This Halo: Reach PC mod adds simulated ray tracing

The mod in action.
The mod in action. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Halo: Reach on PC has been out for several months now, and players have constantly been coming up with creative mods that alter how the game plays, sounds, and looks. One thing many people do is create presets for the post-processing software ReShade, which can be used to dramatically alter Halo: Reach's visuals. One user, ultracasio, has created a ReShade preset called Halo Reach RTX that simulates ray tracing, bringing Halo: Reach to life in gorgeous new ways. Here's a look at the mod, as well as how you can download and install it.

What does the mod do?

Source: ultracasio on Nexus Mods (Image credit: Source: ultracasio on Nexus Mods)

In short, the Halo Reach RTX ReShade preset uses a precise combination of different post-processing effects to simulate what Halo: Reach's environments would look like if real ray tracing and global illumination were applied to the game. Effects such as light rays, reflective bump mapping, and overhauled anti-aliasing are used, among others. Also, the preset also adds depth-of-field for increased immersion — you can tweak this or toggle it off entirely in the ReShade settings if you want. Here's a comparison between the preset being on and it being off; if you'd like to see more comparisons, there are plenty of them on the mod's Images page.

The effect that this ReShade preset has on the game is significant. I played through a few levels of Halo: Reach to test it out, and I found that the preset makes the lighting in the game look a hell of a lot more realistic than the vanilla game. In general, the changes make Halo: Reach noticeably darker but in an atmospheric and moody way. Certain areas were also brighter than they were in the normal game, too. I think this overall darker tone fits Halo: Reach well, considering that it's a bleak story where humanity loses to the Covenant.

How you can get the mod

Source: ultracasio on Nexus Mods (Image credit: Source: ultracasio on Nexus Mods)

To get the mod, the first thing you're going to want to do is to install ReShade to the game by following our guide. It's quick, free, and easy to do, and we laid everything out step-by-step.

Once you have that done, go to the Halo Reach RTX mod page and figure out which version of Halo Reach RTX will work best for your system. The mod author put together a chart that you can use to pick the version of the preset that will work best with your graphics card; Ultra is obviously ideal since it will look the best, but if you don't have the GPU to handle it, you're better off choosing one of the performance-friendly versions. Once you've established which version of the preset you want, go to the Files section of the mod page and download the preset. The last step of the process is to paste the .INI preset file you downloaded from the mod page into the same folder where Halo: MCC's executable file is (Halo: Reach is accessed through the MCC). This is in Halo The Master Chief Collection/MCC/Binaries/Win64. Once that's done, you can open the ReShade menu by hitting the Home key while playing Halo and select the Halo Reach RTX preset, and you'll be good to go.

Your thoughts

What do you think of the Halo Reach RTX mod? Do you think it makes the game look better? Let me know. For the ultimate Halo: Reach makeover, I recommend combining this ReShade preset with the best-looking textures you can get in the game by manipulating the NVIDIA Control Panel. I wrote a guide on how to do that here.

Halo: Reach on PC is available for $10 as a standalone game, or can be obtained as part of the full Master Chief Collection bundle for $40.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.