Dungeon Siege III Performance Analysis

Eurogamer's Digital Foundry has put to test the three different versions of Dungeon Siege III to discover which one performs best, exploring the differences between them and the technical quirks of Obsidian's proprietary Onyx Engine. While the PC version comes up on top, Eurogamer notes that the problems with the mouse & keyboard control setup may put off many. Here's a sampling of their analysis:
Dungeon Siege III isn't heavily dependent on the graphics card meaning that you should be able to enjoy 1080p resolution at max settings with a fairly consistent 60 frames per second on anything from an NVIDIA GTX260 or Radeon HD 5750 upwards. However, from a processing perspective, it appears that the Onyx engine can be CPU-bound, with performance definitely benefitting from ownership of a quad-core processor.

At like-for-like resolutions with the console games, Dungeon Siege III on PC offers up very little in the way of visual enhancements, with the differences mostly confined to some occasionally higher-resolution artwork and improved effects work. However, levelling out the frame-rate makes a night-and-day difference to the way the game looks and plays, and to the overall visual coherency of the game world in general. At 720p the artwork may be too all intents and purposes the same, but the world of Dungeon Siege III moves and flows that much more smoothly and realistically.

There's a very definite sense that the PC game is the "master" version of Dungeon Siege III. It does everything the console releases set out to do and just a little more besides. In comparison with the console versions, it's interesting to note that the mild technical compromises Obsidian made for the 360 and PS3 releases are completely absent in the PC game, which has the best of both worlds. Actual visual improvements to the game are somewhat few and far between, but they are there if you look for them. Anti-aliasing is selectable, with 2x, 4x and 8x MSAA as options, but perhaps because of the post-processing effects blitzing the effect after it has been applied, the overall effect is very similar to the console versions.

Of course, the ability to run in much higher resolutions than the standard console 720p is a welcome addition. During the NPC conversations, you do resolve more detail in the clothes and faces of the characters you're talking to, even though in some cases, close-up low-resolution textures can look a bit poor. There's also a great deal of intricate detail in some of the environmental artwork, clearly apparent at 720p, but far more so when more pixels are allocated to the make-up of the scene.