Video Graphics Quality Settings
I’m a real stickler for detail when it comes to video game graphics, especially considering the high price tag we pay for top titles. Although you can still easily differentiate between the real world and in game, I have to say that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is by far the most detailed video game I have played to date.
The physics effects of the weather and foliage, and the way the environment reacts to the player and vice versa really helps to add realism to the detail. Even at low settings the detail looks impressive, and the only thing that lets it down at these lower settings is the lack of anti-aliasing.
In the image above the graphics settings are set to low, and anti-aliasing and ambient occlusion settings are disabled. The game of course is still very playable, and unless you absolutely can’t stand to see aliasing on edges (like me), you will still be impressed by the level of detail.
Bumping the selectable settings to normal, and enabling low level MSAA and SSAO, really improves the overall picture. Shadows start to take on a little definition and the aliasing is very difficult to pick up on. This is fantastic news for players with lower level hardware as you will certainly still get a desirable level of detail.
High settings are harder to differentiate, but the keen eyed among us will spot the differences all the same. The textures are much sharper and the shadows, while still blotchy, are less like gradients than with normal quality settings. Although not seen here so much, you will start to notice more defined weather effects as the sky begins to cloud over or as the sun sets.
Okay, now we have bumped the settings to very high and the finer details are really getting hard to notice. The shadows are more defined but have blurred edges to make them appear soft. In the real world not all shadows are equal and this will take more computational power to set right in the game. Under these settings I noticed that water really started to look better, which is something we will look at later.
Ultra settings see us maxing out and enabling all of the advanced settings. Once again we see this mostly defined in the variation of the shadows. Some shadows have defined edges and are darker than others with smoother edges. The shading helps to give facial features and certain textures much more depth and detail.
It is hard to capture all of the features of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag in a set of images like I have shown above. Because of this I will dedicate the next section to discussing the advanced features that really bring this title to life and increase the overall immersion, and ultimately keep you playing for hours on end.