After the twee charms of Arcadia Bay in Life is Strange, Dontnod is taking a huge change in art direction with Vampyr. It's out tomorrow, and it's set in the dark and dingy streets of 1918 London. This is no AAA behemoth, but it's a moody, atmospheric trudge through some dark times.
Atmosphere is often reliant on immersive visuals though, and you don't want to be pulled out of the experience by things looking, well bad. If you're a little worried you won't be able to hit the recommend specs, here are some Low vs Ultra comparison shots for Vampyr, providing some insight into the visual differences.
A little word of warning though, Vampyr is, unsurprisingly, a very dark game. You'll be spending a lot of time snooping around dimly lit environments, squinting at shadows. For a new of these screenshots, you may need to get your squint on.
Vampyr Low v Ultra Graphics Comparison
(slide your cursor over the images to compare)
The first pair of screenshots is the darkest of the bunch, but it does provide a decent look at how Vampyr handles both Shadows and Lighting. On Ultra you can see there's still a fairly large of aliasing in effect on the shadows cast from the banister. Low, meanwhile, removes the definition from the shadows, which in turn reduces instances sharp, jagged edges. It's a bit counterintuitive, but during normal gameplay, we didn't find the jagged shadows as distracting as they are in this screenshot.
We'll have more on lighting later, but the lamp on the stairs showcases how the effect is handled. On Low, it's presented as a static light source, while on Ultra it looks a little more dynamic as it ripples down the steps on the stairs.
The point of these screenshots below is to show the impact of view distance in Vampyr. There's really not too much to tell these two screenshots before, but if you look at the houses at the back you can see a chimney some lights, and a tuft of smoke appear.
While it's difficult to tell from a still image, in the screenshot below the fire in the bin is fully animated on Ultra. It's also got a heat haze rising out of it which you can see on the wooden board propped up behind it. On Low, this is a single fixed light. This looks far less realistic and, well, it made me think of the original Max Payne.
In some scenarios, there is very little graphical difference between Low and Ultra in Vampyr. It could be argued the Low screenshot actually looks better, but this is down to the improved view distance due to weaker fog effects.
This is the same scene as the last screenshot but turned a little to the right. There really isn't much between in the two screenshots in terms of texture or lighting quality.
Whether you decent to play Low, Medium, High, or Ultra, Vampyr can look decent. It's not up to AAA standards, but neither is it ugly too. Here's a typical street scene from Vampyr, and even if you're only able to hit the minimum specs, the base line visuals are certainly decent enough.
Look, I know I can't be the only one who likes to potter around and stare at the ground in games. It made Battlefield 1 an absolute joy, at least until a sniper ruined my fun. Here in Vampyr, we can see the difference that parallax mapping and bump mapping makes to the quality of the floor. On Ultra it presents the illusion that the paving slabs are uneven, while on Low it's more obviously a flat texture with some generous lighting effects slathered on top.