A contentious option, Bloom is that ethereal shader effect you typically either love or despise.
In Killer Instinct, the implementation of Bloom makes certain elements of certain scenes pop a little (namely the lava in the screenshot here). It's subtle enough that if it were disabled without your knowledge, you'd be very unlikely to catch it, but when comparing directly, the difference is appreciable, even for those that normally hate the effect.
Testing reveals Bloom has an extremely mild 1-2% performance impact. Between that and the welcome visual boost, I recommend most leave this setting enabled. However, if you need every bit of performance you can get, by all means disable it, as there's no major hit to graphics.
This ever important option controls the appearance of jagged edges (jaggies) seen on various surfaces throughout the game.
The screenshots show enabling anti-aliasing helps visuals greatly, reducing the moderately distracting jaggies by a large amount. While the coverage isn't completely precise (Fulgore's mask in particular still suffers), it's almost there. Note especially the bars and pipes and Fulgore's upper body. And what's great to see is there's virtually no blur introduced when this setting is enabled.
The benchmark shows anti-aliasing has a moderate 5% performance impact, which should be well worth it for most.
This option alters the coverage and resolution of shadows.
As you can see, Shadow Quality is one of the more high impact settings, increasing the depth and quality of both the background and foreground elements during fights. The key ones to focus on are the hill, the shrine, and the right Fulgore's legs as well as the ground beneath him.
Testing reveals Shadow Quality has a mere 1% performance impact. Unless you're absolutely starving for performance, keep it enabled for what's one of the biggest boosts to visuals among all settings.
The only setting that can't be changed in-game, this one alters the fidelity of textures.
The screenshots reveal a major graphics impact when lowering this setting, most noticeable on ground textures and some parts of Aganos, which become very muddy and unpleasant to look at.
Testing shows Texture Quality has no notable impact on performance with an R9 290X, but that's because Texture Quality is dependent on VRAM, and the 290X has plenty to spare. If you have a GPU with about 1GB of VRAM, lowering this setting will yield you much better performance.
Killer Instinct offers a very respectable list of graphics options, which, as our benchmarks show, will do well to help those on lower-end machines play the game smoothly. If you're on something high-end, you can enjoy the superb visuals with butter smooth performance, and possibly unlimited framerate before too long.
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