Do you want to play you favorite game from 10 or even 15 years ago but having second thoughts because the graphics might bore you? You have come to right place, because in this article we will show you how to make old games look better.
Remasters and remakes are making trends in PC gaming, games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Neverwinter Nights, Dark Souls, and Resident Evil 2, are just some of the games that were successfully remastered. Remastered versions gives the players the opportunity to experience the game once more with the latest game engine and with so much better graphics. But not every game receives this treatment, and sadly you might be able to play your favorite game with better graphics. Luckily, there were tools available that lets you modify and enhance the graphics of the game of your choice, and they are FREE.
The tools we will be using are nVidia Profile Inspector and ReShade, and the game we will enhance is Dungeon Siege 2.
Dungeon Siege 2
Dungeon Siege 2, released August 2005, is a Role-Playing Game developed by Gas Powered Games and received favorable reviews from editors and player. Personally, I liked this game as I liked Neverwinter Nights from 2003. You control a squad with different skills and personality, each can be very useful in different scenarios. Here it is what it looked like in its maximum graphics settings.
It looks “OK” considering it’s a game from 2005, but will look trash if you compared it to the modern RPGs today like The Witcher 3 or Divinity: Original Sin II. Its graphical settings only consists of Resolution, Shadows, Texture Filtering (without Anisotropic Filtering option), Gamma Correction, Object Detail, and Shaders.
NVIDIA Profile Inspector
NVIDIA Profile Inspector is a tool where you can modify or enhance graphics of a specific game on a driver level. It’s like an expanded and more detailed version of NVIDIA Control Panel. We will use this to add Ambient Occlusion and enhance the textures of the game. You can also use this to add Anti-Aliasing and framerate stabilization, but we will not use it for Dungeon Siege 2. Another reason we decided to use NVIDIA Inspector over NVIDIA Control Panel is because Ambient Occlusion for Dungeon Siege 2 is not supported in NVIDIA Control Panel.
You can download NVIDIA Inspector here.
Extract the zip file and run “nvidiaProfileInspector.exe”.
Follow these steps on how to enhance the graphics of Dungeon Siege 2 through NVIDIA Profile Inspector.
- Select Dungeon Siege 2 from the drop-down menu in Profiles section.
- In Ambient Occlusion compatibility option select “Hawken”.
- Select “User-defined/Off” for Anisotropic filtering mode, 16x for Anisotropic filtering setting, +1.0 for Texture Filtering – LOD Bias (DX), and High quality for Texture filtering – Quality.
- Look for Ambient Occlusion setting and set it to High Quality and Enabled for Ambient Occlusion usage.
- Lastly, look for NVIDIA Quality Upscaling and set it to ON, then click Apply Changes.
Here’s what it looked like after applying the changes we made.
The changes we made are seen immediately – the Ambient Occlusion on grasses and in objects’ corners, and textures are sharper. But these improvements are not enough to make the game look better. Now we use ReShade for other enhancements thatwe need.
ReShade is a post-processing injector that allows you to add visual enhancements like ambient occlusion, anti-aliasing, HDR, depth of field, and many others. For Dungeon Siege 2, we will add anti-aliasing specifically SMAA, HDR, LumaSharpen, and Vibrance.
You can download ReShade here.
Follow these steps to install ReShade.
- Double-click the ReShade Installer, then select the executable file of the selected game.
- Select the rendering API of the game. For Dungeon Siege 2, select Direct3D9.
- Download the collection of standard effects. Click Yes.
- After downloading, a window will appear where you can select the effects you want to install. For Dungeon Siege 2, we will only use SMAA, HDR, LumaSharpen, and Vibrance. But if you want to try the other effects, you can select all.
- Now run the game, turn off NumLock then press 7 to open the ReShade menu. Follow the tutorial.
The following are the settings we used for Dungeon Siege 2.
You can also try other effects. Remember that other effects also affect the performance, so if you have a midrange or low-end system, you may want to minimize the effects you want to add.
Here’s what Dungeon Siege 2 look like after ReShade.
The most noticeable enhancement is the color. The color is now more vibrant and lively, and it matches the genre of the game. This is the effect of HDR and Vibrance. The other improvements are smoother objects provided by SMAA and a little better texture provided by LumaSharpen.
Now we combine the NVIDIA Inspector and ReShade.
The results are astounding! The game looks a lot better and has the visuals of a modern game – ambient occlusion, high resolution textures, anti-aliasing, and HDR. Now you have your own remastered version of Dungeon Siege 2. You let someone that doesn’t know the game play this will not believe that this game is from 2005.
You want your favorite old games to look better? Tell us through the comments section.