Halo: Reach’s borked audio and frame pacing problems sour PC players’ first impressions

By Sherif Saed
4 December 2019 09:11 GMT

The launch of Halo: Reach on PC is marred by some severe problems.

As more and more players jumped into Halo: Reach yesterday, it became clear that the PC version has a number of problems affecting everyone.

Perhaps the most common and immediately noticeable is the quality of sounds and audio. Gun shots sound distant, and the mix of the different layers (dialogue, ambient, sfx) sounds completely off. This is currently the hottest topic on Reddit and the Steam forums.

One Resetera member put it best, “[It] sounds like a 144p YouTube video being played through the speakers of a broken Nintendo 2DS, partially covered with a pillow.”

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The problem with audio, as you might have guessed, is one that’s been known by developer 343. According to the developer, this is the result of a new encoder, which was necessary when porting the game from Xbox. Unfortunately, this particular issue “will take some time to work through solutions to improve the overall experience.”

Another issue is the lack of a proper options menu. While you’re able to change resolution, lock/unlock framerate, Reach doesn’t let you tweak the different graphics settings individually. This isn’t too much of a problem considering the game’s very modest requirements, but it is nonetheless disappointing to see.

There are also plenty of reports of poor frame pacing, despite very higher framerates, and general sluggishness to controls. Some users theorise that certain elements are running at 60fps or lower, which gives animations a floaty feeling when played at ultra-high framerates. Part of this is unavoidable due to how old Reach is, but this issue – like the audio – was one raised during the beta.

This is another thing 343 recognises may never be perfect, but will continue to work on going forward. Game feel is obviously of paramount importance here, but not everyone will feel this, and others simply wouldn’t mind too much.

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