If you’ll recall, NVIDIA recently recommended a GTX 970 as the bare minimum necessary to enjoy Rise of the Tomb Raider the way it’s meant to be played.
For NVIDIA, that means 60 fps on high settings, and if you want to game at 1440p, you’ll need the monstrously expensive GTX 980 Ti.
But what if you don’t meet their lofty recommendations; just what can you expect from the various graphical settings?
Graphical comparison enthusiasts Candyland have the video comparison for you – demonstrating the differences between Minimum, Medium and Maximum settings for Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Please keep in mind that the following video is recorded at 1440p. At 1080p, a lack of anti-aliasing and lower resolution textures will mean the differences between the various graphical levels and the video will be a tad more noticeable.
Candyland has done a wonderful job demonstrating the differences between the various settings, something we’d like to commend them for.
That said, the difference between Minimum and Maximum is fairly significant, particularly in the textures department, but lighting suffers quite a bit from the downgrade too. In fact, there are no shadows to be seen on Low at all.
Perhaps the most important thing to notice is that the differences between Maximum, High and Medium are definitely noticeable, but the leap from Medium to Low is pretty jarring, to say the least.
We will say one thing for Low settings: in spite of the massive drop in visual fidelity, Level of Detail (at 2:35) is a lot better than we expect. We were expecting a Silent Hill-esque fog.
Weirdly, our favourite perk of bumping up the graphics settings is improved Dynamic Foliage (at 3:36), which makes for a splendid site when the flora around you bobs and bends with the wind.
If anything, and you’re pushed to drop settings to make it playable, we’d recommend keeping Bloom and Lens Flare (at 4:09) if you can.
The thing we were most impressed by, however, was how good of a job Crystal Dynamics has done with the Xbox One version.
We all know it looks great, but a graphical comparison between the PC and Xbox One versions shows just how good a job they’ve done.
A more accurate and noticeable Ambient Occlusion, improved shadow quality and higher resolution textures certainly make a difference, but not nearly as much as difference between High and Low on the PC does.
That said, the Xbox One version is missing a lot of the bells and whistles, like ground tessellation, soft sun shadows as well as sporting a much lower level of Anisotropic Filtering as well as Anti-aliasing.
Their PC playthrough is recorded at 1080p for the best comparison.
Most importantly, Digital Foundry makes sure to reiterate what NVIDIA has stated, that Rise of the Tomb Raider is a graphically demanding game, quite a bit more so than its prequel, and you’re going to need some serious hardware to get the best out of it.
Digital Foundry (at 1:59) also demonstrates the one thing Candyland does not, how flora reacts when Dynamic Foliage is turned on and characters pass through it, and how foliage just simply does not react on the Xbox One version.
For those planning to get the PC version, at 4:50 Digital Foundry show off the various graphical and display settings made available.
And if you’re sporting an NVIDIA card, there’s an NVIDIA tech trailer worth checking out.
At the end of the day, Rise of the Tomb Raider should make for a great experience, irrespective of graphical quality.
It doesn’t stop those of us who can from cranking the settings up anyway.