How to Make Video Games Look Gorgeous with ReShade

Reshade Guide Cover Image B

PC gaming is an expensive and complicated beast for the most part. But that’s a small price to pay for the sheer control you can exercise over your gaming experience. From significantly better graphical fidelity to a whole rabbit hole of modding and customizationm PC gaming gives you a degree of customizability over your video game experience that would be hard to even imagine on consoles. The capability to either tweak graphics settings or just add more powerful hardware for better visuals as well as framerates provides gamers with varying hardware specifications the complete flexibility to have a great gaming experience.

Spicing Up Visuals with Post-Processing

Some of these techniques involve injecting post-process effects such as image sharpening to run games at a lower resolution with resolution scaling while not sacrificing image quality. Gamers equipped with powerful systems can make games even better-looking by improving lighting and color correction while adding advanced graphics features such as ambient occlusion, depth of field, shadows, HDR, and advanced motion blur. All of these post-processing graphics features are implemented through a free, open-source tool called ReShade.

Customisable Presets for Every Game

The best part is that you don’t need to be a video game graphics guru or know what all the aforementioned graphics features are such as ambient occlusion and depth of field to improve the visuals of your favorite game. The popularity of ReShade in PC gaming ensures that every major game has plenty of modders belting out ReShade presets optimized to strike a fine balance between graphical fidelity and performance. In fact, plenty of ReShade presets are designed to improve upon the stock visuals and even correct some underlying mistakes.

All you have to do is preview these presets on modding websites and check the preview images to see which one works out for your unique tastes. This guide will walk you through the process of installing ReShade and setting it up to improve the visuals of Resident Evil 2 Remake.

Installing and Setting Up ReShade

1. Head to the official ReShade website and click on the download button in the center to download the latest version.

Reshade Guide 01

2. Before we can run the ReShade installer, it must be copied to the Resident Evil 2 installation directory. Since this game is available on Steam, fire up Valve’s digital game distribution service and click on the “Games” menu, followed by selecting the “View Games Library” option.

Reshade Guide 02

3. Find the game in your Steam library and right-click on it to bring up the context menu. Select the “Browse Local Files” option from the “Manage” menu.

Reshade Guide 03

This will open the game installation directory in a new Windows Explorer window. Move the Reshade installer downloaded earlier into this folder.

4. Select the entire installation path and copy it.

Reshade Guide 04

5. Run the ReShade installer you had copied into the game installation directory in step 3. This should execute the setup tool featuring a large button for selecting the game you’d like to install the ReShade tool for.

Reshade Guide 0a

Clicking on the button will show the “Open” dialogue box. Browse to the game installation path and select the game’s main executable file. It’s usually the one with the game’s icon, which happens to be “re2.exe” in this case. Click the “Open” button.

Reshade Guide 05

6. If you got the last step right, the ReShade setup should now prompt you to select the game’s rendering API. Since Resident Evil 2 can run on either DirectX 11 or 12, select the radio button denoting Direct3D 10/11/12.

Reshade Guide 06

7. Select “Yes” to download standard shader effects.

Reshade Guide 07

8. Make sure all effects files are selected.

Reshade Guide 08

9. Congratulations. ReShade has been successfully installed. However, we still need to download a ReShade preset for the tool to work its magic.

Reshade Guide 09

10. Nexus Mods is a great place to download ReShade presets for a number of games including Resident Evil 2. Browse to the Resident Evil mods section on the Nexus Mods website, and click the “Refine Search Results” drop-down menu to apply a filter that will only display ReShade presets.

Reshade Guide 10

11. My ReShade preset of choice is the sharp and vibrant RE Immersion 2.0 preset. Click on the “Manual Download” button to download the preset archive. Extract the archive and copy all files into the game installation directory.

Reshade Guide 11

12. Click on the “Edit ReShade settings” button and enable the “Performance Mode” option in the subsequent dialogue box.

Thereafter, click on the “…” button next to the Preset address bar, which should bring up a dialogue box to locate the ReShade preset we had copied into the game installation directory in the last step. Navigate to the game installation directory and select the “RE_IMMERSION_2.0.ini” file. Click the “Open” button.

Finally, click “OK” in the ReShade Settings dialogue box. You can now close the ReShade installer.

Reshade Guide 12

13. Run Resident Evil 2. Once the game is up and running, press the Home key to bring up the Reshade console. The “Home” tab should give a list of active effects. Make sure that “Performance Mode” is enabled by ticking the check box at the bottom.

You can also use this tab to enable additional effects such as Adaptive Sharpen, which works really well to mitigate the effects of dropping resolution by a notch or two in order to increase frame rate. There are other effects for HDR, depth of field, and various others related to lighting and shadows that can make significant improvement to the game’s visuals.

Reshade Guide 13

14. Switch to the “Settings” tab to set essential shortcut keys for toggling, reloading, and switching between presets, in addition to enabling other optional features such as the built-in screenshot tool with a nifty before/after comparison mode.

Reshade Guide 14

15. That’s all there is to using ReShade to spice up your games. If you did everything right, this particular preset for Resident Evil 2 should deliver a significant visual upgrade over the stock graphics.

Reshade Guide Ab

The same process also works for all games supported by ReShade. You can refer to this exhaustive game compatibility list, which does a terrific job of giving you a fair idea of how good your favorite game will play with this powerful graphical tool.

Nachiket Mhatre Nachiket Mhatre

Growing up, Nachiket had a penchant for disassembling household electronics and appliances; most of which couldn’t be reassembled successfully. His parents didn’t approve. These days, he leverages his lifelong pursuit of dissecting gadgets to write about technology. His parents still don’t approve.

Leave a Comment

Yeah! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Check out our comment policy here. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.