Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist PC Video Game Review


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Splinter Cell Blacklist Tessellation & TXAA

In this section we take a look at how DirectX 11 Tessellation effects and NVIDIA TXAA help take a crude finished product and turn it into a refined representation of a realistic object. These technologies elevate Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist from Quake III texture quality levels to something much more modern. Each of the images below is taken from the scene from the previous section, and feature different quality setting levels.

In the image of Sam Fisher’s head show below, graphics quality is set to “Low”. The texturing for hair is very coarse with no definition, making it resemble a paint flat surface. Sam’s ear, nose, and chin shows flat discernible angles instead of smooth curves, due to the lack of tessellation.


Sam Fisher: Video Quality Low

With graphics quality set to “Medium” for the image below, textures sharpen allowing hair to look slightly more realistic and defined. His facial hair appears more distinct, and less flat. Tessellation is still not employed, causing unrealistic round edges around the ear and chin.


Sam Fisher: Video Quality Medium

Adjusted to “High” quality for the image below, textures are much sharper overall. Sam’s hair is well defined, and individual colored strands can be observed. Round objects still generate sharp or flat angles instead of smooth curves, as tessellation is not employed at this quality level.


Sam Fisher: Video Quality High

With graphics quality set to “Ultra” in the image below, tessellation is enabled and Sam Fisher finally gets round ears and chin thanks to DirectX 11 tessellation. Textures are their sharpest yet and offer more detail, but still remain flat and without realistic volume or movement.


Sam Fisher: Video Quality Ultra

With “Ultra” graphics quality and 4x NVIDIA TXAA enabled, the overall detail is softened for all objects in Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist. While this could make a texture appear more fluid and less sharply distinct, it might also remove some of the realistic details that pop out. Tessellation softens the edges to create smoother curves, and TXAA further dulls these edges to make all angles appear slightly less conspicuous.


Sam Fisher: Video Quality Ultra + NVIDIA TXAA

For gamer’s wanting realism from Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist, DirectX 11 technologies such as tessellation are absolutely essential to rounding sharp corners and curves. NVIDIA’s TXAA helps to further soften the harsh edges and color blends with very little performance penalty, making it ideal for solo/single-player campaigns where you can spend time to take in all the game’s artistic details.


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  1. Kzinti1

    COMMENT QUESTION: What is your favorite Tom Clancy game or book?
    N/A. They’ve all been turds.
    I have several uplay games. Luckily, they’ve all come free with videocard purchases, as none would’ve been bought separately.
    This review puts my thoughts of this game into a far better perspective than I have words for.
    I’ve always despised on-line games. Giving “bonuses” to people only if they play a game on-line, does nothing to endear me to any game publisher who practices such nonsense. Especially when I pay for a game that doesn’t come free with a piece of equipment.
    I’d much rather Nvidia give out rebate coupons which you can either use for cash, or whatever game that they happen to be pushing with their videocards. I’d certainly take the cash every single time.
    Especially as the bulk of these games can be purchased a few months later for pennies on the dollar.

  2. Mack

    That was a good review.
    It is a shame that the quality assurance for the game was so low. It’s getting to be the low standard of choice for some companies to “beta test” their products at the time of release. Too many times the excuse is “we ran out of time.” That’s just bad business in general, and will eventually cause a bad rep for the company.

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