 - everything is the highest, resolution of 1280X1024 Work fine, no problems, last week I finished all the game. I didn't like that there are little levels on earth...

Redhead108932
Redhead108932

hmm well stil the one thing thats kept halo PC alive is the Custom Maps and content. I cant wait to get this and start making CE maps again. only this time it looks a lot eaiser but i can still make new weapons the only way.

marsher1
marsher1

the warthog and overall smoothness of vista is definitely better; however, I personally like the smg on the Xbox more.

MarioBros12321
MarioBros12321

wow u dont know how bad a game looks until they compair it with new hardware

SmakDogg045
SmakDogg045

This looks interesting. I'm not a huge FPS guy, but I've always enjoyed Halo since early high school. I only game on PC, so I might just have to purchase this. Regarding Vista, it's been a terrific OS for me. I've had very little issues with drivers (TV tuner), and it's run perfectly stable for me. People that have never used the retail version are the ones who think Vista is crap. Vista was crap in beta, yes, but Microsoft has seemed to fix all the issues. And it will just get even better when SP1 is released. I am seriously thinking about getting Halo 2 now. Those graphics comparisons are like night and day.

michael_menches
michael_menches

Halo 2 on vista looks so hella awsome im getting it like right now

tmust94
tmust94

Ah Jeez, I wish i had any of those. All i've got is a laptop that cant play the halo 1 demo on low settings, and a PS2.

kave-man007
kave-man007

PC FOR liFE (CAUSE I CANT AFFORD A XBOX 360 OR PS3)

orionmgomg
orionmgomg

What are you talking about "X-box looks better"? Your supposed to mouse over the picture and it will change - clearly the PC versoin in HD is much better - or can you computer process such a task? Anyway - I am not intreasted in vista until they stop supporing XP :) So ultimat;y who cares! Microsoft could make a lot more money if they just sold DX10 - oh thats right - Halo 2 is DX9, but they wont let you play it unless you buy their new POS OS...

h2owizard
h2owizard

pc will always have the best graphics

football_chetan
football_chetan

I think that halo 2 will play better on XBOX 360 than on Windows Vista in High Quality than in Low Quality, there's a lot of difference between the two but it looks more realistic in XBOX version nor that in PC because HDTV has a unique feature that makes the game look more realistic in XBOX version.

Nickolas
Nickolas

yeah!!! 401225 that right!!!....is a BIG diference!!!!!!!