Enables or disables Screen Space Ambient Occlusion, which in turn determines how realistic and rich shadows are in-game.
The screens show that as usual, SSAO adds a very appreciable amount of depth and realism to shadows in nearly every aspect of the scene, from the floorboards to the ceiling fan to the crates and more.
Testing results are typical for SSAO, showing a moderate 8 FPS increase to maximum framerate and 2 FPS average framerate when disabling this setting. It's not critical graphics-wise, so it's a good candidate for tweaking, but it should be a near last resort given the very welcome depth it adds.
Controls the amount of shadows and their depth in a given scene.
There is no known difference between Low and Medium, but High adds many additional shadows throughout the scene: observe the metal structures at the top and bottom of the screens that are holding the wooden beams in place, the wall next to the beams, the wooden board along the left wall, and Agent 47's left ear especially. The difference between High and Ultra, meanwhile, is slightly more crisp shadows.
The benchmark reveals this setting has no definitive impact on maximum framerate except when shifting to Low, where it jumps about 15 FPS. As for average framerate, that increases slightly as the setting is increased; minimum framerate, as usual, is unaffected.
The graphical improvement from Low to High is appreciable but certainly not major, whereas the performance difference is major. As such, Shadow Maps is an excellent candidate for tweaking: set it to Low for a nice boost if you need it.
Controls the rendering resolution and, therefore, quality of shadows: the higher the setting, the sharper shadows appear. In practice, the differences are very subtle between the different levels, and only really noticeable on select areas, mainly the floorboards in this scene.
The benchmark shows no definitive effect on maximum framerate with this setting and only the most minor of improvements to average framerate. Most should be fine to keep this at high, but moving to Low may offer that little extra needed for performance-starved systems, at little expense to graphics quality.
Hitman offers many interesting graphics options, a lot of which scale well across different systems visually and performance-wise.
The key options to look at if you want to squeeze out extra performance are Display Mode (most should set this to Exclusive Fullscreen), Level of Detail, Anti-Aliasing, SSAO, and Shadow Maps. And if you've got a high-end rig with headroom to spare, be sure to check out Supersampling and Resolution sections for an idea of what giving your GPU some heavy lifting duties can do for the game visually.
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