Skip to main content

Halo Infinite on Xbox One — how good does it look?

halo infinite cover art with master chief on zeta halo
(Image credit: Microsoft/343)

Halo Infinite may be the new flagship title for Xbox Series X, but that doesn’t mean it’s an exclusive for that console. The latest Halo title is actually more widely available than any of its predecessors, and can be played on Xbox Series X/S, PC, and the last-gen Xbox One.

That means if you haven’t had luck with Xbox Series X restocks yet, you can still enjoy Master Chief’s latest adventure. But following the disastrous last-gen performance of Cyberpunk 2077, some people may have concerns about how Halo Infinite plays on Xbox One compared to Xbox Series X.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to give it a try on both my Xbox Series X and the Xbox One S it replaced. And I can tell you that Halo Infinite runs fine on the older hardware, though the Series X does have a number of key advantages. 

But you shouldn’t take my word for it; here’s some visual material so you can compare the two for yourself.

The main thing to note is that graphics on the Xbox One are not as good, nor are the visual assets. That’s not to say that they are bad, but a side-by-side comparison shows that the Xbox Series X has a lot more detail and better texturing overall. 

The trees in particular look much nicer and more lifelike compared to those on the Xbox One, since it’s easier to make out individual branches and details rather than getting a generic merged-together tree shape.

You can also see that in this shot overlooking the Banished tower. The Xbox Series X has far more realistic-looking environments, especially on the ground. There’s no denying that they are part of a video game, rather than a photo, but they look significantly better than what the Xbox One has to offer.

You can also see a stark difference in the objects in the background. The Banished ship is a big one here, since it’s more in-focus on the Xbox One, and appears closer. Meanwhile the Xbox Series X gives you a better impression of just how far away it is, since the focus isn’t quite there.

The lighting on the Series X is also significantly better, in terms of brightness, coloring, and shadows. The latter are barely present on the Xbox One, and in this shot you can see everything is presented in the same general murk. It’s not quite so obvious when you’re playing, but a side-by side comparison makes it very clear.

This extra shot of the tower and the surrounding landscape also makes that point abundantly clear. The Xbox One screenshot may be at sunset, thanks to Halo Infinite’s rudimentary day/night cycle, but the Xbox Series X version of the game is significantly better lit. 

It’s also worth mentioning that the Xbox One version of the game is missing a number of environmental assets, more notably trees on the ridge, while everything else feels a lot closer. That may be down to the Series X’s 4K resolution, but it seems Microsoft’s best console gives Halo Infinite a better sense of scale — and brings home just how huge a Halo ring actually is.

Then we have this shot of a dead grunt. While the difference in the alien itself isn’t huge, the Xbox Series X still comes out more detailed and better lit. You can also see a stark difference in the details on the ground and the fauna. There appears to be more of it in Halo Infinite, and it looks like an actual 3D asset — whereas the Xbox One’s plant life looks a lot flatter and less interesting.

If you told me the shot on the Xbox One was a screenshot from Halo 5, or the Master Chief Collection, I wouldn’t be surprised. And it goes to show how great Halo Infinite can look on better hardware.

Of course there’s a lot more going on in Halo Infinite than the graphics alone. As any dedicated PC gamer will tell you, frame rate is a lot more important than resolution, and whether you agree or not it’s fair to say that running Halo Infinite at 60fps is really rather lovely.

Meanwhile, the Xbox One S is limited to 30fps, and it shows. Even if you’re not watching clips side by side, it’s obvious as soon as you boot up the game that the frame rate is not as high. It’s not unplayable by any means, but it is something you need to be aware of. 

The frame rate can dip and get a little choppy at times, too, but not for very long. It’s not an ideal situation to find yourself in, especially in the middle of a firefight, but it doesn’t get so bad that you can’t work your way out of it very quickly.

Bottom line

If you want the best possible Halo Infinite experience, you’re going to want to play it on Xbox Series X, or at least Xbox Series S. Then again, if you have either of those consoles, you’re not likely to play on an Xbox One. 

But for those of you who haven’t been able to get a next-gen Xbox, no matter the reason, then Halo Infinite is still available. This is 100% not a Cyberpunk 2077 situation, where you have to use the latest and best hardware if you want any hope of actually playing the game properly. 

So while Halo Infinite isn’t quite as good on the older hardware, the difference is mainly visual. Considering how fun Halo Infinite’s open world can be, that’s far from the end of the world. 

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.