Posted on November 11, 2011, Ben Richardson How to Improve MW3 Image Quality
After Tuesday’s marquee release of Modern Warfare 3, the honeymoon ended quickly. GameFront’s two reviewers (Xbox, PC) weren’t impressed, and disappointed gamers have been taking to Metacritic in droves to complain about the game, which they feel is only a marginal improvement on Modern Warfare 2. The General Manager of Sledgehammer Games even hopped on Twitter to ask people to stop giving the game low user reviews. That went about as badly as you’d expect.
Chief among the complaints is the fact that the game’s graphics look identical to previous incarnations of the title, stacking up poorly against the visual grandeur of Battlefield 3. The graphics look the same for a good reason: they are the same. Modern Warfare 3 uses the same engine as its predecessors, and only a few incidental inclusions like Screen Space Ambient Occlusion represent any kind of innovation.
To optimize MW3′s graphical performance, therefore, you should try the tricks that worked for Black Ops and MW2. Turning down anti-aliasing and shadow quality are likely to have the biggest impact on frame-rate. For some good screenshots that show MW3 graphics at different settings, check out the German site PCGames.de.
There is one crucial tweak unique to MW3: Image Quality. Generally, “Extra” is the highest setting for all the Call of Duty graphics sliders. If you’ve got a powerful machine, and you want to get the game looking its best, turn everything to Extra. Except Image quality! For some reason, with this setting on Extra, the MW3 PC version decides to go all console. It causes the game to output at a craptastic resolution –1024×600 — then scales the frames up to fit the resolution your monitor is running at. Console games do this to keep the framerate stable, but there’s no reason to do it a PC! Instead, set your Image Quality to “Native,” which will cause to game to output graphics that match your monitor’s resolution. It’s the difference between blurry visuals like this:
And sharp graphics like this. Hi, Captain Price!