Watch Dogs 2 Video Card Performance Review Part 2

In Part 2 of our Watch Dogs 2 Video Card Performance Review we go in-depth on WD2 graphics settings and the performance impact of those. We will test the High Resolution Texture Pack, shadow techniques, Ambient Occlusion, the Extra Details slider, and all Anti-Aliasing modes. Real-world gameplay on the newest AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.

Introduction

On December 2nd we began our in-depth three-part look into the new game Watch Dogs 2 on the PC in terms of graphics. In our Watch Dogs 2 Video Card Performance Review Part 1 we evaluated the game among many current generation video cards. We compared performance between the video cards in apples-to-apples. We also found the highest playable settings on each video card and evaluated what it takes to play this new game at 4K, 1440p and 1080p. We also took a look at VRAM usage.

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This is Part 2 of a 3 part performance review. In today’s evaluation we are going to go in-depth on finding out how graphically intense the most prominent and unique graphic settings are in terms of performance. We are going to find out how PCSS and HFTS shadows perform. We are going to compare SSBC, HMSSAO, and HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion performance. We are going to look at all the AA modes supported, MSSA, TXAA, Temporal Filtering, and even SMAA. We are going to show you if there is any performance difference using the official High Resolution Texture Pack.

We will do these tests on both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. On top of all that we are going to show you a little GeForce GTX TITAN X Pascal love at 4K resolution and what it can provide for you in this Watch Dogs 2.

If you are not at all familiar with the graphics settings in this game you first need to read our Watch Dogs 2 Video Card Performance Review Part 1. You will also need to check out NVIDIA’s Graphics and Performance Guide. We are not going to repeat ourselves and go over all the added NVIDIA features in this article. We did so in Part 1, so please at least read the first two pages of that evaluation to understand what exactly the graphics settings do.

We are also going to make use of the High Resolution Texture Pack, so you need to read Part 1, page 2 to make yourself aware of that. In addition, we will be using the exact same drivers and test setup from Part 1.

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Do note, since Part 1 a new patch for the game has been released. The current game version is now 1.06. Besides stability fixes version 1.06 did not change anything graphically or performance related to our testing. However, all comparisons to follow in this Part 2 evaluation are all being run on the new patch version 1.06.


Our Goals

The format of this evaluation is simple, we are going to label each page as a graphics feature to evaluate performance. For the High Resolution Texture Pack page we are going to include the GeForce GTX TITAN X (Pascal), GeForce GTX 1080, GeForce GTX 1060, and AMD Radeon RX 480. We will report VRAM usage on a separate page.

Following that, for all of the AA testing we are going to use the GeForce GTX 1080 and AMD Radeon RX 480 at 1080p on both video cards. The reason for using 1080p on the GeForce GTX 1080 for AA testing is because at 1440p performance was severely too low with MSAA or TXAA to record a run-through. We had to use 1080p because it was easier on performance for those AA methods, which are incredibly graphically intense.

The rest of the graphics comparisons are done on the GeForce GTX 1080 at 1440p and the AMD Radeon RX 480 at 1080p. We will also show you what was playable on a GeForce GTX TITAN X Pascal at 4K since we did not do so in Part 1. The focus of all of this is to determine how graphically intense the settings are and figure out what settings can be sacrificed to save on performance.