Anno 1800, or Anno 7 if you're keeping count, is one very good looking strategy game. So good looking it can make the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB break into quite a sweat. As ever though, performance comes down to the graphics settings you're happy with.
Here we take a look at Anno 1800's Low and Ultra graphics presets in order to determine how good and how bad you can get Anno 1800 looking in order to reach the perfect balance between visual quality and performance.
I'll get my apologies out of the way first - sorry that some of these images are slightly out of line. Unbelievably, Anno 1800 doesn't feature a manual save function, at least in the Closed Beta. It autosaves every five minutes which, combined with requiring restarts for graphical changes, means getting the exact same image twice is a tricky process. Hopefully, you find them similar enough to get the idea though.
Anno 1800 Low v Ultra Graphics Comparison
Onto the first pair of images then, and this is designed to highlight the draw distance, level of detail and flora density. On Low, you'll notice there are far fewer trees than on Ultra. These missing trees actually fade in as you pan and zoom and it can be quite a jarring effect. These trees have to appear though because you need to know their numbers for efficient placement of logging camps.
On Low, you do at least get some shadows rendered from trees and buildings though, which is nice and prevents Anno 1800 looking too static.
I'm not quite sure what's happened to my supply dock on the beach but on Low, it's disappeared completely. Rest assured it should be there but it appears it's fallen just outside of culling distance or the maximum number of objects.
(slide your cursor over the images to compare)
The water in Anno 1800 looks fantastic on Ultra so it was a surprise to see it look almost every bit as good on Low. It's probably not a very demanding visual feature either as sky-high frame rates can be achieved when playing Anno 1800 at Low.
The only other major differences to note are the texture quality of the beach, and the mysterious case of the disappearing barrels on Low.
Just to show you how massive the impact is of object quality, terrain quality, view distance, and shadow quality, we have the pair of images below. Zoom in on Ultra and Anno 1800 really does look fantastic. It could almost hold its own as a third-person RPG if you could do fully-3D adventuring. A lot of this visual detail is lost on Low, unfortunately, although it doesn't have any direct bearing on the gameplay.
Level of detail and texture quality are the focus of this next graphics comparison slider. Textures can look a bit muddy on the buildings in Anno 1800 when played on Low, although in truth it's something you'll barely notice when you're zoomed out.
And lastly, we have one final look at Anno 1800, this time from a top-down perspective that highlights pretty much of all the visual changes between Low and Ultra. Aliasing and fade-in can become a real problem on Low so if you can crank up the antialiasing and LOD settings then you will benefit from a much better looking game.