Hideo Kojima's long-awaited sci-fi epic Death Stranding is finally making it's way to the PC platform, and whilst the title has already been out as a console-exclusive PlayStation 4 title, the new PC edition comes with new content as well as additional graphical settings for us to tweak and optimize to our liking.
But how different does Death Stranding on PC look? Has the game been optimized for PC players by allowing a large difference between graphical fidelity? Or is there not really much of a difference? And how much would you be missing out on if you had to drop Death Stranding to the lowest quality settings? We take a look at Death Stranding's differences between graphical fidelity with some Low vs Ultra comparison screenshots.
Death Stranding Low vs Ultra graphics comparison screenshots
First up we have the environments, as these are the scenes you will be mostly looking at when trekking your way across America in order to reunite the country. There's some interesting differences between Low vs Ultra here, so let's take a look at some Death Stranding Low vs Ultra environment screenshots...
(slide your cursor over the images to compare. Click to enlarge)
Here you can see that at Low graphics settings in Death Stranding there is less detail in textures and models at a distance. Ultra graphics settings in Death Stranding retains the detail in models (which you can see on the mountain in the distance).
Another angle for a large mountain shows the details on the left slope getting lost at Low graphics settings. Fortunately the details on the rock face aren't that much different when comparing Low and Ultra graphics settings.
A further example of the details of the rock face not losing that much quality at Low graphics settings. This is our first example of how textures remain largely unaffected, especially when viewed at lose distances.
A final example of the kind of models and graphics details that get affected when switching between Low and Ultra graphics settings in Death Stranding. You can see how some features like the rocks in the river get lost on Low graphics settings, plus the detail in the blue light beacon and the bridge over the river.
Here's the private room, a sort of HQ base of operations where you can rest your character, customize your clothing etc. There isn't a whole lot to do here, but you can see that the depth of field effect is very prominent (don't worry, it's not that blurry the whole time).
Here we also have a distribution center, which is where your private room is located in larger hub buildings. You can see what kind of details are lost at a larger distance with the ramp at the exit. The distance isn't that large, so the level of detail is pretty low at the lowest graphics quality in Death Stranding.
Here's some foliage of trees and their difference between Low and Ultra. You can see that up close there isn't a whole lot different here, the biggest difference being the addition of ambient occlusion at Ultra settings.
At a distance the foliage like trees does degrade a bit, showing the details that get lost at Low quality settings. But overall, there isn't a huge amount that's different between Low and Ultra.
You can see here that the quality of the character's and bike's models and textures are largely unaffected when switching between Low and Ultra graphics in Death Stranding. Obviously the ambient occlusion and anti-aliasing do a lot here again, but in terms of the atual texture and model detail there isn't much difference.
We an see the same thing happen with other objects on the ground like this cargo, which retains most of the texture and model quality between Low and Ultra graphics settings.
Let's take a closer look at those textures then. In Death Stranding's PC graphics settings there isn't a dedicated option for texture quality, so as we saw with the previous examples above there isn't a huge difference when comparing Low and Ultra graphics settings.
You an see here on the rock face that once again it's just the ambient oclusion and anti-aliasing which is making a difference.
A closer inspection shows the same thing, as the actual texture quality doesn't change between Low and Ultra.
Taking a look at the ground we can see there is absolutely no difference to discern.
Surfaces like this beach and the pebbles on the ground remain unaffected as well.
The skybox also doesn't appear to change as you are perpetually shrouded by grey clouds that fill the entire sky.
Finally we have the quality of water in Death Stranding, which also doesn't change that much except for the most obvious addition of some screen space reflections. The texture of the water and the physics themselves don't seem to change at all when switching between Low and Ultra graphics settings in Death Stranding.
Overall, apart from the obvious changes like ambient occlusion and anti-aliasing, there isn't a whole lot of differences between Low and Ultra graphics in Death Stranding. Textures remain largely unaffected, whilst the biggest difference comes from the level of detail of models and textures from a far distance.
On the one hand, this is good for those who made need to save an extra few frames and don't want to lose much graphical quality. On the other hand it also means there isn't a whole lot of wiggle room for some proper optimization, as you won't be saving a huge amount of frames by switching between graphics quality
If you would like to see some of those performance differences you can check out our Death Stranding PC performance report and GPU benchmarks for a list of FPS results with different graphics cards. We also dive more into which graphics settings are the most demanding in our Death Stranding most important graphics options guide.