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Face-Off: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Eidos Montreal delivers its most beautiful and technically accomplished game to date. As with previous titles produced by the studio, the development team has opted to work with a new rendering engine once more, this time dubbed the Dawn Engine. Based on Io Interactive’s Glacer 2 technology platform, the Dawn Engine enables artists to bring their vision of the Deus Ex universe to life with a remarkable level of detail. We’ve spent the last week playing the game on all three platforms in order to better understand how it stacks up on each and the results are certainly interesting.

Let’s start with the basics first – Mankind Divided operates at a full 1080p on PlayStation 4 and 900p on Xbox One. Both versions make use of a temporal anti-aliasing solution, paired with a sharpening filter in an attempt to eliminate blur resulting from the temporal component. Texture filtering is also limited to 4x on both machines, providing adequate but not necessarily optimal results. Image quality is reasonably clean on both machines, though ultimately hampered by the overly aggressive sharpening filter.

The PC version includes the expected support for arbitrary resolutions along with the ability to dial in image quality to your liking with temporal anti-aliasing, multi-sampling and the option to disable sharpening. The game is highly configurable but we found it to be fairly demanding overall – if you’re looking for a 4K experience, you’re going to need a top-end GPU. Testing the game on the Titan X Pascal, we were unable to reach a completely stable 60fps. Lowering many of the settings resulted in minimal performance gains here suggesting that a 30fps cap will be necessary for most users wanting to reach this resolution – even GTX 1080 owners.

In addition, while both exclusive and borderless window are available, we also encountered a bug with the full-screen mode on our 4K television – something we’ve seen reported on the Steam forums as well. As the game lacks a resolution slider, we settled for 1080p on a GTX 970-powered system in order to reach the desired 60fps. When using exclusive full-screen mode in combination with 1080p output on a 4K television, black bars are drawn along the left and right of the image while the aspect ratio becomes slightly narrower. It’s an unfortunate issue that forced us to use borderless window mode – a setting that incurs a slight performance hit in this case.