The Division Beta Preliminary Graphics Comparison – PC Ultra Vs Low Settings Compared


The closed beta of the PC version of Tom Clancy's The Division went live a few hours ago and we thought it would be a good time to do a simple graphics comparison of the game as it currently is. It goes without saying that any aspect of the graphics that you see here can be modified or removed in the time before release. So far however, the game looks pretty impressive, especially considering the scale of it all.

Tom Clancy's The Division Beta Preliminary Graphical Analysis

One of the first things you will notice while inside the universe of Tom Clancy's The Division is the dynamic day/night system. Because of the changing light conditions, it is very hard to do comparison runs even after deleting your character (the in-game clock does not reset). That said, we tried our best to keep them as consistent as possible although some variation can still be seen.

After loading the game, the first thing we did was crank up the settings as high as they can go. To compare the two graphic systems, we have used the presets provided in-game of Low and Ultra and no other settings were changed. Be warned though, the game in its current state is not very optimized and will require quite a lot of power at the ultra level configuration. The low setting, however, should run easily on fairly outdated hardware - although the requirements are still quite high. The game has a very extensive list of graphical options that should satiate even the most hardcore PC gamer. That said, we were not able to find many Nvidia specific graphical settings, apart from the usual suspects (Shadows, AO etc). Without further ado, the comparison:

The Division Beta Ultra Graphics:

The Division Beta Low Graphics:

The differences between Ultra and Low setting on PC

The in-game environment is absolutely gorgeous, which considering the size of the game is especially impressive. The dynamic weather system also helps compliment the day/night cycle and adds an aspect of realism to the graphical settings. As far as the graphical settings are concerned, here is what we noticed:

The Ultra settings are heavily focused on increasing the realism of the graphics - as opposed to simply the graphical quality. While textures do get an upgrade going from Low to Ultra, one of the most obvious differences are the changes in the game's shadow system. The shadows and refection, which help blend in the game assets with their surroundings are dropped to a jarring level going from ultra to low. Similarly, other changes to the game's dynamic lighting system can be seen. The depth of focus is also dropped, which changes the visual acuity considerably - although that is something which not everyone will constitute as a downgrade.

If you take a look at the screenshots below, you will notice that the Ultra setting screenshots are very realistically lit (for eg Shadows on the helicopter seat, Shadows of the carousel) while Low settings have almost no shadows. Other effects like Ambient Occlusion and Temporal AA are also dropped in favor of performance but the results are still very pretty - although not nearly as realistic. The indoors however, is one place where it gets very hard to tell the Ultra settings apart from the Low settings except for the textures. But considering the nature of the game, that isn't really something worth lingering over.