Our friends over in console land have been emptying granny’s bank accounts and smacking folk around the chops with a ball on a string for a couple of weeks now, but Watch Dogs 2 will be with us on PC looking better than ever from tomorrow. Looking good is one thing, performing well is another thing entirely. Let’s hope the extra fortnight in the oven means Ubisoft has got Watch Dogs 2 running in tip-top condition.
Should you not have an uber powerful rig that sounds like a jet engine and runs like a nuclear reactor then you’re probably going to have to fiddle around with Watch Dogs 2’s graphics settings in order to achieve optimum performance. Here’s the full list of all of Watch Dogs 2’s advanced video options so you can see ahead of time just what can be dialed up or down to achieve those FPS boosts.
Watch Dogs 2 Display Options
- Window Mode
- Monitor Refresh Rate
- Field of View
- Pixel Density
- Menu Position
- Multimonitor HUD
Watch Dogs 2 Advanced Graphics Options
- Graphics Quality
- Extra Details
- Texture Resolution
- Texture Filtering
- Headlight Shadows
- Screenspace Reflections
- San Francisco Fog
- Depth of Field
- Motion Blur
- Ambient Occlusion
- Temporal Filtering
- Multisample Antialiasing - MSAA Off / MSAA 2x / MSAA x4 / MSAA x8 / TXAA x2 / TXAA x4 / TXAA x8
- Post-Process Antialiasing - SMAA
Quite a hefty list of graphics options for Watch Dogs 2 I’m sure you’ll agree. I doubt the look of the menus is to everyone’s taste, although it is keeping with Ubisoft’s patented ‘edginess’ for the sequel. I’m expecting a bit of visual artifacting as I flick between the menus as it goes full cliche.
From the looks of things Ubisoft has just about everything covered here. Graphics Quality relates to the Watch Dogs 2 presets, ranging from Low up to Ultra. Visually Watch Dogs 2 doesn’t look heaps better than the original, so from the looks of things a GTX 970 or R9 290 should be capable of hitting Ultra at 1080p at least. The AMD graphics card is the more likely of the two to be capable of this however. We see from the top image that Ultra at the slightly unusual resolution of 1920 x 1200 eats 4.8 GB of VRAM. Considering the GTX 970 is getting by with what is essentially 3.5 GB, it may struggle with Watch Dogs 2's high resolution textures in particular.
One of the vaguer graphics options is ‘Extra Details’. Presumably this is just a level of detail slider, adding more environmental details at a greater distance such as plastic bags floating through the air or trash littering the streets. We might have to wait and see on this one though. This is joined by a San Francisco Fog toggle. Which I guess is a thing. I wasn’t aware the Golden Gate City was synonymous with fog so there we go. If you want your game to look like an open-world PSOne game, there’s your option.
Lastly a shout out to Watch Dogs 2’s antialiasing options. A decent selection there and also the option for both multisample and post-process AA. A word of warning - MSAA is extremely demanding and should be dropped in favour of TXAA for Nvidia users unless you have excess performance. Bump that up to MSAA x8 and Watch Dogs 2’s frame rate is likely to slow to a crawl. TXAA is still quite demanding however, so your only fallback is the post-process SMAA (almost zero performance impact).
As ever keep your eyes peeled on GD in the coming days, where we'll hopefully have some extensive benchmark tests up in the coming days.