Halo 5: Guardians hits locked 60fps mark at a cost
The cost is resolution, but they warned us about that.
When it comes to Halo 5: Guardians, 343 Industries has done everything they could to offer smooth gameplay no matter how busy the screen is. To achieve this goal, they built an entirely new engine for Halo 5, one that sacrifices resolution for framerate.
From an eSports perspective the locked 60fps is great (and Microsoft/343 are pushing more into the competitive world with this game), but for more casual players the loss of visual integrity might be a bit of an annoyance. They did warn us that this would be the case when they explained the new engine.
The latest analysis from Digital Foundry have revealed that 343 Industries has hit their locked 60fps goal, but at a price.
No matter how many enemies or effects are on screen, we see an almost complete adherence to 60 frames per second... The pay-off is clear though; 60fps is locked at practically all times, while image quality shifts up and down the scale to ensure this consistency.
This pay-off was made most clear on Halo 5's biggest Warzone mode map, Raid on Apex. This map has a total of 24 players (12v12) and has been described as a spiritual successor to Halo: Combat Evolved's Silent Cartographer. Unfortunately, it is on this map where the resolution hit its lowest during testing.
Those sensitive to image quality issues may be disappointed. The post-process anti-aliasing solution employed here works well enough at full 1080p but, as the resolution begins to dip, it can also result in a rather muddy-looking image.
The open areas visible in the Warzone footage can look decidedly last-gen in places with blurry, shimmering foliage and poor texture filtering recalling the African plains of Halo 3.
Explosions and weapon effects are rendered at a reduced resolution throughout, leading to some pretty noticeable pixilation during particularly heated sequences.
The end result can put people into two parties, those that don't mind textures/resolution that fade in and out of detail and those that very much mind the degradation in resolution. No one will be complaining about smooth gameplay (hopefully), because that's what the game is built around.