Image Quality Comparison
Before we get stuck into the performance testing, lets just take a moment to look at and compare the three main quality presets.
By just looking at the thumbnails above it will be difficult to spot any real differences, so please make sure you click on each image to view the high resolution versions. Looking at the Ultra High image we see a great deal of shadow detail, water quality detail, lighting, and texture detail. When lowering the quality settings from ultra high to very high we see a huge decrease in the visual quality.
The very high quality settings remove a great deal of shadow detail, which changes the above screenshots quite a bit. The texture detail remains much the same, as does the level of detail within the environment. Now when going from very high to high we see a further decrease in visual quality, though this time the changes have less of an impact.
While the shadow detail remains about the same, the water quality has been reduced. There is also less detail within the environment, for example, some shrubs are now missing. Texture quality also seems to have suffered a bit in the transition.
Interestingly, up close in the town the difference between ultra high and very high doesn't seem to be much of a big deal. However, if you look closely you will notice a few improvements when using ultra high settings. Again the shadows are better, which can be noticed under the rusty sheet metal on the house roofs. The shadows coming off the hills in the background are also improved.
Then the biggest difference that we noticed between the very high and high settings seemed to be the dynamic lighting, which was noticeable when looking at the trees. The lighting certainly gives trees a much more natural look when using the very high quality settings in comparison to lesser modes.
The above images look very impressive, very Crysis like. The difference between very high and ultra high quality can be seen in the palm tree leaves. Even so, the difference between these two quality settings is minimal in the above screenshots. Going from very high to high provides us with the most noticeable difference in picture quality. The high setting loses a great deal of lighting quality and now the palm tree is basically just a black shape in the background.