IntroductionNVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) support isn't unusual for the Call of Duty franchise as it made an appearance in both Modern Warfare and Black Ops Cold War, too. With the release of Vanguard, AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) is now also available as the second upscaling solution. During open beta back in September, many players complained that the game's "standard" anti-aliasing solution (SMAA T2X) causes excessive blurriness and shimmering, but with the addition of DLSS and FSR, players now have a wider range of options at their disposal to improve both image quality and performance. Depending on the game, there are always subtle differences in the implementation of NVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), so we are keen to have a look at both in this game.
Below, you will find comparison screenshots at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p and in different DLSS/FSR quality modes. For those who want to see how DLSS and FSR perform in motion, watch our side-by-side comparison video.
All tests were made using a GeForce RTX 3080 GPU at Ultra graphics settings; motion blur and depth of field were disabled. DLSS in this game shipped with version 2.3.1.
Side by Side Comparison Video
ConclusionIn Call of Duty: Vanguard, the DLSS and FSR implementations use sharpening filters in their render paths. As per usual, you can't control the level of sharpening for FSR, but as soon as you enable DLSS, a sharpening slider becomes available in the settings menu. Use it to set the value (from 0 to 100) that suits your personal preferences. This sharpening slider was introduced with DLSS 2.2, but only since DLSS 2.3 have more developers been adding it to their DLSS implementations, which are thus in our opinion more "player friendly" than the FSR implementations. We wouldn't be surprised if such an adjustable sharpening feature will be added to FSR in the future—hopefully. By default, the game sets the DLSS sharpening value to 50, so we kept that setting for our testing.
With DLSS enabled, you can expect more detail and less blur than with SMAA T2X, as well as greatly increased performance across all resolutions in DLSS Quality mode. Speaking of FSR, the image quality with it enabled is pretty good even without the ability to tweak the sharpening level, and unlike some other FSR implementations, it's not heavily oversharpened at lower resolutions.
Most gamers consider FSR for old GPUs (GTX 900/1000 and RX 400/500 series) at 1080p resolution, and many previous FSR implementations weren't that good at low resolutions, resulting in a noticeable loss to image quality in favor of performance. That said, the FSR implementation in Call of Duty: Vanguard is different. It is actually a good implementation with well-balanced sharpening in the FSR render path—it doesn't look oversharpened, and with such a fast-paced game, the difference in image quality isn't easily spotted while actually playing the game.