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PC Report: Fallout 4


LDK
  • PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor LDK. For an up to date account of Fallout 4 fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

     

    The Fallout 4 is the next title in a series of a very popular post-apocalyptic RPG's developed by Bethesda Game Studios. The game key was generously provided by Gamesplanet. We are going to look at the technical quality of the PC version of the game.

    https://community.pcgamingwiki.com/uploads/

System Requirements

Minimum

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2300 2.8 GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • HDD: 30 GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti or AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB of VRAM
  • OS: Windows 7, 64bit

Recommended

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 3.6 GHz or AMD FX-9590 4.7 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 or AMD Radeon R9 290X, 3GB (Nvidia), 4GB (AMD) of VRAM

The system requirements for Fallout 4 are a little bit on the demanding side. A quad core CPU is a must and the GPUs are from the older mainstream range. Recommended specs are even more demanding with high-end CPUs and GPUs.

 

All the tests were done on a system with a Core i7-2700k clocked to 4.6GHz, 32 GB RAM and AMD R9 390 with 8GB of VRAM, Catalyst 15.11 Beta graphics drivers and version 1.1.30.0.0 of the game. Testing was done at 1920x1200, and because there is no built-in benchmarking tool, a test run consisted of one minute of playing the game in one of the larger cities and included a short fight with a pack of ghouls. This resulted in very consistent frame rate measurements so only two measurements were averaged for each effect.

 

Graphics settings

menu options

 

Most of the graphics settings have to be set in the launcher. This is rather inconvenient because there are very few graphical options directly in the game. Other that that the launcher offers a fairly standard arsenal of graphical settings and a few presets. The game has also auto detection system that sets options during the first launch of the game. A nice addition are the Windowed and Windowed borderless toggles.

 

Field of View and wide screen setups

Field of view is locked in low 80's by default and there is no direct option to change it from the game. Players have to edit configuration files to set a comfortable field of view.

 

Same applies for ultra-wide and surround resolutions as these are not directly supported. Again, configuration files needs to be edited and even that can hide some of the GUI elements, thus rendering the game unplayable.

 

For easy configuration file editing and tweaking a special configuration utility can be used.

 

[compimg]http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/uploads/gallery/album_81/gallery_13_81_63759.jpg|http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/uploads/gallery/album_81/gallery_13_81_58722.jpg|864|540|Default FoV|Custom FoV of 110[/compimg]

 

Overall performance and image quality

Fallout 4 offers four image quality presets - Low, Medium, High and Ultra. There is only a 3% difference in performance between Low and Medium. High preset has a more significant performance drop of 33% and Ultra costs almost 40% of Low's framerate.

 

The framerate is limited to 60 FPS by default, unlocking it via editing .ini files will unfortunately cause problems, as the game logic and physics are tied to the framerate. I've experienced severe framerate drops in major cities where the game's framerate seemingly randomly falls from 100+ FPS to sub 30 FPS.

 

The game also loads very slowly on mechanical hard-drives. The loading times were around 30-40 seconds, after moving the game on SSD loading times dropped significantly to only few seconds.

 

During my testing I've found only one effect (Shadow Distance) to have significant performance impact on the game. Even the dreaded over-tessellated god-rays effect led only to a 4% drop in FPS. The rest of the effects have negligible or non-existent performance cost so I'm not going to include all the graphs here. Feel free to browse through the measurements though.

 

graph   presets

 

Visual quality on the Low preset is nothing special, shadows are visibly low resolution and cut not far from camera, vegetation is shown only very close to the player and textures are not very sharp. Medium preset improves shadow resolution and cutoff distance of vegetation. High preset further improves vegetation cutoff distance and increases cutoff for shadows and the scene seems to be less flat. Ultra preset further increases render distance. Overall the game doesn't look particularly impressive visually and the renamed Gamebryo engine very clearly shows its age. Full resolution screenshots: Low, Medium, High, Ultra.

 

[compimg]http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/uploads/gallery/album_81/gallery_13_81_185184.jpg|http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/uploads/gallery/album_81/gallery_13_81_250146.jpg|864|540|Preset Low|Preset Ultra[/compimg]

 

Texture Quality

Texture quality controls the texture resolution and can be set in three steps - Medium, High and Ultra. Visual difference between High and Ultra is very small and performance impact wasn't clearly measurable. The textures are not very sharp to begin with so there is definitely room for improvement. Full resolution screenshots: Medium, High, Ultra.

 

[compimg]http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/uploads/gallery/album_81/gallery_13_81_19291.jpg|http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/uploads/gallery/album_81/gallery_13_81_225899.jpg|864|540|Preset Low|Preset Ultra[/compimg]

 

Shadow Distance

Shadow Distance setting controls cutoff distance of the shadows and is the most demanding effect in the game. High setting causes almost 30% framerate drop, Ultra costs another 2% on top of that. Full resolution screenshots: Medium, High, Ultra.

 

[compimg]http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/uploads/gallery/album_81/gallery_13_81_58376.jpg|http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/uploads/gallery/album_81/gallery_13_81_3546.jpg|864|540|Preset Low|Preset Ultra[/compimg]

 

graphs   shadow distance

Anti-aliasing

The game offers only two anti-aliasing methods and these are only post process filters FXAA and TXAA. Both have major visual impact and horribly blurs the whole scene, vegetation lose its definition, broken lines are kept broken, textures are slightly blurred as well. At least these effects has only 3% performance impact. Full resolution screenshots: No AA, FXAA, TXAA.

 

AA comparisons

Controls

The game doesn't offer very large controls options. Mouse sensitivity can be set and the keys can be remapped but there are major problems with controls in Fallout 4. First of all there are multiple actions on one key that doesn't make sense and will cause trouble. Melee attack shares button with a Throw grenade function for example. There is also a system of favorites weapons and items, but slots are locked to the number keys and cannot be remapped. Scroll wheel also cannot be remapped (to navigating favorites for example) and controls camera distance which I find fairly useless.

 

There is a mouse acceleration turned on by default and can be turned off only by editing an .ini files.

 

Pip-Boy and GUI navigation is nothing short of a disaster. I was expecting it to be bad as horrible controls are Bethesda's trademark but this is a whole new level of awful. Nothing is consistent after more that 20 hours of playing I still have to think really hard about what key is doing what in the menus. For example, exiting or going back a menu is sometimes Tab, sometimes it's E and sometimes it is Esc. Worst is the settlement building option which suddenly has you using the arrow keys and the game doesn't even hint that Shift+WSAD can be also used. Alternative GUI mod cannot arrive soon enough.

 

On top of that tutorial is almost non-existent and fairly important game mechanics are never explained like VATS or how to assign settlers to jobs.

 

Audio

Fallout 4 offers fairly standard audio options with many volume sliders. The game supports surround sound setups up to 7.1 and audio sound fairly good with one exception though. Voices have very low volume outside of cutscenes and very often are inaudible when speaking character is more than few meters away.

 

Conclusion

Fallout 4 suffers from heavy consolitidis. The underlying game is fun and the world is rich but visually the game looks unimpressive and old, almost like modded Fallout 3. Performance is not terrible overall but there are framerate drops suggesting optimization issues, almost none of the graphics settings has any meaningful performance impact on the game.

 

Keyboard and mouse controls are awful and should be redesigned from the ground up. Many of core PC features like FoV, widescreen support or unlocked framerate are absent and has to be edited in via configuration files. Another six month of polishing would greatly benefited the game, but obviously Bethesda is counting on modders to fix the game for free and that is not a good sign.

 

PC Reports are a series of quick first impressions regarding the technical aspects of a PC game. This report was written by PCGamingWiki contributor LDK. For an up to date account of Fallout 4 fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

 

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed our article and want to us create more articles, more often, please consider donating to

PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign:

 

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Ouch. That's a hard conclusion.

I agree it's not the most PC-friendly game, but the controls are quite OK. You can scroll through the PipBoy with WASD, and the keyboard mapping in general is pretty logical. (I am pressing V all the time to get into V.A.T.S. though, hehe.) The only really hateful thing is the dialogue wheel, but you know, you'll get used to it as you did with Mass Effect.

 

Major thing though: When the game indicates Enter, you can also push E. Having to reach for Enter all the time is annoying, and Bethesda should've known that.

And about the graphics... yeah they're not state-of-the-art, but the game world is nonetheless beautiful. Saying that the game looks like a modded Fallout 3 goes a bit far, imho. What I find the most jarring is that they didn't include proper AA options. TXAA is just way too blurry, so I turn it off and use SMAA through ReShade. Which doesn't help that much, but you know, jaggies > blur.

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Good report, only two things that I found wrong with it though: the game uses TAA not nVidia's TXAA and the game is capped to the monitor's refresh rate instead of just 60FPS (In my case it was capped to 144Hz).

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Heh I knew the fanboys were wrong. Good one LDK.

That seems kinda mean to the playerbase, and the game doesn't look that bad to me, it's miles ahead of what Fallout 3 had, I expected the report to be setup a bit differently. I was kinda hoping the graphical settings would be covered but oh well.

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Nice report.

Figured about the bad ui controls, though never saw anyone mention it tell now.. Ill wait for some mods.

 

Some minor things though:

TXAA is an nvidia exclusive technology. It 100% doesn't function on AMD cards. As such it's very rarely seen.

Plus it's rather garbage, and is complex enough to require nvidia's aid to implement, so extremely few games have it, and hopefully next to none in the future.

Why: It's a render based AA technique, which would be awesome since so few triple A games these days include one.. But it's essentially MSAA + Temporal (post processing) AA. In the end you get the worst of both words:

Similar or heavier performance hit then MSAA. (Huge reason it's often ignored on console centric games like this)

Similar or worse blurring then TAA

So it's like full motion vaseline on the screen like you get with low quality FXAA/TAA, but with added performance impact.

 

That said, the game does have one nvidia designed piece of tech, so it does run better on nvidia cards:

http://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2015/11/04/fallout-4/

 

And imo calling it a "renamed gamebryo" is pretty foolish. It's a screwed up version of the creation engine (perhaps an upgrade for consoles, but downgrade for PCs with the lack of MSAA)

I mean with that logic you can call unreal engine 4 a renamed version of unreal engine 3/2/1.. Or source engine a renamed version of quake 2s engine, or IDtech2..

If nothing was changed, sure it's renamed.. But quite a ton was changed since gamebryo. (Dx11, deferred rendering, msaa broken, etc)

 

Well hopefully there are some AA bits to enable proper AA. I imagine the skyrim ones work at least for SGSSAA.

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A bit harsh. I've honestly never had problems with the interface. You can use WASD to browse inventories and you can use E instead of Enter in most situations. It could be better, but don't forget what a confusing mess Skyrim's interface was.

 

Also, "modded Fallout 3"? I'm sorry, but... no. I was playing Fallout: New Vegas before Fallout 4 came out, with a ton of mods. ENB, Vurt's, NMC's texture pack, etc., and I can honestly say, the game's visuals are miles above Fallout 3 and New Vegas. The characters look real, clothes have physics, hair has physics, there are proper shadows shadows, draw distances are MASSIVE (I remember standing a few hundred meters away from something, then I scoped in on it, and it was almost fully detailed, featuring NPCs), and don't forget PBR. Some of these features you can mod into Fallout 3, but Gamebryo back then was a lot less stable, so you would definitely strain the game. Some of these features, however, can't be modded in without altering the engine, if I'm correct, which is not legal.

 

When you compare this game to Bethesda's previous games, you might be a bit disappointed, but that's mostly because pretty much everyone modded those games. This game is definitely Bethesda's best launch. It's a bit buggy here and there, but it's much, much better than all the other titles at launch. Hell, if you play vanilla OblivionFallout 3 or Skyrim, even with all the patches, I bet the games are much buggier than Fallout 4 is right now, merely a week after launch.

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Certain gameplay features have hard-coded key bindings (custom mappings are ignored) and the keypad can't be remapped at all. There are also issues with non-QWERTY keyboard layouts (as with the issue mentioned of the console key binding being incorrect). There is a forum topic about the various keyboard issues.

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Well hopefully there are some AA bits to enable proper AA. I imagine the skyrim ones work at least for SGSSAA.

 

Not gonna happen. (there are no working AA bits for DX11, at least on nVidia's side; can't say anything regarding AMD) The only way you could get SGSSAA working on a DX11 game is if said game has MSAA support.

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