This setting gives you the option of choosing between Fullscreen mode (actually Fullscreen Borderless) and Windowed mode. The former allows you to quickly task switch between the game and whatever else you're doing but still hinders your awareness of other tasks while the latter doesn't hinder your awareness at all but doesn't take up the full screen.
Contrary to some games, Windowed mode offers better performance than Fullscreen Borderless mode: 4% better, to be exact. If you don't mind the game not filling up your screen or just want to be able to see everything happening on your operating system anyway, Windowed mode offers a small but appreciable performance boost.
The quality at which the scene is rendered, corresponding to the number of pixels; higher resolutions mean more pixels, which means higher quality.
1920x1080 resolution is actually used here regardless what you choose, although significant image quality differences can be observed across the different options, indicating that automatic downsampling and upsampling are employed. The differences are much more noticeable between 1366x768 and 1600x900: note especially Riptor's skin, the sand, rocks, and walls. Going from 1600x900 to 1920x1080, you'll struggle to notice a change.
Moving down from one setting to another yields major performance benefits: a 12% improvement from 1920x1080 to 1600x900, and 9% from 1600x900 to 1366x768. This isn't really in line with the visual results, but it means you can safely drop down to 1600x900 resolution for a virtually free 12% performance boost.
This setting is always arduous to capture properly, and it's no different here, so screenshots are absent from this section. In game, it's fairly noticeable during fights and cutscenes when characters are moving rapidly.
Testing shows Motion Blur has a significant impact on performance; a 7% performance improvement is observed when disabling this setting. Given how non-essential it is and the fact many prefer it off, you should strongly consider disabling this setting.
This setting enables or disables real-time reflections and thus how realistic lighting behaves when reflecting off other objects.
Reflections are difficult to notice in Killer Instinct even in still screens, but even more in the middle of the action. In these images, they're only definitively observed on the ground around the fighters' feet, where the differences are extremely minor between the two settings.
The benchmark shows quite the opposite results: a significant contrast in performance between enabling and disabling this setting: 9% to be exact.
This setting determines how realistic and rich shadows are in-game.
As always, ambient occlusion (AO) offers a significant boost to visuals, adding depth in shadowed areas. In the screenshots, particularly note the area around Fulgore's feet, the foliage in the background, and the various rocks and statues throughout the scene. The impact is less pronounced in some stages, but on the whole, this is a key setting graphics-wise.
The benchmark shows a moderate 5% increase in performance when disabling AO. The game looks considerably better with it enabled, but at the same time, it's far from critical and that 5% could make the difference for a lot of players on lower-end machines. I recommend keeping it lower on the list of tweaks to make, but it's definitely one to keep in your back pocket.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Testing Setup, & System Requirements]
- Page 2 [Fullscreen, Resolution, Motion Blur, Reflections, & Ambient Occlusion]
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