Halo 5: Guardians Digital Foundry

Halo 5: Xbox One X's most impressive 4K upgrade?

Step back for a moment to the year 2015. 343 Industries is releasing Halo 5: Guardians to eager fans the world over. While not completely escaping criticism, the game itself is well received and ultimately, it's a solid shooter with tight gameplay and gorgeous art direction - all delivered at a solid 60 frames per second frame-rate. However, that silky-smooth performance level came at a price: image quality. Xbox One just wasn't powerful enough to resolve everything the game had to offer, but with the release of Xbox One X, there's a strong argument that 343's vision is now fully delivered.

Welcome to the new face of Halo 5 on Microsoft's new six-teraflop console. The blurry mask is peeled back, revealing the full beauty of the original game. It's a revelatory improvement and the remarkable reality is that 343's 4K patch doesn't seem to offer huge improvements to core asset quality. There are some tweaks, improvements and refinements, but the fact is that by increasing resolution and texture filtering quality alone, the game is massively transformed, its inner beauty finally revealed.

In fact, the high resolution now reveals details which were once impossible to see. A case in point is the battle rifle - its rear-mounted display now resolves text detail right down to incidentals like the remaining battery life. It looks like the self-same artwork is used on the standard version of the game, but there simply wasn't the pixel real estate or the definition to actually see all of the intricate details. Perhaps more than any other game at the launch of the new Xbox, Halo 5 demonstrates just how much of an upgrade the hardware is capable of delivering, and while 1080p display users benefit, the 4K advantage is undeniable.

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