Digital Foundry provides a detailed analysis of the recent PC release.

This past week on March 3, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary was released for the PC by way of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It marked the first time the Anniversary edition was released on the PC and the second time the original Halo was released on the PC. The first time being back in September 2003 via a port by none other than Gearbox Software.

With this week's addition to The Master Chief Collection, some fans and potential buyers have been wondering if there are any technical issues with the game. It is a fair question to ask given that the first PC entry for The Master Chief Collection, Halo: Reach, had a fair number of audio and stuttering issues. Thankfully, Digital Foundry exists to tackle these very questions.

The latest from Digital Foundry is a video that analyzes the recent PC release of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. They examine any potential issues with audio, visuals, and performance in this PC release. The full video can be found below.

In short, Digital Foundry did note a few issues with this release. Namely, while they did not encounter any severe issues with the game's audio, there was an oddity with the "Classic" audio option enabled. This issue manifested itself by way of a "shield or a plasma pistol's charge sound" playing at random. Another issue they encountered with the "Classic" audio option selected is the fact that it comes across as a slightly better version of the original Xbox audio but still not as good as the old PC release with EAX enabled. Presumably these audio shortcomings are not present if you select the "Remastered" audio option.

Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary PC

Similarly, there are some minor issues with the game's visuals, though most have to do with the "Classic" setting. For instance, Digital Foundry found that some of the transparency effects in the old visuals are just incorrect. Scenes viewed through glass or other transparent materials are often far darker than they were on the Xbox version. The Classic setting also sometimes features incorrect fog color and opacity, which can drastically alter the entire mood of the scene. There are also some missing shadows in a few cases, broken texture work, and even an older, lower poly model used in at least one example.

Again, the issues described above are only if you are running with the "Classic" visual setting.

Though the game can run at higher framerates, and generally has no issue doing so even on modest hardware, some things are still locked to 30fps. This is true even with the "Remastered" visuals enabled. This can be seen in the screen shake effect when firing a rocket in first-person view. Plasma rounds and swords held by enemies also update at just 30fps. Cutscenes are still also locked to 30fps.

Many of the issues with the game's Classic visuals were present back in the 2003 release by Gearbox. However, a significant number of these issues were addressed ages ago by the community. The Halo Combat Evolved: Refined mod addresses many of the issues that were present with the original PC release. This mod upped the framerate of cutscenes by using interpolation. The mod also fixed some of the graphical woes including the incorrect fog, shadows, and the incorrect character model. Digital Foundry's hope here is that 343 Industries will get a patch out that incorporates a similar fix for The Master Chief Collection version of the game.

Overall, it seems as though Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary has a few minor issues that shouldn't be too much of an issue, at least if you aren't running with the Classic visuals and audio all the time. A lot of what they discovered is more on the minor side but should still be taken into consideration if you were hoping for a 100% perfect release.

The Halo Master Chief Collection on PC evolves with the release of the original game - or, rather, an enhanced port of the Xbox One MMC rendition of the Anniversary Edition. In this video, Alex analyses the new version of the game, stacking it up against the original Xbox version, the 2003 PC port by Gearbox, plus the Chimera Mod and Restoration Project - where the community has fixed issues that somehow haven't been fixed in this new conversion.