Shadow Of Mordor Looks Incredible On Maxed-Out PC Settings

Shadow of Mordoris already a pretty game, but adding the HD texture pack and playing it on “Ultra” settings really takes it to the next level. Digital Foundry recently did a comparison that shows how brightly the game shines on a maxed-out PC. Only thing is: getting there will cost you an arm and a leg.

The video comparison above might not do it full justice for some viewers, so keep in mind that this is a (compressed) YouTube video showing a small selection of individual scenes pulled from an expansive open-world game. So if the footage isn’t doing it for you, make sure to read the thorough explanation of what you’re seeing that Eurogamer’s Richard Leadbetter provided alongside the visuals.

I can speak from personal experience with Shadow of Mordor as well. I first played through the game on my PS4 for our review. Since then, I’ve spent some time with the PC version on my newly-minted (and very, very beefy) gaming rig. I can assure you: the difference is real, and playing the game on its highest possible settings is a special treat. I don’t have the level of technical expertise that Leadbetter does, but the main improvement I saw was in the clarity of all of the tiny details in Mordor’s world. Viewed up-close and on a small, individual scale, these improvements seem pretty granular. When they all add up to the final experience of just walking through Mordor’s open world, though, the extra boost in visual quality goes a long way. After sinking 25-30 hours into the PS4 version, stepping into the maxed out PC one felt like I’d just put on a new pair of glasses for the first time.

That said, there’s another concern that comes into play for Shadow of Mordor’s graphics comparison. Even the game’s base-level requirements to run well on a PC are pretty astounding: 40 gigabytes of space on your hard-drive, 4GB of RAM. Jumping to Ultra bumps the RAM requirement up to 6GB — at least, in Monolith’s official recommendations. The HD texture pack, meanwhile, adds another 3.7GB. I’m not much of a gearhead when it comes to PC gaming. But even I can tell that running this game in its maxed-out form requires a setup that’s approximately as powerful as a team of Autobots. In full force. With Optimus Prime alive and in good health. Maybe even riding a Dinobot, too.

Building a PC that can bring out Mordor’s full potential, visually speaking, is a much more expensive investment than just getting a PS4 or Xbox One. And as I noted in my original review, the game already looks gorgeous on the PS4. This raises an important question: Is spending a lot more money to get a machine capable of running this game on its maxed-out settings worth the degree of improvement it brings?

Every gamer has a unique set of values when it comes to prioritising their time and money, so there’s no right answer to this question. Plus, I’d already built my PC before getting Mordor, so I didn’t have to make that exact calculation either. But I also think it looks good enough on the PS4 and less powerful PCs that beefing up your gaming rig just for Mordor purposes strikes me as a tad…excessive. Unnecessary, even.

I don’t mean to dismiss the value of high-end PC gaming, of course. If you’re already the kind of person who likes to push PC gaming to the limits, then hey: more power to you. Console gamers can also feel safe in knowing that they’re not getting a product that’s inferior, however. Similar to Ryse, Mordor’s PC version does look better — as is to be predicted more often than not. But unlike previous console generations, the Xbox One and PS4 versions of these games are really starting to hold their own against the mighty PC gaming rig.

Read Digital Foundry’s breakdown of Shadow of Mordor’s graphics here. If you think your PC is up for it, download the game’s HD texture pack on Steam.


  • I’m of the same opinion as a mate of mine who downloaded this. Unless you’re running at a resolution higher than 1920×1080, there is NO discernible difference in using the HD texture pack. Anything higher than 1920×1080 you can really see it, but at standard HD, don’t waste your time.

  • Spending a small fortune on a gaming rig JUST for this game? Probably not worth it. But there are more benefits to it than just getting amazing graphics for just this one game. If you’re someone who plays a lot of games, spending a few grand on a gaming PC wouldn’t be so far fetched. Considering you can get the PC version of a game for half the price of the console version, in the long run you could be spending the same amount of money overall and getting better graphics and performance

  • But unlike previous console generations, the Xbox One and PS4 versions of these games are really starting to hold their own against the mighty PC gaming rig.

    o.O really. I’m not into the whole PC master race thing but it is what it is – PC’s, even current ones, have far more raw power than the PS4\Xbone. This gap will just widen further in the coming years. But much like the last console generation it will have little impact on the visual fidelity of games as they are designed first and foremost for the consoles then ported to the pc – usually with minimal changes other than fluffy effects and increased texture resolution, which is the case for shadows of mordor.

    It is true that we’re almost at the point where it’s not going to be hardware holding back visual fidelity rather the cost of creating it.

    • But they will run at 60fps on pc, which isn’t discernible on YouTube videos but makes a remarkable difference to the gameplay.

      The pc might constantly be getting screwed for things like texture and lighting quality by the porting, but it can still easily produce a better experience.

      But it has to be worth it for you, obviously. Consoles do offer great economy.

      • Actually, Youtube is starting to put in 60 FPS videos. The difference is much less than, say, playing the game but it is still there and noticeable in high-action scenes.

    • There’s also the consideration that PCs will be able to run with higher levels of anisotrophic filtering and anti-aliasing which improve the overall appearance of the game, and as mentioned, better frame rates.

      • usually with minimal changes other than fluffy effects and increased texture resolution

        AA and filtering I’d categorize as fluffy effects 😀 it takes very little to implement.

        I’m not arguing that PC’s are not the better experience, it is (best graphics, higher frame rate etc). I’m just saying that you wont get any massive difference between the PC version and the console version. Not because a PC can’t handle it – or that a console is much better than they were. It’s due to the game being designed for the console then ported to the PC.

        Yannick made the comment that the new consoles are so much better than the previous console generation in relation to the PC which is just flat out wrong. The consoles are much better than their previous generation – the PC is still miles in front (in terms of raw power). Actually the x360 and ps3 when they were released were pretty much state of the art in terms of hardware comparatively the ps4/xbone have the same specs as mid range pc’s from a couple of years ago.

  • wow suddenly we all need to have titans to run a game at max settings? WTF? really nividia? really this is what your doing now? just wow………. gameworks, scumworks….. im starting to smell a rat…

    • You can take your tinfoil hat off now. While not mass-production like Titans, AMD have made limited edition cards with 6GB VRAM before. 7970 Toxic, etc.

      I, for one, am glad to see someone release a game that actually does push modern PC hardware.

    • How long have you been gaming? Back in the 2000s you always needed a really powerful card to be able to max out settings.

      I think it’s good that they’re pushing the limits so hard now. can finally see some more benefit to getting that $600 video card.

    • This is exactly as it should be. ‘Max settings’ should be something unattainable, absurdly, ridiculously excessive in its requirements. Not just, “This is the highest quality we could make it, because a console can’t run it after this point.”

      Not only is it good for the eye candy aspect, but hardware gets cheaper every quarter, and that kind of standard-setting future-proofs the game for later generations.

  • this actually scales well graphically on normal PCs. Don’t let all this 6gb garbage fool you. I am running ultra on 3gig 7970’s.
    The game on high will work on a normal 2gig card at 60fps on high leaving the PS4 slightly behind.
    More importantly despite the gaming looking great on a normal PC it is actually a really good game as a whole. Well worth playing.

  • Omg, console graphic defense team bullshit. The game was made for consoles and then ported to PC, hence, because of this process, the game won’t look or perform much better on PC then it does on console. That has entirely to do with the fact that when porting to PC game developers target low performance standards on PC. This means, to go above those standards you need to have VERY powerful PC hardware to overpower the poor optimization of the port to make it look better. With the last gen consoles, the difference between PC and console was VERY clear due to consoles being unable to render HD textures. Now that they can (thanks to the ram upgrade they got) the differences are smaller when it comes to graphically differences between ports. HOWEVER If you compare what Shadow of Mordor looks like to other games that are much better optimized or made specifically for PC you will notice a substantial difference in quality. It’s not that PC graphics don’t look much better, or that consoles are more powerful, it’s that the developers spent a lot more time making the console version look good, and didn’t spend as much time making the PC look good. We will see this a lot more with this generation of games.

    • Id like to think that monolith are trying to cater to all audiences. My r9 260 works really well with this on high. My TV which is hooked up to my pc for display(what else can I use it for) is able to run it smoothly on high at 1080 and maintain 60fps, though I feel my CPU is dragging it down to to somewhat unusual brief drops in framerate. 60Hz it the max refresh my TV is capable of so I set v sync and I’m content with a still beautiful game, although the pc controls suck, so I rigged my dualshock 4 and now I can nearly comfortably game from my bed: I just need to buy a Bluetooth receiver for my pc and I’m set

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!