Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Advanced Graphics Features
When you play a video game you know in your mind that it is not real. The more immersive a title is the more likely you are to ignore or even forget this fact. Some video games try to win you over with gameplay and some try to win you over with visuals. In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, visuals very well catered for and the gameplay is very good too, but there is still a little room for improvement. I would like to use this section to talk up the good points and I will detail some of my pet hates in the final thoughts page.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is powered by a wide range of NVIDIA technologies that deliver striking graphics and an exhilarating gaming experience. In addition to using long-standing NVIDIA technologies like FXAA and TXAA to improve image quality, it also leverages newer technologies like NVIDIA HBAO+, God Rays, and Percentage-Closer Soft Shadows (PCSS) to enhance the game’s overall atmosphere. No matter what brand or model video card you have your experience with Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag is sure to be a pleasurable one, although it is tuned to take advantage of the best graphics technologies and architectural features available in NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700-series graphics cards.
God Rays are the newest enhancement for Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. They add a new layer of realism to the world, on top of the traditional lens flare effect. Lens flare has always been something that I don’t like in games. I find that lens flare detracts from reality because it is something that is not picked up with the human eye; we only see it through the lens of a camera, hence the name.
God rays on the other hand, are naturally occurring (depending on the weather or environment). Ubisoft may have gone a little OTT with their implementation of god rays in Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag, and used them in ways that they might not naturally occur, but it is nice to see a more natural effect implemented all the same.
The environment in Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag is very detailed and lifelike. Realistic textures are further enhanced by realistic shadows. Not all shadows are equal in the real world and this is also the case within game. Hard edge and undefined ‘blob’ shadows of games gone by are thankfully a thing of the past. Of all the new technologies that have enhanced the visual quality, reality and depth of Assassins Creed IV Black Flag; it has to be the implementation of self detail shadows, soft edge particle shadows, and percentage closer soft shadows that has made the biggest impact.
Draw distance is very impressive in Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. The NPC’s go about their business as you would expect, but when you look into the background you will see that even those that are far away are still rendered and animated along with detailed shadows too!
Since you will be spending a great portion of time on the sea and in your trusty ship it is nice to see that equal attention has been paid to their detail too. As you proceed through the game the galleons get bigger and have much more detail. The sea and the surrounding environment will react differently dependant on weather conditions thanks to apex physics. The waves, wind and rainfall are very convincing but the water spouts caused by the tornadoes can seem a little too super-imposed.
Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag has a full night and day sequence coupled with an enhanced dynamic weather system. The night scenes lend themselves really well to the stealth aspects of the gameplay, and the predominantly sunny weather really helps with the fast paced free-running gameplay. It’s really hard to capture all of the weather effects into a handful of images as they are so dynamic that I would be here all day trying to relay them over to you. There is also so much happening in the environment such as realistic moving foliage, free roaming humans and animals and and interactable AI. When all of these aspects are combined you get a really immersive experience.