Halo Reach has landed on PC through the Master Chief Collection. As players would expect, the game appears to run better than ever, bolstered by the power offered by modern PC gaming hardware. However, the game doesn’t allow for much graphical customization. Instead of the usual adjustments and sliders, there are just three different Halo Reach PC graphics presets to choose from. What are the differences between Halo Reach PC graphics presets? As it turns out, that question is tough to answer.
Halo Reach PC Graphics Preset Settings | What do they change?
There are three different graphics presets in Halo Reach for PC: Performance, Original, and Enhanced. In simplest terms, Performance aims to offer the smoothest gameplay, Original is the default setting, and Enhanced is for players who want increased graphical fidelity.
For a first-person shooter game released on PC, it’s odd to only be given three graphics presets. Normally players would expect to find options to adjust everything from anti-aliasing to texture quality and beyond. It’s assumed that these options are altered by the player’s preset choice, but the game doesn’t explain how or if those settings are adjusted.
Because of this unusual choice on the part of the developers, there’s really no telling what the differences between Halo Reach PC graphics presets are. However, there is at least a way to compare the differences by swapping between Performance and Enhanced—or Low settings and Ultra settings, if you will.
By and large, the most noticeable difference between these two will be graphical clarity and frame rate. On Enhanced (Ultra), players will notice more weather effects, particularly fog, and an increase to anti-aliasing that makes models appear smoother visually. Textures appear to also get a slight boost in definition, but considering that Halo Reach originally released over nine years ago, the differences here don’t seem very drastic. Of course, the cost of all that increased fidelity is a drop in frame rate.
Halo Reach PC Graphics Preset Settings | Which preset should you choose?
Since there are so few noticeable differences between the three Halo Reach PC graphics presets, players are generally advised to choose the one that best suits their hardware. Big beefy gaming PCs should have no problem running the game on Enhanced, while older hardware should likely opt for Performance. Everyone else should get by just fine with the Original preset.
With that said, there is one serious caveat worth considering: News outlets and players on social media alike have reported a surprising amount of graphical issues when running Halo Reach above the default 60fps frame rate cap. If increased performance is your goal, be aware that running at increased frame rates could result in screen tearing, wonky animations, out-of-sync movement, and even stuttering input.
So far, it’s not entirely clear why running higher frame rates makes the game perform so poorly. After all, extended resolutions and high frame rates are the big reason why players wanted this game on PC to begin with. For now, it appears that ditching the 60 fps frame rate cap—to say nothing of disabling V-sync—results in a markedly inferior performance.
As such, we would recommend that Halo Reach PC players stick to the highest possible graphics preset that can still maintain a solid 60 frames per second. Any frame rate higher than that could result in the degradation of the game’s performance. If your PC can run Halo Reach in 4K without breaking a sweat, by all means, use the Enhanced preset—just be sure to keep the frame rate cap and V-sync enabled, or screen tearing and mouse aiming problems might start to appear.