Rockstar Games have released patch 1.06 for Red Dead Redemption 2 and now it appears they have silently downgraded the game's graphics by removing the ambient occlusion while some fans insist it was a minor change in the art style.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was praised for its well-crafted world along with graphics to compliment it but now it seems like the latter is taking a step back as a fan spotted some shifty graphics changes with the latest patch. As many people were quick to point it, the changes apparently have something to do with ambient occlusion or lack thereof.
The original has two pictures shown next to each other, with one showing the graphics from version 1.0 and the other one from version 1.06. You can immediately see the difference in the pictures but it might take a little more to determine whether the graphics were indeed downgraded.
Ambient occlusion in video games is a lighting effect that allows shadows to be projected based on model geometry which in turn allows a game to look sharp and realistic. A game's graphics do not need to be either sharp or realistic to look beautiful which could cause discussion over whether the change was an actual downgrade.
Still, you can see on the picture on the left that details of the bar's carvings are more noticeable as each carving brings its own shadows, just like the leg of the person leaning on the bar. The picture after doesn't feature any of these shadows, hinting that ambient occlusion is completely gone.
Removing the lighting is definitely a step back but Red Dead Redemption 2 is still one of the more beautiful games of the modern age, so it will inevitably spark discussions where two sides will argue whether the lack of ambient occlusion is an actual downgrade and whether the game looks uglier without it.