With maximal details Starcraft 2 looks anything but bad. PC Games Hardware compares the different graphics options that are available in the Beta.
Even if the graphics of Starcraft 2 are rather of a practical purpose, some parts of the game nevertheless look really nice. And from a technical point of view the engine used is actually convincing - although the Beta isn't feeling as if it would provide a very good performance at the moment. To check the performance we are currently running some benchmarks of Starcraft 2 the results of which will be published in a separate article soon.
Besides the resolution the Starcraft 2 Beta offers diverse video options - anti-aliasing is not included though. But it is possible to force Multisampling and Supersampling via the driver of Radeon or Geforce graphics cards. It is interesting that according to Blizzard the highest texture quality requires a graphics card with 1 GiByte video memory. Tools like GPU-Z confirm this, too. The realization of the real-time shadows is well made, but the shadows have a tendency to flicker. On the lowest settings the shadows don't vanish completely since the Shaders always apply some.
The Shaders are the most important option for the Starcraft 2 Beta anyway: Besides the shadows they are also responsible for organic and vividly structures - especially the Zerg benefit from that and look all slimy and pulsating. Due to HDR and Ambient Occlusion the lighting is very atmospheric and the latter one also aids the comic-like look of Starcraft 2. If the framerate drops too far in bigger battles, it is recommendable to lower the effect quality in order to lower the amount of particles.
Below we compare the highest and lowest settings of some of the video options offered by the Starcraft 2 Beta.