With Halo finally coming back to PC starting with Halo: Reach, it only seems fitting for the original’s small modding scene to get a second wind. Covered previously, Halo SPV3 is the biggest, most ambitious mod for the game yet. A nearly-standalone re-imagining of the first Halo, bringing it in line with Reach’s tech, timeline and story. The new version (3.2) released over the weekend polishes it up a lot and adds another six missions to the mix, extending the game by hours. Below, a new trailer showcasing what they’ve stuffed into Halo’s creaky old PC version chassis.
A lot of the stuff in this new version of SPV3 is visual polish work. The mod now comes with an integrated patch that lets the game run at 60fps or higher, and a set of new post-processing effects for a slightly more modern look. They’ve also re-textured much of the world, making things look a little more muted. There’s a whole bunch of new graphical options available via the SPV3 launcher tool, with Doom Mode being especially cute. It’s basically the ‘classic’ centred weapons mode they patched into Doom 2016. Looks a bit weird in Halo, but it’s there if you want it.
As well as further tweaks to the original campaign, this version adds another six missions. Three of them are an enhanced version of fan-campaign Lumoria, and the other three continue to bulk up the latter ‘post-Flood’ half of the game. Two missions even let you play as The Arbiter, the alien captain voiced by Keith David. While some clever editing lets them re-use his voice in those new scenarios, the rest of the cast are somewhat more amateur sounding. Still, they’re fun new fights – just be warned that SPV3 is tougher than ‘vanilla’. Even Normal difficulty can get pretty rough.
Halo SPV3 is an ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ kind of mod. A showcase of what can be done, rather than worried about whether it should do it. This isn’t Halo as you remember, improved or otherwise. Expect an almost entirely new game that just happens to cover the same story beats. While it won’t please everyone, I dig it, and am amazed at how much life they’ve managed to squeeze out of Gearbox’s slightly wonky PC port of the original. And if you’d rather just play Halo but nicer-looking, that’s what the Master Chief Collection will let you do on PC later this year.
You can grab Halo SPV3 here from its community Reddit page. It’s an entirely self-contained installer, so no prior installation needed. You will require a Halo CE CD key, though. Given that the game has been out of print for over fifteen years, it’s lucky that it doesn’t check online whether you’re re-using one.