Halo: Reach Graphics Comparison

Bungie did a lot to improve the look of Halo: Reach. Check out some of the changes.

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Bungie went to great lengths to improve upon the graphics engine inside of Halo: Reach. While the game may feature many of the same elements (Warthogs, Covenant, and the trusty assault rifle), they've all been heavily augmented. In comparison to the original Halo 3 engine, the new Reach engine handles many more light sources and has higher-resolution textures wrapped onto models with considerably greater polygon counts. Almost all the art was remade, with influence coming from the concept art generated for the original Halo.

We went through Halo: Reach to gather a smattering of examples. Seeing as just about everything has indeed changed, it's far from comprehensive. Of particular note, the boost in antialiasing does a great deal to clean up the look of the game overall.

Weapons

Guns are a big part of the Halo universe--you're always firing one, and it's the one thing that comes with you from scene to scene. The now iconic assault rifle features more intricate detail, and a smaller readout to match. Reach's DMR is considerably cleaner than Halo 3's Battle Rifle, with fewer jagged lines marring the look and a much more rounded scope, among other changes. Halo 3's Needler looks downright flamboyant when compared to the Spartan look of the Reach model. Bungie ditched the shiny purple exterior and upped the ante on the needles.

Assault Rifle

Halo Reach Halo 3

DMR / Battle Rifle

Halo Reach Halo 3

Needler

Halo Reach Halo 3

Vehicles

The Reach vehicles seem to have been simplified considerably. The Warthog no longer has wheels that match its exterior, and the Scorpion tank looks cleaner without all the jagged edges, hand holds, and exhaust vents. The Mongoose no longer looks like a mini-Warthog and takes on a more ATV-like look. Bungie also gave the Ghost a major revamp, which is evident just by looking at the cannons--the Halo 3 version is a blurry mess by comparison.

Warthog

Halo Reach Halo 3

Tank

Halo Reach Halo 3

Mongoose

Halo Reach Halo 3

Ghost

Halo Reach Halo 3

Environments

Reach's trees and outdoor environments look fantastic, and the developers went to great lengths to show them off in the campaign.

Bungie gave a lot of love to the Covenant Grunt. The tiny Bumblebee look-alike now sports a massive headdress and refined armor, making it about as menacing as a Grunt can get. Until it meets your elbow, that is.

Beach

Halo Reach Halo 3

Woodlands

Halo Reach Halo 3

Hallways

Halo Reach Halo 3

Trees

Halo Reach Halo 3

Covenant

Halo Reach Halo 3

Discussion

1013 comments
CHAMPION6171994
CHAMPION6171994

you guys have to be complete retards to actually think Halo 3 looks better than Reach. Its like saying Half Life looks better than HL2

CoryHM
CoryHM

I think the weopons don't look as good in this than in Halo 3. Other than the weapons, I think this game is the best ever game to be released on the Xbox. That's just my opinion. Everybody has their own.

MattyWoah
MattyWoah

I would also like to see a Reach versus ODST comparison. Or was ODST relatively untouched from Halo 3? ODST and Reach were closer together, so I would expect there to be a difference in graphics.

sm00thpapa
sm00thpapa

the multi-player is the meat of this game the story mode is BLAH

ladiesman271
ladiesman271

imo, halo reach controls are not as good as halo 3 but the new features of halo reach is astonishing e.g jet pack, hologram decoys etc.... moral of this comment is that i didn't compare the graphics at all because yeah the graphics are like cream on the cake but you need the cake first and that is the gameplay (metaphorically speaking) Sorry about spelling mistakes hahahaha =P

BlackSpark_07
BlackSpark_07

I miss times when you had to wait for at least 5 to 10 years to see the sequel for a game, clear examples are Half Life 2, Doom 3 and Duke Nukem Forever (although this one had to wait 13 years), because was incredibly satisfying to see the already great games even better.

JonnyBoy161
JonnyBoy161

I learned a long time ago that graphics don't necessarily make the game. They are nice but just because it great graphics doesn't mean it will be a great game. Honestly if you want amazing graphics then look to PC games NOT console games. Halo Reach does have good graphics and I am happy with the way they look.

Brilliant_R
Brilliant_R

Wow, Reach is actually looking pretty good. I'm sure it'll join Mario Galaxy 2, Red Dead, and other good stuff, as some of 2010's best! Who else agrees? :)

MrBubblezz
MrBubblezz

All the xbox or Halo haters need to stop commenting if they dont like Halo. Personally, as i am a huge Halo fan, the graphics in Reach are WAYYY better than in Halo 3. Sure some of the enviroments look better, but the guns look like sh%& compared to Reach. And whatever happened to "fun" in games nowadays. It seems like ever since MW came out, everyones been obsessed with the look of the game. Halo Reach is a outstanding game, and definately gives a butt load of replay value, and you could easily go gay for the game like me and play it alot. Sure kicked Modern Warfares ass, which lasted me a couple days. ( thank you rentals ) But like I said, graphics arent everything, especially with all the features REACH has, and the length of playability. Thats my opinion though, and i would appreciate it if there weren't any haters replying to what I just said. Thanks again.

Acquire
Acquire

Reach still doesn't look great, it's just that Halo 3 looked like ass on release so any decent improvement over that will make the differences more noticeable.

ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

grafix 4re evryting!!!111!1!2 This graphics suffer a bit if you zoom in with DMR on a moon though.

13Jonny11
13Jonny11

the vehicles look better on Halo 3, cept the ghost imo

endersgone
endersgone

these pictures don't do reach justice, looks much better on my screen

manson_god
manson_god

halo reach is very good but i think that can be better

icebox98
icebox98

no doubt that reach has the best graphics compared to all halo games. i like what they did to the needler the one in halo three was horrible. the assault rifle is also better coz at least it looks more metallic and not abnormal

Bionic_Boy
Bionic_Boy

@BrazilianBud -- Keep waiting until Uncharted 3 is released, while we enjoy loads of quality games on XBOX360 that look horrible on PS3 (e.g. STF4 on XBOX360 looks better than PS3 counterpart, Red Dead Redemption looks good on XBOX360 while sucks big time on PS3). But i dislike halo 3/reach as a whole. generally MS game studios sak big tyme

Killer2401
Killer2401

Wow, the graphics didn't improve at all during the last 3 years. Oh well, at least the gameplay did!

WTFitsPauL
WTFitsPauL

Meh! dont blame the GAME, blame the Console's Graphics Ability.

valent1n
valent1n

this halo is called to be the greatest release of the year, but is it realy ?!?!??!?!?

eoin
eoin

@mrzisawesome Ah go play a generic Japanese RPG.

eoin
eoin

@BrazilianBud The 360 is definitely NOT a Video game.

perrytails
perrytails

its the sameee halo graphics always will be the worst of the worst and animation too halo sucks such a poor game

bored_gamer
bored_gamer

compared to Halo: Reach, Halo 3 looks like an HD patched version of Halo 1

jyjoe
jyjoe

How come I prefer Halo 3 design in more than half of these comparisons ? Halo Reach shows us gorgeous cinematics, but gameplay images are really ugly. Yuck. I've never been a great fan of Halo, and I know why : design...

LordRaymond
LordRaymond

Halo Reach weapons look a lot better than Halo 3 weapons.

BrazilianBud
BrazilianBud

Oh my wow. 360 really is a video game from the past. What hideous graphics. EWWWWWW!!! Well, waiting for Uncharted 3.

SaberSpellSword
SaberSpellSword

I really don't like the look of the new assualt rifle. halo 3's assult rifle design is tons better. mainly coz the ammo counter was well integrated into the gun. the new one looks like its just tacked on. it does look a bit plastic tho in Halo 3. and the Halo 3 mongoose only looks better in this because the lighting in the halo 3 example gives it a massively unfair advantage.

Lockedge
Lockedge

Needler, tank, mongoose and a bunch of other things look better in Halo 3. :?

BigStik
BigStik

who cares if reach doesnt have the best graphics ever, the games still sounds and plays brilliantly. also, you can go anywhere in the map at any time thanks to theatre and forge, so the graphic compromise doesnt mean much.

COLDFIRE25
COLDFIRE25

Really dumb comparisson. Halo was never about graphics, and I think from wheres its come from its pretty much always looked the same with a few touch ups here and there. Halo 3 and Reach are both really good and fun games, why not love them both?

hurricane2202
hurricane2202

Also most of the vehicles look better in halo 3 than reach. Not much of a graphics improvement at all

hurricane2202
hurricane2202

graphics havent really improved. also since when did halo go call of duty? i mean look at the styl and all of the weapons. i know all the microsoft fanboys will thumbs down me for this but i think in your hearts you know what im talking about

Wolfie600
Wolfie600

mrzisawesome: Generic? If it was a Call of duty spin off in a modern setting that would be "Generic". There's not alot of Sci-fi shooters that are worth playing in the market currently. And Halo:Reach has to be one of the better when it comes to shooters in all 3 consoles. Theres just so much to do that all the other shooters fall behind on content and anyone that disagrees is probably a fanboy or just a plain hater.

Ellanier
Ellanier

Halo is more long lasting, more creative, and more fresh than most other shooters out there. Of the top 3 of modern day (MW2, BFBC2, Halo Reach), Reach is the only one to sport modes that encourage creativity and design. Hell, Forge makes the game worthwhile. Ship Reach without campaign, firefight, and all matchmaking maps and leave forge world, and it would still be a great game. Plus, take away armor abilities, and the game is still a blast. Call of Duty would feel stale without the Perks. Bad company could live without the perks though, gotta love it. Even if the game isn't a huge jump from Halo 3 to Reach, there is so much more to do now, with the new firefight maps, new multiplayer maps, new campaign, and revamped forge.

AS412T
AS412T

Come on ppl now... Halo Reach is basically Halo 3 plus better environmental graphics, a new campaign and some new firefight options... But in no way is that a bad thing. It also has a new improved armor characterization system and a leveling-up system that puts Call Of Duty's off-line/on-line (incompatible with each other and campaign) leveling up system in the trash can. This is by far a great step in the evolution of First Person Shooters both system link and xbox live. The way they did the armor system abilities in stead of the annoying pick-up-abilities and the way your own personal spartan III is immersed in the campaign as if you were in fact there both out shine halo 3's Master Cheif forever/Spartan II clones system. This is by far the furthest evolution of the halo series and according to the MAJORITY population of earth... the most anticipated. At least if you go by how much the game has made in first day sales. Halo 2 first day sales: 125 million (a BIG deal back then!)... Halo 3 first day sales 170 million... Halo 3 ODST first day sales 125 million.... Halo Reach 200 million first day sales. But of course FDS doesn't say it all, all it really says is how many ppl got the game on the first day. Ultimately though, the MAJORITY of halo players will no longer play the older versions of halo thus showing their preference... and if you prefer to play halo 3.... go ahead and play it... all by yourself. You are a minority... as in all democracy the MAJORITY rules. We'll all have fun jet-packing to our drop-shields in elite-vs spartan firefight without you. :) (big grin)

blackHawk1797
blackHawk1797

Reach has better graphics in everything except maybe the tank and 'hog

BlackSpark_07
BlackSpark_07

And it has almost no new things (Forge is from halo 3, Firefight from ODST, new weapons??? almost the same as the ones in past games, EVEN WITH THE SAME LAME FIRING SOUNDS!!!!!! (I specialy hate the assault rifle firing sound, is like a popcorn machine) multiplayer??? Modern Warfare 2's is better, story??? you can practicaly read it in the first halo manual !!!!!!! JEEEZ. Bungie ran out of ideas...

BlackSpark_07
BlackSpark_07

Im far more exited about Duke Nukem Forever than Im for this one. Why?? because Reach was anncounced less than 4 months later since ODST came out. Bungie looked like if they were in a rush!!!

AbsoluteSorrow
AbsoluteSorrow

the halo 3 stuff is blurrier, however in some pictures halo 3 pics look better, because of the lighting. Halo:Reach definatly has better graphics, but i know there are some designs in halo 3 that people like more, the tank is a good example.

SgtStrungOut
SgtStrungOut

Halo 3 looks better. ANYONE who disagrees with me is either blind or a nerdy Halo fanboy afraid to admit that Halo games are getting uglier. I bet all you Halo lovers are new to games and barely started gaming in 2001 or 2004. Inexperienced casual gamers lol.

max_1111
max_1111

This has got to be one of the stupidest articles i've read on GS. Let's compare an old game to a new game (from the same developer and for the same system) and see how the graphics stack up HERFUHDERF... It would be less insulting if you just wrote something about how great it was spending the wad of cash Microsoft gave you to put up some (more) B.S. about Halo Reach.

SaurabhAV
SaurabhAV

It appears as halo 3 has more textures then reach..

Mobymg
Mobymg

who cares on gfx? gameplay is awesome thats what counts as long as it functions and is believable

Mercaptan
Mercaptan

Pff still low graphix, they should have made it for pc to there the real graphix would have been shown, w8 for crysis 2 those are graphix :)

Gsai64
Gsai64

This picture does reach no favors, believe me when I say the game looks better than this.

Solidesnake2004
Solidesnake2004

I agree with Castlevania..... that Halo 3 and Halo:Reach are definitely not in the same league of graphics I noticed them myself when i played on some friends Halo copies. I don't own an Xbox myself....only a PS3 (i don't bash on either system) but Halo is one of those games you definitely have to have at parties or even just chill moments with friends and family. I noticed what the graphics looked like when my best friend popped in the disk the first time....i said wow....he say's...."whats the diffrerence between this and Halo 1" i said....A LOT!..lol. But all in all...the multiplayer is where it is at....yeah. :-)

MeGaSmUrF
MeGaSmUrF

then again...now that i take a closer look,maybe not lol

MeGaSmUrF
MeGaSmUrF

i agree that halo reach has much better graphics,but i still like how some of the vehicles look better in 3 than reach