Bioshock Infinite is brilliant. In fact, if you've yet to grab the latest masterpiece to fly from the brain of Ken Levine and onto our monitors, go read our Bioshock Infinite review that will tell you just how marvellous it is, before rushing off to your game shop of choice to buy a copy. Of course, if you've recently bought an AMD graphics card, the chances are you're sat on a copy already, courtesy of its Never Settle game bundle.
Click to enlarge - Using Unreal Engine 3, Bioshock Infinite looks fantastic, with plenty of PC-specific detail improvements
However, aside from being an early contender for game of the year, Bioshock Infinite is also a great looking and surprisingly tough to run game, at least on its maxed out settings. Despite running on the Unreal Engine 3 - so popular with this generation's console developers - Bioshock Infinite boasts support for anti-aliasing, depth of field, dynamic shadows high resolution textures and DirectX 11 post-processing effects. The result is a fantastic looking and demanding title based on one of the most popular game engines around; ideal benchmark territory.
Happily, those lovely chaps at 2K and Irrational Games have even seen fit to bundle a benchmark into the game as well, running a quick time demo of two demanding sections right at the start of the game. First though, lets have a glance at the visuals on offer.
Click to enlarge - Bioshock's Ultra, High, Medium and Very Low detail presets allow it to scale to almost any hardware
Bioshock Infinite Detail Comparison
Bioshock Infinite's Ultra detail setting demonstrates the game at its best, with smoothed and detailed dynamic shadows, anti-aliasing, high resolution textures and the full array of lighting options, from light shafts to ambient occlusion. Dropping the detail down, results in small but tangible drops in all settings, but at its high pre-set the game still looks very good. Anti-aliasing is still enabled, leading us to believe it's likely an FXAA post-process injector rather than true anti-aliasing, but shadows are cruder. Unlike Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite's art-style isn't hurt too much by reduced details and even at the medium preset the game looks very good, with light shafts and anti-aliasing still enabled. it's not until the low and very low presets that things really drop off alarmingly though, as AA, dynamic shadows, post-processing and light shafts are all disabled.
Click to enlarge - Other than the application of anti-aliasing Elizabeth looks much the same at Ultra (left) and Very low (right) detail
While the world around the player decreases in detail, we found that critical characters such as Elizabeth retain a high model and texture detail even at the game's lowest settings. Compare the two shots below and beyond the impact of anti-aliasing smoothing edges, she's otherwise the same.
Click to enlarge - World textures are very much effected by dropping detail settings however, as these ugly surfboards demonstrate
However, world textures and detail do differ dramatically. Compare the ultra-detail screen shot of surfboards on the left to the low-detail and you'll immediately appreciate that extra detail setting. However, it's clear then that this is no lazy console-port, but a game which carries plenty of extra PC finery.