Just Cause 2 Gameplay Performance and Image Quality

Just Cause 2 is here for your acrobatic action hero fix, bringing with it plenty of mind-bending stunts, frantic gun-play, and airborne high-speed chases. We'll examine this new game's performance with four of today's most sought-after video cards and let you know which one is the best match for your upgrade needs. Fermi vs. 5800!

continued...

Image Quality

Of chief interest in Just Cause 2 regarding image quality are the two NVIDIA-exclusive features: Bokeh filtering and GPU Water Simulation. Both options create a persistent and noticeable difference, but GPU Water is definitely more readily noticeable than Bokeh filtering. Just Cause 2 is played entirely on a set of small islands in Southeast Asia, so water and coastline play a big part of image quality in this game.

GPU Water Simulation

The GPU Water Simulation feature uses a CUDA program to deform the surface of the water in a way which looks like the natural rolling of waves. The three following screenshot comparisons show this deformation.

Article Image

On the left hand side of the above picture, GPU Water Simulation is enabled, and you can see that the surface of the water looks choppy. Also, the water directly surrounding the player is tilted, as if a wave is incoming from the side. On the right side, GPU Water Simulation is disabled, and the water looks as smooth and level as glass.

Article Image

In this comparison, pay close attention to the line created by the intersection of the boat’s hull and the water. On the top half, GPU Water Simulation is enabled, and the surface of the water is uneven with peaks and valleys. On the bottom half, the surface of the water is again smooth, because GPU Water Simulation is disabled.

Article Image

In this comparison, we see both clear shallow water and deep blue water. On the left, the water very clearly appears to have varying depth. As the depth of the water increases, the darkness or murkiness increases. On the left side, that depth coloring is patchy, since the water is deformed and the depth is not consistent. Also on the left side, the waves crashing into the sandy beach create an uneven clipping plane. Further into the distance, we can see that the surface of the water appears rough.

But on the right side, the transition between shallow and deep water is much more smooth, since the height of the surface of the water is constant. In the area in which the water hits the shore, the clipping plane is flat and smooth. Finally, the in the distance on the right side of this image comparison appears very glassy and flat compared to the left side.

Bokeh Filtering

Bokeh filtering is a depth-of-field technique which enhances the contrast of sharpness between the focused area and the surrounding areas of the frame. Sometimes, it is very noticeable, and sometimes it seems to do almost nothing at all. The following two screenshot comparison illustrate this.

Article Image

In this screenshot comparison, we can see that a significant amount of distant detail is lost on the left hand side of the screen, whereas it is more clearly visible on the right side. Additionally, contrast on near objects, such as the player’s arm, is enhanced.

Article Image

In this screenshot comparison, there are differences, but they are very minor. On the top half, the trees on the distant hill are slightly less detailed, and the contrast on the grass on the near hill on the left hand side of the frame is enhanced. On the bottom half, of the frame, contrast on the grass is less pronounced, and if you zoom in on the trees, you will see slightly clearer details.


Random Screenshots of Interest

The following screenshots were taken using a GeForce GTX 480 at 1920x1200 with 4X AA and maximum in-game settings. They have been JPEG compressed to save space.

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image