|Mr Puggsly said:
If you're arguing MS should do better with the Halo IP then we saw in the 8th gen, I absolutely agree. Frankly, if Halo Infinite has a satisfying campaign and the game isn't a buggy mess, we would already be seeing them move it to a better place.
Quality games matter. Fortunately for Sony and MS, they also benefit greatly from having notable 3rd party content. While Nintendo platforms are more dependent on strong 1st party releases.
I want Microsoft and 343i to always do better, it's the absolute best thing for the entire industry and we know they have the money, talent and resources to do it.
And I agree, quality games absolutely matter.
|Mr Puggsly said:
I can see myself getting both 9th gen consoles. Although, Series X appeals to me because I feel their 1st party content is more fun and Gamepass. Meanwhile I may get a PS5 eventually to access more games and maybe it will improve my PS4 library.
I have the Playstation 5 pre-ordered, really excited what they can showcase.
|Mr Puggsly said:
Its a mixed bag with mid gen upgrades. Some content will be better on the Pro, some on the One X. For what its worth, the most active games on Xbox One generally benefit significantly with the One X.
Meanwhile the Series X may improve resolutions in Xbox One games. Gears Ultimate apparently was doing 4K in a Digital Foundry video.
Indeed it was. When the Xbox One X had an enhanced game, generally it was always better than the Pro variant, not always, as there are a few exceptions.
The mid-gen cycle whilst fantastic for a tech enthusiast who wants the absolute best... Really did bring forward a few flaws in the overall idea, older games and lazy ports just didn't showcase the hardware to it's fullest extent.
Resolution is only part of the overall visual story, whilst all well and good to achieve 4k, if that comes at the expense of visual settings, then I will choose 1440P and higher visual settings... But you don't get that choice on console, it's easier to market 4k.
|Mr Puggsly said:
I haven't committed to Series X at launch, but how it handles BC content will be a big reason for me to upgrade. At this point I would gladly spend $500 just to greatly reduce or eliminate load times.
Load times didn't really bother me, Install times did though... But that isn't changing next-gen, the limiting factor there is the blu-ray and internet connection speeds.
Backwards compatibility is a big big thing for someone like myself who has invested heavily collecting games, it's going to be the main reason why I own a Playstation 5 and a Series X on launch.
If we get visual upgrades, fantastic.
I just hope there is a focus on Xbox and Xbox 360 backwards compatibility again, only a fraction of those consoles libraries are currently Backwards Compat... I don't expect every game though, certainly not licensed games which I thoroughly loved like Naruto Rise of a Ninja and The Broken Bond... Gives me a reason to keep the 360 around I guess...
|Mr Puggsly said:
With all this Halo talk I started replaying Halo 5 on my X1X. It honestly looks better than I remember and I am finding myself less annoyed with the visual compromises. I forgot the game also does a lot of things well in a very steady 60 fps title. Impressive assets, lighting, and fun gameplay even if the campaign is meh.
So if Halo Infinite essentially has a similar but more polished presentation along with a more satifying campaign, I will be happy. I guesss I am easy to please. And ofcourse bring back split screen.
I also fired up Halo 5 and Halo Wars last night.
I forgot how much fun Halo Wars 1 was... Even managed to get a Multiplayer match for the first time in years, but it's a dead game on PC and console these days, which is a real shame, probably one of the best RTS games on console.
Halo 5 though, Warzone wasn't able to find people to play with.. And whilst the aesthetic has aged "ok". - Allot of the assets have not, it's a very "clean" look compared to Halo 4 which had a ton of micro-details baked in.
And whilst the game is 60fps, many frame animations are not... Spartans in the distance are often 10-15fps... And many texture animations like the gravity jump lift thing only updates at 15fps.
So whilst a 60fps game on the surface, it's really not a true 60fps game... It might have actually benefited from being 30fps and improving that lighting and object draw distances... But when we put into perspective the hardware it's running on, Aka. Base Xbox One, it's not a bad package.
|Mr Puggsly said:
I am also curious to see if Halo Infinite can maintain 60 fps even with split screens. That is not something we've seen before. Hopefully the Series X will brute force 60 fps in Halo MCC split screen.
By the sounds of it, they have the hardware overhead to maintain such a framerate.
But even if it was 30fps, I will be okay with that if the story and gameplay is rock solid and visually looks great... It's Split-Screen after-all.
I feel split screen got "lost" this generation so having it return next-gen will be fantastic even with caveats, might even have a reason to purchase more than 1 controller next-gen?
If it can do 120fps multiplayer it should 60fps splitscreen I guess.
And no problem you being satisfied with the game playing great even if looking 8th gen, games this gen already look great. But in the bigger picture it is a little underwhelming that they couldn't make it a graphical showcase.
That's the entire issue... Halo: Infinite was the next-gen showcase for the Xbox Series X, but it failed to impress, hence why it has drawn the ire of the internet.
It's hard to follow up anything visually after the Unreal 5 demonstration on the Playstation 5, it has set some extremely high expectations early on in the console cycle.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure Infinite was built for the XBO and is being scaled up for XSX, rather than being built for the more powerful hardware and being scaled down like in the case with Battlefield. If that is indeed the case, then Infinite is arguably a current-gen game that's being given a boost in fidelity and/or performance on next-gen hardware, which is what is likely going to be the case with most other cross-gen games being released this fall.
It's likely built on top of the foundations of the Blam! engine and scaled upwards to meet hardware.
Even so, it's not an excuse, Microsoft could have demonstrated the game with full ray traced lighting before unveiling it to the world and it would have gotten allot less criticism.
Game engines are scalable not just downwards, but upwards as well.
Let's take Minecraft for example...
Minecraft started out looking like this on PC (I won't include the classic build as that was a different build entirely):
And that eventually became the foundations for the Xbox 360 variant here with a heap of technical restrictions (I.E. Limited Blocks, Mobs, world sizes):
Then there was an additional fork downgraded to mobile devices and 3DS looking like this:
But then on PC and presumably Series X you can take the base game and scaled it upwards to:
This shows that a single game can be scalable across multiple hardware devices (PC, 3DS, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Series X) and take the best advantage of the platform it's running on.
And Minecraft is probably one of the better games to showcase that as it spans so many devices, but can have some stark differences... Mojang/Microsoft invested in each variant to take absolute best advantage of the hardware, either visually and/or gameplay wise.
In short, which platform it initially targeted isn't an excuse.
Many games that got ported from 360 to Xbox One looked substantially better.
Halo may have been technically impressive, but that does not translate to having visuals that were, by the standards of its day, at the absolute cutting edge, at least not in any immediate, superficial way obvious to the average gamer. For example, character models were not as impressive as in many other games from the era, and its environments were geometrically simple. At the surface level, it looked nice because of its art style, and it wouldn't surprise me if its simplicity also is how Bungie were able to create such large environments for a 2001 title.
Halo: Combat Evolved looked amazing back in the day... The SM1.0, SM1.1, SM1.4 and SM2.0 shader material effects, per-pixel lighting and DOT3 bump mapping was great working in conjunction with each other, so whenever a light source hit a surface it would add extra detailing, which wasn't a common effect back then.
Plus the water shaders were the absolutely top notch in my opinion until The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind came along a year later... And that was made even more impressive when you had scenes of the Pelican with expansive pixel shadered water in the background in the Silent Cartographer level.
Enemies also had reflective surfaces, so when a grenade went off or you shone your torch, you would see light reflections, the particle and physics effects rounded out the package very well.
There was even some specular highlights.
It was a technical showpiece back in 2001.
If you can find a better technically looking game that released earlier... Be my guest.
Moving past just CE, Halo 2 did improve things over Halo CE by quite a bit, but took sacrifices in other departments. It has noticeable LoD issues, with often glaring pop-in. Its levels (at least the intended play space, excluding nominally out-of-bound areas) are also smaller and more constrained. Even things like particle effects were sorely lacking.
Some of the bloom effects and material shaders in Halo 2 really impressed me in the day.
But you are right, that there were a few LoD issues, it was clear it was building upon the foundations of Halo: Combat Evolved on the exact same hardware though.
Halo 3 was already beaten by several other notable early Gen 7 console titles. Halo 3 did have good lighting and, unlike many of its contemporaries, good use of color, but again it wasn't exactly the most immediately impressive game graphically (human character models in particular were... not great).
What titles were they?
The game launched in September 2007, it wasn't until Crysis came out a few months later on vastly superior hardware on the PC that it got dethroned.
Uncharted gave Halo 3 a good run for it's money in late 2007...
Gears of War looked okay for a game that was every shade of brown and a 2006 title... But Halo 3 trumps that in my opinion, earlier games like Kameo, Perfect Dark and so forth didn't age as well.
But Halo 3 was doing allot interesting things technically on the Xbox 360 and it was a visually impressive package, the high dynamic range (HDR) lighting was pretty damn impressive back then, so was the bump and parallax mapping, tessellated water meshes using the Truform tessellator, depth of field, dynamic shadows, motion blur.
The biggest caveat was with the double frame buffer in order to preserve the HDR lighting, which will eventually get thrown out with Halo Reach and take a baked approach.
Reach and Halo 4 did look a lot better than Halo 3, but again they were released later in the generation, and there were various sacrifices or shortcuts made to make them look that nice. For example, as I mentioned in my earlier post, Halo 4 has the most linear and constrained levels in the series, and many of its textures leave a lot to be desired. Even then, there were other late Gen 7 games that looked better than Reach and Halo 4.
And so they should.
Halo Reach came out 3 years later and Halo 4 came out 5 years after Halo 3... There were lessons learned.
And like I touched upon prior they would eventually ditch the frame-buffer setup that defined Halo 3/ODST and thus the HDR lighting in order to take a baked approach, they also introduced texture and mesh streaming to make better use of the limited DRAM pools and introduced a slew of new technologies such as impostering... Which is the approach of the engine procedurally generating a 2D sprite based upon a 3D model and replacing it in the distance in real time, greatly conserving hardware resources.
Halo 4 took things a step further and increased the amount of baked lighting/shadowing details in order to spend more rendering time on things such as subsurface scattering... Which is light-bounce underneath the skins surface, essentially Ray Tracing.
But none of that refutes the technical aspects of Halo 3 in 2007.
Halo 4 was definitely one of the best looking Xbox 360 titles ever, were there better looking 7th gen games? That is debatable, the Playstation 3 had a good showing at the time with The Last of Us and Uncharted and the PC obviously had Crysis.
Halo 5 was not all that impressive when it came out. There were many games that looked better. Sure, it ran at 60 fps, but that came at a cost. I didn't think it looked all that great running on a base-model XBO. A lot of the game barely looked like a step up from the 360. It was lacking split-screen as well, something that was sacrificed to attain its high frame rate. The game looks a lot nice running on a One X, but there are still other games that blow it away.
Already touch base with the shortcomings of Halo 5, so rather not rehash it again.
Infinite is an open-world game running at 4K & 60fps. Is that not technically impressive, despite the other issues? There isn't a single open-world game this generation that does that. Most don't even target 1080p/60fps. Fidelity of other visual assets is prioritized over frame rate. Even with the power of next-gen systems, having an open-world game running at 4K & 60 fps would be a massive accomplishment, and almost certainly would come at the cost of some other aspect of the game's visuals. Most open-world games probably won't target both 4K and 60fps, and I imagine that given the choice most developers would target the latter over the former. For example, what we've seen of Horizon: Forbidden West is shaping up to be an absolutely gorgeous (assuming the final game looks close to the trailer's graphics), but A) it's being developed exclusively for a next-gen system, and B) is apparently targeting 30 fps. I imagine there will be other open-world games as well that look better than Infinite, but do so largely by targeting lower frame rates and/or resolutions and by being developed exclusively for next-gen hardware.
Being open world in of itself is not technically impressive.
We had open world games on the Original Xbox with The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind. - That was 18 years ago.
Minecraft is 4k, 60fps on the Xbox One X.
Next gen I am expecting 60fps to get prioritized more often, but these are consoles, it's never going to be a guarantee if you want 60fps+4k 100% of the time, buy a PC.
In saying that, I would rather a game drop to 1440P and prioritize visual settings rather than spend all of it's rendering time chasing the 4k dream, your priorities might be different however... And that is perfectly fine.