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  1. PC Report: Far Cry 5

    System Requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 3.1 GHz or AMD FX-6300 3.5 GHz
    • RAM: 8 GB
    • HDD: 40 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 or AMD Radeon R9 270 (2 GB of VRAM)
    • OS: Windows 7 SP1 (64-bit)

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770 3.4 GHz or AMD Ryzen 5 1600 3.2 GHz
    • RAM: 16 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 390
    • OS: Windows 8.1, Windows 10

    Editor's System

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 4.0GHz
    • RAM: 16 GB 1600MHz
    • SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB
    • GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC
    • OS: Windows 10 (Version 1709) (64-bit)
    I have tested a GTX 760 which barely hit 35 FPS on average in the lowest settings at 1080p. All the tests have been run in 1440p with the specs listed above, and using version 1.2.0. Interestingly, the Uplay client is smart enough to notify you if you are running an outdated version of your GPU drivers, which led me to install the latest game ready drivers (391.35). All the analysis comparison FPS images were conducted with the built-in benchmark, and run twice to ensure that the results are consistent. All settings have been set to Low when comparing the levels of a graphical setting.

    Graphics settings



    Far Cry 5 Video Settings


    The graphical settings have been cut down to a scarce few options. Features like FXAA, Nvidia's fur textures (HairWorks) and ambient occlusion that were found in previous Far Cry titles are nowhere to be found since Far Cry Primal. Something else I quickly noticed is that the, sometimes distracting, sun glare cannot be disabled. While it is not as bad as Battlefield 3, it certainly catches my attention when trying to look around. Hopefully Ubisoft adds the possibility to disable it with a future patch.

    Unlike Far Cry 4 getting changeable FOV support in a day-1 patch, Far Cry 5 features a FOV slider on launch. Though it can be tricky to locate with the option being found under Advanced settings as opposed to something more distinguishable.

    Like a few other modern titles restarting the game to apply new graphics settings is a thing of the past. They are applied directly without interrupting your gameplay. I have also noticed how it does not prompt you to save your changes in the Video settings, which for me is a nice gesture as wading through layers of menus can become tedious.

    Performance analysis


    In this section we are going to look at how each effect impacts frame rate and how each setting changes the visual style of the game. Be sure to check full resolution uncompressed PNGs if you are looking for pixel by pixel detail.

    Graphical Presets


    The game has four presets, which saves delving into the meat of the options if you wish not to. For some reason this time no preset enables Anti-aliasing. According to the tool-tip available in the options menu, people running the recommend specs listed above should be able to use the High preset on 1080p, but your case may vary.

    Far Cry 5 Preset Analysis


    Texture Filtering


    This option controls texture filtering which I suspect uses Anisotropic filtering, the game does not specify the amount of samples, but since it is four options I suspect it ranges from 4x to 16x samples, though this is only an educated guess. Since it does not cause any performance hits on modern processors (see analysis below) I recommend turning it to at least High settings.






    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    FC5 Texture Filtering Graph


    Shadows


    The shadows quality can be controlled. While I have not seen noticeable improvement between High and Ultra settings, the difference between Medium and Low is easy to spot. I would recommend setting the shadows to at least Medium to avoid dots illustrating shadows. We could also use a draw distance slider as you can in some instances notice the shadows loading in as you move around, sure the draw distance is improved with each level, especially comparing Low to Ultra; but an independent option to control it would go a long way.






    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Low settings, as you can imagine, does not do the game any justice in the visual fidelity department. I would advise setting it to at least Medium to eliminate most of the square-looking shadows.



    FC5 Shadows Graph


    Geometry & Vegetation


    According to the tool tips in the options menu: adjust the graphical complexity of the world geometry and vegetation. But the truth is that this setting controls the draw distance, running on Low settings reveals the noticeable pop-in of many objects. I recommend setting this to at least Medium to minimize the pop-in textures.







    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    FC5 Vegetation Graph



    Environment


    Since this setting controls the water texture and the separate Water graphical setting does not appear to make a noticeable difference we will be covering it here as well. Setting the option to Medium enables the awe-inspiring reflections in water, but not without cost in the form of a performance hit - see the graphs below.






    Click on the Image to Move the Slider




    FC5 Environment Quality Graph


    Terrain


    This setting improves the texture fidelity of the terrain you are close to and extends the draw distance for the terrain. The Low setting shows a lot of blurry terrain after a couple of meters, so switching it over to at least Medium makes the terrain more defined.







    Click on the Image to Move the Slider




    Volumetric Fog


    This setting does not control the amount of fog, it controls the lightning effects being casted from the environment (including trees, etc). The name of the graphics setting could be misleading, the tool-tip in the options menu does not seem to explain this option properly and the comparison images does not show the real effect of the graphical setting.






    Click on the Image to Move the Slider




    Field of View


    The game features a FOV slider, like every other game Ubisoft have released in the past years. Increasing the FOV from 70 to 95 degrees horizontal (personal preference) will result in a minor FPS drop, roughly about ~5 FPS in my case.






    Click on the Image to Move the Slider



    Anti-aliasing


    For AA options we only have SMAA and TAA available, with only 1x sampling. In comparison to older titles it feels like we are lacking some options with Ubisoft's latest addition to the series. Enabling any AA only shaved off a couple of FPS at Low settings, but will always depend on your location.

    FC5 AA Graph


    The comparison below is not shown in the source quality. See the original image as it's easier to spot the difference on each AA level. If you want AA enabled I would recommend SMAA as it provides the best quality and the least performance hit.

    FC5 AA Comparison 2



    Controls


    There are separate sensitivity sliders for different usages, which is a bonus. Mouse Acceleration is disabled by default, and I have had an smooth experience not experiencing any mouse lag. The key binding is disappointing since you only can assign an action to one key. There is a preview image of the keys assigned, but since I have a Swedish keyboard these binds do not match, neither do the extra letters we have in the language match up, which shows that there could be improvements done.

    FC5 Input Settings


    Audio


    The audio settings are underwhelming due to a lack of independant sliders for music, sfx and voice. They are all mixed into one volume slider, except VoIP which has its own separate slider.

    FC5 Audio Settings




    Conclusion


    So conclusion time! The draw distance for each level of all the graphical settings should be documented, the current tool tips feels really basic and do not contain enough information, neither are most of the preview images helpful.

    I have not suffered from any mouse lag, and mouse acceleration is disabled by default. The key binding can become problematic since you only can bind an action to one key, hopefully the developers can change this behavior.

    The graphics settings you will want to invest your performance on are the shadows and the vegetation quality. Both of these control draw distance of the majority of objects, and at least Medium provides a good trade off for performance / quality.

    Performance wise, the game is stable. In all my testing the game never crashed. Not even once, neither did I experience any major bugs / glitches, which shows that Ubisoft puts tremendous effort in order to ensure a good experience.

    This wont escape the high GPU usage, a GTX 760 will simply not hit 60 FPS on 1080p at Low settings, you will need a medium end system to truly benefit. Despite some of the aforementioned, this is still an incredibly solid addition to the Far Cry series and a PC version trend we would like to see continued, ideally improved!






    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:


    • Sep 15 2018 07:01 PM
    • by Hawaii Beach
  2. PC Report: Fallout 4

    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.



    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.



    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.



    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.



    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:


    • Dec 16 2015 04:36 PM
    • by LDK
  3. PC Report: Far Cry 4

    System requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-750 2.5 GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 30GB (31GB installed, 26GB without localization files)
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 or ATI Radeon HD 5850; 1 GB of VRAM, DirectX 11 compatible

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-2400S 2.5 GHz or AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz
    • RAM: 8GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 or AMD Radeon R9 290X; 2 GB of VRAM
    The minimum system requirements are rather modest with five years old hardware, quad-core CPUs and mainstream GPUs from that time is needed. Recommended hardware is different story though and developer suggests using current generation quad-core CPUs and high end GPUs with at least 2 gigs of VRAM.

    All the tests have been done on system with Core i7-2700k clocked to 4.5GHz, 32 GB RAM and HD 6870 with 1GB of VRAM. The testing was done in 720p resolution to eliminate stuttering caused by the lack of video memory and streaming problems. Benchmark consisted of one minute running at the top of the bell towers in the game during sunny weather, again to eliminate stuttering during streaming additional data from HDD test run stayed only at one location.

    Graphics settings and overall performance


    options graphics

    Graphics and video options in Far Cry 4 are rich and allows to set many different levels for each effect. Display modes are also nicely done and the game supports many resolutions, common aspect ratios and even borderless windowed mode. Unfortunately the game is forcing 16:9 aspect ratio by using letterboxing (black bars) on different aspect ratios. Far Cry 3 didn't have letterboxing and it is shame to use it in this title.

    The game unfortunately doesn't support multi-monitor setups very well. There are problems like field of view slider not working, stretching 16:9 aspect ratio, letterboxing and other similar issues. More information about it can be found at Widescreen Gaming Forum.

    Additional setting contains field of view slider and few modes of vertical synchronization with option to turn on 30 FPS frame limiter to smooth out performance.

    Overall performance and image quality


    The game offers five quality presets - Low, Medium, High, Very High and Ultra. Ultra preset does not set maximum anti-aliasing but leaves it at post process SMAA instead of MSAA 8x. Although MSAA 8x has massive performance impact so I can understand this reasoning.

    graph preset performance


    At low details the game runs very well even on older GPU. Medium preset cost about 10% of performance but it looks much better with added ambient occlusion effect. High preset is rather costly and prepare for losing about 30% of framerate. In this preset ambient occlusion is much stronger, textures are sharper and mountains are much more detailed. Anti-aliasing is also turned on. Very High preset is not very different from High preset. Shadows are in little bit higher resolution and billboards of distant trees are more detailed. Performance drop is about 5% from High preset. Ultra preset is turning on several advanced volumetric and post process effect that has very strong performance impact of 20% from Very High preset and almost 50% from Low preset. Performance scaling in different resolution is rather linear.

    graph resolution performance


    Here we can see drastic difference between Low and Ultra presets. At Low details the image is very flat without any ambient occlusion effect, textures are blurry due to lack of anisotropic filtering. At Ultra the game comes to life and show beautiful scenery with detailed environment.


    The game unfortunately suffers from heavy stuttering during faster movement in game's environment. Developer suggest to install it on SSD but I've went further and created virtual hard drive in system memory and copied all the game's files directly into RAM. But even that didn't leave a dent and game kept stuttering.


    After few tries I've managed to completely eliminate stuttering after all. The key was lowering VRAM heavy effects and resolution. Anti-aliasing, ambient occlusion turned off, textures kept at medium helped a lot so I suspect the game is not very economic with its graphics memory utilization. I suspect this is due to bad optimization from console code as the current generation of console have unified pool of system and graphics memory that is much larger (4-5GB) then graphics cards today normally have.

    After getting rid of stuttering the game performed flawlessly on my system with framerate around 60FPS with few effects turned to moderate settings.

    Full resolution screenshots: Scene 1 Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra; Scene 2 Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra.

    Field of view


    We are very happy to see Far Cry 4 featuring field of view slider. Unfortunately the implementations is not consistent and on few instances it can completely break the game. First of all the slider is not working at all in windowed borderless mode and on multi-monitor systems. There are reports, that field of view slider completely disappeared with 1.4.0 patch for some users, but personally I have not encountered that.



    Then there are annoying issues with this slider. The slider is working nicely when character is running in the game, but any other activity is on default and very low field of view. Activities like riding in a vehicles, using grappling hook and in a cutscenes.

    And then there are game breaking bugs: Conquering bell tower starts cutscene where camera fly though few locations but after that field of view reverts to ridiculously low value about 50 degrees. Messing up with slider does not help, only remedy is getting back to main menu and reload save.

    mortar Fov Bug


    Completely opposite story is flying with wing-suit where field of view jumps to ridiculously high value above 150 degrees. With this jump game obviously stutters for a moment as it has to render much more of the scene often resulting in players death. Same thing with mortar aiming where field of view is much, much higher.

    graph field Of view performance


    There is also no indication of what field of view values slider represents but its maximum value seems to me to be just about right for a single large screen. Performance impact is noticeable with about 20% of framerate loss from lowest setting. Full resolution screenshots: FOV on min, FOV on max.

    Controls


    The game offers nice controls customization even for gamepads although no full button bindings. Keyboard keys are fully customizable though with the exception of Tabulator key which can be fixed. There are few multiple actions on one key scenarios, but I haven't found them problematic. Very nice addition is plenty of toggles for GUI elements.

    options controls gamepad

    options controls


    What is problematic though is mouse acceleration. There is a switch and a slider that can turn off mouse acceleration, then there are additional entries in the configuration file but none of these can turn mouse acceleration completely off, only reduce its strength. But at least there is no negative acceleration as it was in Far Cry 3. Additionally the mouse movement felt jumpy and not smooth at all although I got used to if fairly quickly.

    Audio


    The audio options menu is very disappointing. There is only one slider for master volume and toggle for turning off music. Surround sound is supported but only up to 5.1, additional channels are ignored. Positional audio is nicely done though and the game otherwise sounds very good, I'm particularly impressed with weapon's sounds as each gun has very distinct and rich sound with slight echo.

    options general And audio


    Performance analysis


    In this section we are going to look at how each effect impacts framerate and how does each setting looks on screenshots. Be sure to check full resolution uncompressed PNGs linked in each section. Also visit gallery for additional benchmark and screenshots.

    Textures


    This setting is little bit complicated as it contains several different effects. I haven't found increase in resolution with higher levels of this options, however there is increase of anisotropic filtering that results in much sharper textures. Another effect bundled in "textures" is parallax mapping that adds very strong 3D relief to the textures. I don't know, why these effects cannot be separated as both have very different performance and memory impact.



    Performance impact is around 8% up to High level, Very High and Ultra cost 12% and 15%. This setting is very dependent on graphics memory and even if your framerate is high and stable in static scenes, not enough VRAM will cause the game to stutter when camera is turned quickly or character moves fast. Full resolution screenshots: Scene 1 Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra; Scene 2 Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra; Scene 3 Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra.

    graph textures performance


    Shadows


    This option sets up shadow resolution and distance of shadows level of detail. There is special level of Soft Shadows that blurs edges of shadows to appear more natural.


    graph shadows performance


    Performance impact is surprisingly not very high and Soft Shadows are causing only 10% FPS drop. But as with Texture option, this is very memory demanding effect that can cause stuttering. Full resolution screenshots: Low, Medium, High, Very High, Ultra, Soft Shadows.

    Terrain


    This sets terrain details. Low and Medium options are almost identical, very strong difference is on High level and Ultra offers very little improvement. Performance impact is very little, up to 3%. Full resolution screenshots Low, Medium, High, Ultra.


    graph terrain performance


    Anti-Aliasing


    The game offers few anti-aliasing methods, three levels od MSAA (up to 8x), SMAA and Nvidia specific TXAA which I was unable to test.

    Anti-Aliasing comparison


    MSAA is very performance heavy and surprisingly does not offer very good image quality. MSAA is for some reason creating slight bright outline around some edges that can be noticeable. SMAA on the other hand soften edges very nicely and does not blur textures at all. Additionally SMAA also blurs edges on foliage as these are in a form of transparent texture that is ignored by MSAA. Performance impact is not very strong with SMAA, as it is form of post process filter. Full resolution screenshots: No AA, MSAA2, MSAA4, MSAA8, SMAA.

    graph anti aliasing performance


    Ambient Occlusion


    Far Cry 4 also offers three methods of ambient occlusion - SSAO, HDAO and Ubisoft brand new SSBC. Ambient occlusion adds subtle shadows around objects and in corners that creates much richer scene. Performance impact is moderate from 5% of SSAO and SSBC to 11% of HDAO . Full resolution screenshots AO Off, SSAO, SSBC, HBAO.

    graph ambient occlusion performance



    Godrays


    This option creates light shafts in a fog and dust. Additionally it tweaks contrast of sky and clouds resulting in very nice dramatic sky. Performance is between 13 to 14%. Personally I prefer option Volumetric Fog instead of Enhanced.

    graph godrays performance



    Rest of the effects


    Rest of the effects only quickly as they didn't seem to improve image quality dramatically. Post FX and Water quality performance drop is around 5%, but without noticeable visual impact, same with Vegetation and its 2% FPS drop. Geometry affects level of details of further objects and has 11% FPS drop from Low to High and 16% from Low to Ultra. Fur is switching advanced fur on animals with 16% FPS drop, but the effect is noticeable only when animal is very close. Trees Relief should turn on tessellation on trees, but I haven't found any changes. Performance impact is 11%.

    Conclusion


    Far Cry 4 is a step in right direction, there are many toggles and sliders for tweaking, the game runs rather well and looks very nice. Unfortunately as with the previous Ubisoft games, Far Cry 4 suffers from premature release and severely lacks polish. There are unnecessary problems with field of view implementation, mouse acceleration, multi-monitor support (or lack of), limited audio option and stuttering. Sad thing is, these problems could have been easilly avoided if the game was in development little bit longer.

    • Nov 30 2014 12:37 AM
    • by LDK
  4. PC Report: Dark Souls 2

    System requirements


    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo E8500 3.17 Ghz, AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2 Ghz
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 14 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT, ATI Radeon HD 5870

    Recommended

    • CPU: Intel CoreTM i3 2100 3.10 GHz, AMD A8 3870K 3.0 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 750, ATI Radeon HD 6870
    The game is asking for a rather old components in its minimum requirements so it should run on a variety of older machines. Even recommended hardware specifications are not very menacing.

    Testing methodology


    Testing was done on a system with Core i7 clocked to 4.5 GHz, 32 GB RAM and AMD Radeon HD 6870 in 2560x1600 resolution. Unfortunately the game has framerate limiter set to 60 frames per second and this system is fast enough to run stable on 60 FPS regardless of settings thus making standard FPS measuring rather inconclusive.

    To circumvent this problem I was forced to abandon framerate measuring and measure GPU utilization which is in percents.

    In normal conditions (framerate not limited by the game, fast CPU) GPU is utilized close to 100% and framerate is fluctuating on complexity of the rendered scene. In this case however, maximum framerate is locked and my machine is able to keep framerate on maximum value of 60 FPS. To keep this framerate, GPU has to wait after it finishes a frame and this is lowering utilization.

    For example low end GPU is able to barely keep 60FPS so its utilization is 100%. Much faster GPU hasn't got many problems to achieve 60 FPS and it has to wait after each frame making its utilization only 60%.

    Keep that in mind when reading graphs in this article as lower value means better performance.

    Measuring was done by utility GPU-Z, version 0.7.7, with sensor refresh rate set to a half a second. The game lacks internal benchmark so test run in game was done in the main hub called Majula by running from obelisk to the camp fire, then to the pit and back to the obelisk. This run takes around a minute and produces roughly 120 data points.

    Recently released new Durante's utility GeDoSaTo wasn't used in this test as I was unable to produce consistent results with it and using it created game instability. And since game started using VAC as anti-cheat solution, there is a slight chance, that you can get banned. Developer of this tool considers that highly unlikely though.

    Video settings


    Basic video option consists of resolution, full-screen mode and auto detection. Windowed borderless mode is not supported out of the box and external utility, such as Borderless-Gaming, is needed. Again be careful of using any third party application as Dark Souls 2 is using VAC.

    List of available resolutions is taken from operating system, so vast variety of single monitor resolutions are supported (presumably even 4k). Unfortunately the game is again locked to 16:9 aspect ratio so multi-monitor support is achieved only by using Flawless Widescreen utility, which can get you in trouble with VAC.

    menu video


    Additional graphics settings can be found in the next menu. List grew quite a bit since its predecessor which contained only anti-aliasing and motion blur toggles. Dark Souls 2 features settings for variety of popular effects, some of them can be set in a different levels.

    Almost every effect can be adjusted directly in game apart from texture quality and high-quality character rendering. These two are applied after reloading your save.

    Unfortunately there is no field of view setting but default field of view is set rather reasonably and didn't cause me any discomfort even after few hours of playing.

    Mute on focus lost cannot be set and is disabled by default and the game simulation is not even paused when alt-tabbing, which is highly unusual behavior. Although alt-tabbing is working perfectly from fullscreen mode and is not very slow.

    Performance


    Dark Souls 2 performed on my system very well as it has been outlined on methodology paragraph. CPU-wise the game is working on simulated dual-core system without any performance impact, however when limiting it to only single core the game was unplayable.

    Allocated RAM never exceeded 900MB, same with VRAM, even on max details. Loading a level is fast, although cold start has several annoying notifications requiring user's input.

    graph preset


    The game features three presets: Low, Medium and High. Again bear in mind these numbers are not representing frames per second, but rather GPU utilization. On Low preset the GPU is working only 50% of the time. High preset comes with 30% performance cost as the GPU has to work at 82%.



    Apart from massive background blur and ocean quality, image difference is not very apparent. Frankly I got a feeling, that some of featured graphical effects are there just to mask horrible objects in the distance and other low resolution/low polygon assets (see rocks and castle in this screenshot). PNG screenshot of preset in higher resolution: Low, Medium, High.

    Texture quality


    Texture quality can be set to Medium (presumably a console resolution) and High. There is very little (2%) performance impact when setting it on High. VRAM utilization also rose only by a 40 MB (620 MB on everything Low, 660 MB with TQ on High).
    graph texture quality




    Surprisingly there is almost no image quality difference between Normal and High. Textures are significantly better on character models when viewed from up close, but that only happens on cut-scenes or very rare instances in the game. Some textures are very nice and seems to be in high resolution but many other textures are not which created bad contrast when these two resolution assets are placed close to each other. Tiling one texture on a large area is also very common unfortunately. Screenshots in full resolution: Medium, High, placement.


    textures different resolutions


    Shadow quality


    Shadows are the most performance heavy in the game taking almost 20% of performance when turning on High. There are also Medium, Low and Off states.

    graph shadow quality




    Higher setting means higher resolution of shadows, but only characters and few objects are casting shadows and only few items are considered light sources. I haven't found specific pattern what qualifies objects for shadow casting and lights as a light sources. Generally characters are casting shadows, but I've encountered few torch stands and pillars that also casts shadows. One pillar is casting shadows correctly, but pillar just next to it does not. And this inconsistency is prevalent also with light sources. Sun is considered light source, same with player lit torches, but camp fires and many other torches are not. Screenshots in full resolution: Off, High, inconsistency.

    slider shadows inconsistency


    Water surface quality


    Water surface quality is very performance cheap but very nice looking effect. With quality set to low, ocean is just dark and bland. Increasing quality to Medium or High increases GPU utilization just by 2% and ocean surface looks tremendously better.

    graph water surface quality


    Unfortunately this effect is applied only to ocean and I haven't noticed any difference on any other water bodies. Screenshots in full resolution: Low, Medium, High.



    Model quality and HQ character rendering


    I haven't noticed any difference in model quality settings, performance impact was only 1%.

    High-quality character rendering is turning on cloth animations, otherwise there is no noticeable difference. Performance impact is below 1%.

    Anti-aliasing


    The game features only FXAA which is low quality post process blur filter. There is some jaggies reduction, but also fine details on textures are lost as whole picture is blurred. It is the cheapest anti-aliasing solution performance-wise, turning it on costs only 7% performance. Samples on the right are anti-aliased. Screenshots in full resolution: Off, On.

    Aa comparison


    Ambient occlusion


    Ambient occlusion setting has only two states - on and off. Implemented solution is not performance demanding (costing only 3%), but also doesn't look particularly good.



    Again I've noticed some inconsistency with this effect. On some scenes ambient occlusion is hardly noticeable, in others it is disturbingly strong. Screenshots in full resolution: scene 1 On, Off; scene 2: On, Off.



    Depth of field


    Dark Souls 2 is perfect example how depth of field effect should never be used. Depth of field can be nice and very powerful effect that adds realism to binoculars, camera viewfinders, gun sights and other devices, that uses lenses. Here we have blur filter on everything little bit too far or close without any context. Unfortunately Dark Souls 2 is not the only game, that is using DoF completely wrong. At least it does not affect performance very much.



    By that comparison it is apparent, that this effect is used mainly for masking low resolution textures and object on the skybox. For better comparison open these screenshots in full resolution: On, Off.

    graph misc effects


    Controls


    Dark Souls 2 has been developed with controller in mind and Xbox controller works quite nicely right away. There are some problems with controller autodetection and multiple HID devices but that can be easily resolved by disabling every controller but one. There are few settings hidden in Game Options menu such as X, Y axis reversion, sensitivity and vibration strength. The only controller rebindable action is Jump, no other buttons can be changed.

    menu game


    Keyboard and mouse support is much better than its predecessor, but it is still light years from perfect and miles from just usable. First of all there are Xbox button prompts regardless of having the controller or not. That is making learning the game extremely difficult as tutorial offers only information like "Pushing RB LS makes triple jump". You can use our guide for some of the prompts.

    Every menu and option screen is screaming controller and is very hard to navigate with mouse as there is zero consistency. There are hidden sections that are activated by just hovering mouse cursor over them and getting from that section properly is also a nightmare. Let me give you an example with key mapping menus:

    menu nightmare 1


    Hitting escape key frees mouse from camera control and shows first menu and cursor. Hovering over icons shows drop-down sub menu. Clicking on Key Bindings brings appropriate menu. This menu consist of two sections: top selector of action groups and bottom section with actions and assigned keys. Hovering over top icons is switching between them nicely, but hovering over assigned keys locks this section and hovering over top icons is no longer working.

    menu nightmare 2


    So how to escape this menu a save changes? Logical solution would be hitting escape key with hopes, that would bring a dialog asking for saving any changes. Unfortunately escape key immediately shuts down every menu and all the changes are lost. Properly closing menu with saving is by action called "Cancel" or by clicking right mouse button and selecting back.

    This confusing behavior is prevalent in every menu screen. Technically you can use your mouse to navigate through them, it is just extremely frustrating.

    Another lovely new feature is double click binding. Some actions can be assigned to the mouse button double click. Interesting idea, horrible execution. Light left and right arm attacks are assigned to single click left and right mouse button respectively. Unfortunately after the game receives single click, it waits for potential second click, that could never come, thus delaying actions assigned to single clicks by a significant amount of time. Combat with these delays is very imprecise and again very frustrating.

    This issue has been briefly mentioned in the Official Bandai Namco Support Thread on Steam Community forums, but it has been since deleted from the first post. That suggests this will never be officially fixed, but few fixes are available in our Wiki article.

    Camera control with mouse is precise, and I haven't had any problems with it at all. Mouse acceleration is disabled by default and the game even ignores acceleration set by operating system so at least something is finally done right.

    Audio


    Audio options are accessible only from the game and not from main menu. The game features voice chat, that is thankfully disabled by default. Volume of music, sound effects and voices can be adjusted separately.

    Surround sound is supported by default, however there is no fine tweaking. On my system the game took surround sound setting from the operating system and correctly used 7.1 configuration. Sound mixing is little bit iffy, some effects are sent only to front speakers and ignores position of camera or player. Overall surround sound is implemented very well.

    Conclusion


    Performance in the game is very good but that comes with cost of not very striking visuals. Graphical settings offers only disputable visual changes. Resolutions are working correctly. Keyboard and mouse controls are barely usable and require extensive tweaking to work right so controller is again highly recommended. It seems that From Software haven't learned much from first Dark Souls and offers classic port from consoles.

    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 Dark Souls 2 fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.

    • Apr 30 2014 07:35 AM
    • by LDK
  5. Port Report: Batman: Arkham Origins

    System requirements

    Minimum

    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.4 GHz / AMD Athlon X2, 2.8 GHz
    • RAM: 2 GB RAM
    • HDD: 20 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS / AMD Radeon HD 3850 or better with 512 MB of VRAM

    Maximum

    • CPU: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 965, 3.4 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB RAM
    • HDD: 20 GB
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS / AMD Radeon HD 3850 or better with 512 MB of VRAM
    Testing was done on a system with Core i7 clocked to 4.5 GHz, 32 GB RAM and an AMD Radeon HD 6870 in 1920x1200 resolution via benchmark build in the game. Download size is around 18 GB, with the same amount of space occupied on the HDD.

    Video settings


    As its predecessors, the game is running on the Unreal Engine 3 and features a nice set of options. Everything can be set directly in-game and only PhysX requires a game restart. Apart from standard settings like resolution and v-sync, you can set anti-aliasing, DX11 specific effects, PhysX and ambient occlusion. Unfortunately there are no presets, so you'll have to set everything manually.

    There is a rather annoying bug in this menu: when you lower some options, the appropriate effect is lowered/turned off accordingly but frame rate stays the same. In order to get performance boots, you have to load your save or restart whole game.

    Video settings


    Field of view


    There is no field of view slider, which can be very annoying for many players. Default field of view is very narrow - 56 degrees - and very distracting.

    There are two methods to change field of view. First method will bind one of your key to change value of field of view to your liking. The game will scale all other values based of this value, so no other setting is necessary; however if you'd like to tweak FoV values for different situations, follow guide at our our wiki article. Note that this permanent method did not work for me.

    Key binding method:
    1. Navigate to the game install folder, specificaly here: ..\Steam\steamapps\common\Batman Arkham Origins\SinglePlayer\BMGame\Config\
    2. Open file BmInput.ini
    3. Select all lines starting with "Bindings" in section [Engine.PlayerInput] and copy them to the [BmGame.RPlayerInput] section within the same file.
    4. Add "Bindings=(Name="F10",Command="fov xx")" without quotes at the end of the [BmGame.RPlayerInput] section. Change xx to your desired field of view value.
    5. Addionaly you can create another command with "Bindings=(Name="F11",Command="fov 0"), that will reset field of view to default, which is useful in cutscenes.



    Performance


    Batman: Arkham Origins runs on the DX11 renderer by default if it finds a DX11 GPU in the system, however the game is capable of running in the older DX9 renderer by putting "-d3d9" into launch options within Steam. DX9 renderer offers slightly better performance at the cost of a few DX11-specific effects.

    BAO general  performance


    As this game does not have low, medium and high presets, I've tested only everything on low and everything on high with both DX9 and DX11 renderers just without anti-aliasing. AA under DX11 is true performance killer and results wouldn't be very clear. More about AA later in the article.



    Anti-aliasing


    The game features a surprising amount of anti-aliasing methods. Players can choose two levels (low and high) of post process FXAA filter or true anti-aliasing in form of MSAA in three steps: 2x, 4x and 8x. For owners of Nvidia GPU there are also two levels (low and high) of TXAA method that I unfortunately I wasn't able to test.

    BAO AA comparison


    In this comparison picture you can see most of the methods under both renderers. AA under DirectX11 appears little better considering same amount of sampling. The smoothest edges offers post process FXAA filter but for a cost of little bit texture blurring.

    Performance of AA in this game is a little bit of a mystery to me. Clearly every method works under both renderers, but with widely different framerate drop. From the graph below you can see that overall the least impact has FXAA, which is no surprise due to the nature of this filter. What baffles me is massive impact of MSAA with DX11 renderer. Just turning MSAA on you'll lose 50% of your framerate, maxing it out on my system means drop to unplayable single digit framerate.

    The other renderer - DX9 - hasn't got any problems with MSAA and performance drop is negligible. I first thought that no AA is used under DX9, but when I checked screenshot, AA is clearly there and is progressively better when the sample rate is increased.

    BAO   AA performance


    For screenshots from this benchmark in full resolution and in lossless format visit our gallery.

    Dynamic shadows


    Dynamic shadows sets shadows for character models. It has no impact on pre-rendered (baked) world shadows. Performance impact is not very severe between Off and Normal state. DX11 Enhanced shadows are more costly - around 15% without significant visual impact.

    BAO   dynamic shadows performance




    Ambient occlusion


    This usually performance-hungry effect is rather modest in Batman: Arkham Origins. "Normal" AO will cost you around 10% of the framerate, DX11 Enhanced method another 20%. The game is using this effect very nicely - it adds subtle shadows to dark corners and it is not adding dark "glow" around every object as some other games can.

    BAO   AO performance




    Controls


    The game is designed to be played with a controller. The Xbox 360 Controller is preferred and when the player navigates to the control menu the game shows the Xbox control scheme first no matter what control scheme are you using. Fortunately there is an option to remap keys, and for every action two keys can be set.

    Keyboard controls

    Xbox controller binds


    But there are severe limitations to the mouse setting: there is no mouse sensitivity slider at all, and fourth and fifth mouse buttons are not supported by default. Mouse sensitivity can be set via config file:

    1. Navigate to the game install folder, specificaly here: ..\Steam\steamapps\common\Batman Arkham Origins\SinglePlayer\BMGame\Config\
    2. Open file BmInput.ini
    3. Locate line MouseSensitivity=60.0 and change its value to your liking.

    A controller is automatically detected when plugged in even if the game is already running. On-screen prompts are immediately changed between keyboard and controller based on last used device. Unfortunately there are no options for controller, not even a sensitivity slider or axis inversion.

    Audio


    Batman: Arkham Origins features quite a rich sound setting. There are few presets for sound system: headphones, TV, stereo and home theater. The game is using Wwise for its sound system so unfortunately only up to 5.1 surround sound is supported.

    There are also a toggle for subtitles and volume sliders for sound effects, music and dialogue but no slider for master volume.

    Audio options


    Game itself


    Here on the Port Report we don't usually comment on the "game content" part of the analyzed title, but I have to make an exception. This game is unbelievably broken. I was suspecting something when even the biggest magazines hadn't received PC review copies prior to release, but this exceeded my expectations.

    The game is riddled by bugs, and not little ones but really game-breaking bugs as scripts are not running properly. Often players are unable to progress due to closed doors, inaccessible areas, bad geometry clipping and much more. A bug list is kept on the Steam Community Discussions page, but there are few fixes available as this can only be fixed by the developers.

    Conclusion


    From a technical standpoint the game is rather solid. This is most likely due to the fact that this is third game in the series based on the same engine, and most likely built with the same tools. Graphic option menu is nothing spectacular, but offers tweaking to some degree. Performance issues are only with MSAA under DX11 renderer, other than that all effects are having expected performance drop. Controls menu is not very rich and offers only basic binding. No mouse or controller settings are available even though both devices are supported.

    The game part is unfortunately horribly broken and plagued with game-breaking bugs. We are looking closely on this and we are keeping article on PCGamingWiki updated, but I'm afraid these bugs will have to be fixed by developer.

    • Oct 30 2013 09:42 AM
    • by LDK
  6. Port Report: Shadow Warrior

    System requirements

    Minimum

    • CPU: 2.4 Ghz Dual Core
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • HDD: 8 GB
    • GPU: Radeon 3870, GeForce 8800 GT or better

    Maximum

    • CPU: Core 2 Quad 8200 or Phenom X4 9950
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • HDD: 8 GB
    • GPU: Radeon 4890, GeForce GTX 460 or better
    Testing was done on a system with Core i7 clocked to 4.5 GHz, 32 GB RAM and an AMD Radeon HD 6870 in 1920x1200 resolution. Download size is slightly under 7GB, with the same amount of space occupied on the HDD.

    Video settings


    Shadow Warrior is based on the Road Hog Engine developed by Flying Wild Hog studio. It was used in their previous game, Hard Reset, and it is making a return with some tweaks and new effects. There is no launcher and everything can be set directly from the game without restarting, something that is not very common and developers deserve to be praised. Menu and its content is very similar to the last Road Hog Engine game with the addition of two new effects - ambient occlusion and mirrors, which will be talked about later in more detail.

    This menu features a lot of settings that will make every PC enthusiast happy. If you feel overwhelmed, feel free to use one of four preset setting: LOW, MEDIUM, HIGH and ULTRA.

    Video settings

    Field of view


    Shadow Warrior features a vertical field of view slider with a default value of 65 degrees, going up to 90 degrees. As this is vertical field of view implementation, this range should be enough even for multi-monitor setups. Unfortunately there is no field of view entry in the configuration files, so you can't set it manually. This may be related to the issue that field of view setting is not saved between sessions, so you will have to set it every time you start the game. But this probably will be fixed later, as we had an early copy of the game.



    Performance


    The game seemed to me rather well optimized, with some very performance hungry effects. Performance scales properly between each preset, in order to cover most of the different systems. With the LOW preset, you can get even higher FPS if you turn everything completely off, as some effects are just set to LOW.

    The game is very dependent on graphics card and CPU speed does not matter that much. On my system CPU utilization was around 8% (apart from more common 12-15% that single threaded games usually use), with one main and one secondary thread. GPU utilization was at 95% and more all the time, with the exception of loading screens and menus. VRAM was nearly full (950MB) and for advanced effects (AO, AA) you'll definitely need more than 1GB of VRAM. System memory use was more subtle, with the game taking around 1.5GB of RAM

    Performance




    Anti-aliasing


    The game has three different anti-aliasing solutions (and an option to turn AA completely off, of course). Nowadays very popular blur filter aka FXAA is here as a recommended setting as it has the least performance impact (around 2%) but you will lose some sharpness on the textures. Next is first proper anti aliasing - FSAA 2x. Sacrificing around 30% performance you'll get basic edge smoothing. Last but the best is FSAA 4x that will cost you roughly 50% of performance.

    AA performance


    As you can see, performance drop is significant but quality is comparable with FXAA method of anti aliasing. You will sacrifice a little bit of texture quality by choosing FXAA but gain considerable performance boost. See comparison of each method:

    AA comparison



    Ambient occlusion


    Screen space ambient occlusion is a new feature in Road Hog Engine and, as usual, there is a significant frame rate drop when you enable it. The game offers four setting, going from OFF to ULTRA, but no preset uses OFF so change it manually if you have problems with the frame rate.
    Between OFF and LOW there is a considerable drop in performance - around 10%, after that each option will cost you another 2-5% until you get to ULTRA, where you lose another 20-30%. Recommendation is to set it to HIGH, unless you have performance to spare.

    AO performance



    Shadows


    In the past, shadows were one of the performance killers. This is not the case anymore, and in many current games shadows do not have large impact on the frame rate, and Shadow Warrior is not an exception. You can set shadows to one of three levels - LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH, where each step will mean 1-5% drop in FPS.

    Shadow performance




    Mirrors


    Brand new effect that is rarely seen in current generation of games. It basically creating real time reflections effect in glossy surfaces like a water surface, blood pools and metallic objects. Because game has to render much more of the game scene, performance drop is rather significant - 25-35% and is enabled only in ULTRA preset, unless you set it manually. There is no fine tweaking and you can just turn this effect on or off.

    I've run into some problems with this effect causing flickering of reflections. It will be probably fixed by developers or in drivers in the future so if you see flickering of water surface, turn Mirrors off and wait for a fix.

    Mirror performance




    Controls


    Shadow Warrior supports game pads and classic mouse and keyboard combo. Mouse does not have acceleration even if you have it set in you OS, you can set its smoothing, sensitivity and inversion though.

    Tip: see our Mouse acceleration article to learn difference between smoothing and acceleration.

    Actions on the keyboard can be rebinded to your liking with two keys assigned to one action.

    Controls

    Xbox 360 controller is supported from the get go and you can tweak sensitivities, aim assist, inversion and vibrations. Under layout you will find what action is binded to what button and set left-handed mode for sticks and buttons, triggers layout can be set to reverse. Hot plug is also supported.

    Controller settings


    Audio


    The game supports auto-detection of speaker configuration from your OS and its result is shown under Audio options. I haven't got any problems with it, the game correctly detected all my speakers and started using them properly. If you encounter problems, you can force stereo mode. Apart from this there are three volume sliders for global, music and voice. Subtitles can be found under Game Settings menu.

    Audio options


    Saving


    A long lost feature called quick-saving is back! The game lets the player save anywhere they want, even in the middle of combat. There is also checkpoint system that works very well and maps your progress through the game. All saves are accessible via the Load game menu and all saved games are divided by difficulty and chapter to avoid clutter.

    Conclusion


    Shadow Warrior is a fine example of how a PC release should look like. The game features plenty of options for players to fiddle with, field of view slider included, and performance problems can be easily solved by turning some demanding effects down or completely off. I haven't run into serious technical issues and apart from few nuisances the game runs as it should.

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

    • Oct 04 2013 09:38 PM
    • by LDK