You Probably Shouldn't Buy Quantum Break On PC

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Mirado

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I'm not usually in the business of telling people how to spend their money, but after reading this article by the number crunchers over at Digital Foundry, I feel like I've got to post this, PSA style. Here's some highlights (lowlights?):

Frame rate:

60 frames per second isn't possible on a 60Hz monitor: The most serious problem with this port lies in its performance limitations - currently, we've determined that it simply isn't possible to reach frame-rates matching the refresh rate of the monitor in use. The maximum frame-rate seems to be limited to 5/6th of the refresh rate - this means, when using a 60Hz monitor, the game simply cannot go beyond 50 frames per second. We even tried it with a Core i7 system paired with Titan X running at 720p on the lowest settings, but 50fps was still the limit - and the same thing applies to AMD GPUs too.

Well, that's unique. I'm not sure I've ever heard of a 5/6ths ratio like that before, and I can't come up with a single reason as to why you'd want to do that.

Resolution:

On PC, with more capable hardware, we would prefer to see an option to render at the native resolution of our display without this feature - but this is not provided. What this means for users is that '1080p' effectively produces a reconstructed 720p image rather than a native full HD output. Rainbow Six Siege offers a similar technique but on PC, it's optional. This is a technique that looks nice on a television from a normal viewing distance, but when you're pressed up against a high resolution PC monitor, the results are blurry and lacking detail.

So, no way to make the game actually render at the resolution you choose. Nice.

Crashing:

On two of our Nvidia-equipped systems, Quantum Break crashed. A lot. It's important to stress that it's not the game code itself that died, but rather the Nvidia driver. It's not often that we see the display driver itself crash and recover outside of extreme overclocking tests, but that's exactly what we experienced here. We attempted to rectify the issue by eliminating all traces of the driver from our machines and re-installing, while also using both the latest and older drivers - the results were the same.

And that means it's broken on most green colored GPUs. Outstanding.

UWP:

This is a drum we cannot beat loud enough - the Universal Windows Platform architecture is a huge issue for the PC right now. There are problems with this game, such as frame-pacing, which could be fixed by users right now but that becomes impossible due to UWP's limitations. In the case of Quantum Break, this means that we're basically held hostage waiting for improvements from the developer or from Microsoft itself, as if this were a console game. In a perfect world, games would ship without any issues, but that just doesn't always happen, which is why it's so important for PC gamers to have the option to work around these problems with established tools and GPU control panel options. Also: bonus points to UWP for overwriting our Xbox One completed game save with fresh PC data instead, eliminating our existing progress completely.

Finally, you can't do anything to fix it, and sometimes it eats your saves. Fantastic.

There's other weird things with the game as well, like lacking an "exit" button (forcing an Alt-F4 or for you to close the window), or the erratic frame pacing that makes the 30FPS cap option totally worthless, but by now I think you get the idea. If you'd like to give Quantum Break a shot, it seems like it's in your best interest to get your hands on the XB1 version for the time being, at least until they sort a lot of this shit out.

5/6ths of your refresh rate as a FPS cap. What the hell were they thinking?

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Justin258

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#2  Edited By Justin258

So this whole Universal Windows Platform thing is basically Games For Windows Live but worse?

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mach_go_go_go

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@justin258: Worse than Games for Windows Live... I didn't think it was even possible.

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mike

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Suddenly that news about Microsoft releasing all future Xbox One games on PC doesn't sound so exciting. Oh well, as long as they fix this mess before the next Forza Horizon game.

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kasaioni

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I went from possibly getting this game, to maybe not getting if after Jeff's review, to not even considering getting it in light of this.

I was sort of optimistic that I would be able to play more Microsoft exclusives on my PC, but this UWA stuff is killing that optimism.

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deactivated-58ca104190dca

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Hm, I'm looking forward to Forza Apex, from the latest development video it seems the team behind it focused on 60 fps at 4k so hopefully it'll buck the trend of all the universal Windows platform games. It's doesn't build much confidence though.

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VoshiNova

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I'm still waiting for my pre-order code - hopefully some patches/magic happens between now and then.

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audiosnow

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#8  Edited By audiosnow

Remember, Steam was a tyrant when it launched. UWP could work out really well, but this is definitely a first attempt cluster****.

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ez123

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Hm, I'm looking forward to Forza Apex, from the latest development video it seems the team behind it focused on 60 fps at 4k so hopefully it'll buck the trend of all the universal Windows platform games. It's doesn't build much confidence though.

KI port is great. I'm really looking forward to Apex too and definitely Horizon 3 if that exists.

I hope they improve performance in this game, I really want to play it at some point. Add a damn exit option to the title screen, too. Remedy said that was a UWP thing but KI has it so that can't be true.

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Justin258

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@mike said:

Suddenly that news about Microsoft releasing all future Xbox One games on PC doesn't sound so exciting. Oh well, as long as they fix this mess before the next Forza Horizon game.

Wasn't that Gears of War rerelease on PC just as bad? And Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Windows Store? That probably should have let everyone know that this was going to be another of Microsoft's PC game-related fuck ups.

Of course, Microsoft still has plenty of opportunity to sell this thing. If the next thing to come out on Xbox and PC actually works right on the PC end of things, then we could still see it working out. As it is now, it really sounds like decisions are being made by some guy who has lots of power in the gaming side of the industry, but absolutely no understanding of how to get PC gamers on board.

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Mirado

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#11  Edited By Mirado

@justin258: The next full Forza will be the real test. People have been clamoring for it, the dev's have stated very specific performance goals, and I feel they'll have enough time (and games) between then and now to open things up and listen to feedback. If, after all that, it comes out anything like Quantum Break, it's dead.

I have no hopes for the free-to-play free, stripped down Apex, but the next full title (Horizons included) had better be good.

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ez123

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@justin258: I didn't play it but Tomb Raider on the Windwos Store seems solid. I didn't hear any big problems and its score on the Windows Store is closer to KI than it is Gears/QB.

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Viqor

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Too late. The game runs between 40-50 FPS @1440p on my Fury, but doesn't feel smooth at all. Putting on the 30 FPS lock reports a constant 30, but still feels pretty jerky. Even the FMV TV show feels choppy at times (not sure why, but pausing the episode for a few seconds and starting it back up corrects the issue for a few minutes, doesn't feel streaming related for what it's worth). I'm probably gonna give it a break for a bit and hope they can at least fix the framepacing issues.

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ez123

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@mirado: I think Apex is free, not F2P. Similar to Shadow Complex being free so people would use the Epic Games launcher.

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Mirado

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#15  Edited By Mirado

@viqor: Frame pacing is real bad, making the PC's 30FPS feel a lot worse than the XB1's. And unless you have a >60Hz monitor, not even two Fury X's will get you to 60. Sorry to hear you got burned; if this was Steam you could just get a refund, but it's not, so...

Hopefully they can iron out the frankly bizarre issues it has.

@ez123 said:

@mirado: I think Apex is free, not F2P. Similar to Shadow Complex being free so people would use the Epic Games launcher.

It is, you are correct.

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Viqor

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@mirado: Yeah. It is what it is. I actually have a 144hz monitor, but running at 1440 on high settings in this game, I'm not getting the performance to hit 60 anyway, at least in most areas. But yeah, the frame pacing is super bad, especially since I've gotten used to getting smooth delivery all the time since I got a Freesync monitor. On the plus side, I plus side it got me to play a couple hours of Max Payne 2 yesterday, turns out that game is still great.

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ripelivejam

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I thought the killer instinct port was quite well done, but i didnt have to contend with a high refresh rate monitor.

I tend to take these "game is broken" threads with a grain of salt as what constitutes broken is usually pretty exaggerated, but this definitely seems egregious. Hope they actually come around to working out the kinks.

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GaspoweR

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Remember, Steam was a tyrant when it launched. UWP could work out really well, but this is definitely a first attempt cluster****.

I could be wrong but I think the Gears Remaster and the Windows store-version of Rise of the Tomb Raider also had UWP before this game.

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Viqor

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@ripelivejam: I tend to be the same way. I actually waited for a day on Quantum Break, and the reports around that time sounded like the typical dogpiling over not insignificant, but playable problems (like the game not running at native resolution). I wanted to play Remedy's latest, so I took the plunge, turns out it was a bit worse than I had hoped. I wouldn't call it completely unplayable, but it's rough enough for me to wait and hope that they can at least fix some of the worst issues before coming back.

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Tyrrael

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The first Crysis actually had the problem with not being able to reach 60fps when Vsync was on. It was stuck at 50fps no matter how low you dropped the settings. It really bugged me. There was an odd workaround for it where you had to enable certain settings and disable others, but it was never completely fixed, at least not for me.

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ThePhantomnaut

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@mlarrabee said:

Remember, Steam was a tyrant when it launched. UWP could work out really well, but this is definitely a first attempt cluster****.

While I didn't engross myself in the Half-Life 2 situation, I and many others hated Steam for having the next version of Counter-Strike only there. It took forever to start Steam and Counter-Strike 1.6 beta. The local LAN center which had 1.6 went back to 1.5 until it closed a year later because of its obvious problems like the riot shield. When it did close, 1.6 got better.

I thought the killer instinct port was quite well done, but i didnt have to contend with a high refresh rate monitor.

That's pretty much the only game within this new UWP that works for most players. Before the Xbox One's release, KI at events were running on PC. When setting up at EVO 2013, they were on PC towers running on a GeForce 780TI.

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atomic_dumpling

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Apparently there is a bigger UWP update scheduled for may that is supposed to fix some of the most egregious stuff on the OS end such as the frame pacing (which seems to behave like double buffered VSync). Personally, I doubt that.

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Mcfart

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#24  Edited By Mcfart

Remember, Steam was a tyrant when it launched. UWP could work out really well, but this is definitely a first attempt cluster****.

Steam was a 'tyrant' because dial-up was still popular, and the Steam Servers crumbled under the HL2 launch.

If you had broadband in 2003, you were golden with the Steam Beta.

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rethla

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Yep im not buying this. Theres alot of sweet talking coming from Phil Spencer but when they are actually supposed to deliver something its the same shit as always.

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Superfriend

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The forced double buffered vsync sounds like a huge issue. Most games run like crap if you set them up like this.. I mean, it would work if the game was designed/optimized to hold a steady framerate, but most PC games are not.

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Mcfart

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#27  Edited By Mcfart

@rethla said:

Yep im not buying this. Theres alot of sweet talking coming from Phil Spencer but when they are actually supposed to deliver something its the same shit as always.

DX12 is fine, as it was designed for AAA games from the get-go. UWP was designed for phone games, not AAA titles, as it was probably blueprinted under the guy before Spencer, and likely before the Xbox 1 lost to the PS4 (which MS obviously never expected).

Now MS is likely clamoring to get UWP to be compatible with porting AAA titles, as they want to to get larger returns from their software investments until they get a new console out there.

TLDR: None of this is Spencer's fault. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will probably update UWP.

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Dave_Tacitus

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With my generous head on I'd say that they'll sort things out. How late in development was Quantum Break scheduled for Windows? I'm guessing very very.

I might be more concerned if I had the slightest interest in the game (I don't) but I'd love to fast forward 12 months to see the standard of Xbone/Windows 10 ports.

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cikame

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#29  Edited By cikame
@mlarrabee said:

Remember, Steam was a tyrant when it launched. UWP could work out really well, but this is definitely a first attempt cluster****.

I feel like the difference there is that PC gaming was dying at the time, in order to be a tyrant there needs to be alternatives and at the time the only alternative to Steam was consoles, since Valve rescued PC gaming Microsoft has decided to modify their functional digital distribution platform into a dictatorship, their games are locked up, exclusive to Windows 10 and their new storefront is a retrofit of the phone version. They're doing more than stumbling to get this working, their design was destined to anger people from the start.

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audiosnow

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#30  Edited By audiosnow

@cikame said:
@mlarrabee said:

Remember, Steam was a tyrant when it launched. UWP could work out really well, but this is definitely a first attempt cluster****.

I feel like the difference there is that PC gaming was dying at the time, in order to be a tyrant there needs to be alternatives and at the time the only alternative to Steam was consoles, since Valve rescued PC gaming Microsoft has decided to modify their functional digital distribution platform into a dictatorship, their games are locked up, exclusive to Windows 10 and their new storefront is a retrofit of the phone version. They're doing more than stumbling to get this working, their design was destined to anger people from the start.

I was buying plenty of PC games, around Steam's launch, on disk. The success of the PS2 and 360 definitely pushed consoles, but PC gaming was very much alive.

Steam was looking forward, much as the original design of the Xbox One did. We were very much less networked when Steam launched, and the audience reacted accordingly. But Valve recognized that, while Steam wasn't going to launch in an environment conducive to its success, it had to go through user-tested design iterations while waiting for the inevitable Internet connectivity boom.

Microsoft is shepherding the Windows platform. They've done an awful job of conveying why we would want a universal and sandboxed OS across phone, PC, console. One major thing they want is to eschew the ever-present malware threat. Your antivirus compares samples with every other user, not to expose all of the pornographic MP4s and Photoshop cracks you've downloaded, but to strengthen its protection profile. NOD32 peers over your shoulder so it can block known malware hosting sites before it even lets you load them. Taking control away from one hundred percent of users will anger the knowledgable twenty percent. But it will allow the other eighty percent of users to avoid ninety-nine percent of their issues.

Closed platforms are the future, and that's a fact I'm not excited about. I've avoided Windows 10 for a long time now, but I'll have to upgrade when I build my Skylake in a year. People use their "phones" so much more than their lap and desktops. Our children will never edit an ini file, just like I no longer have to patch executables to avoid having to insert disks. It's the same way for cars, appliances, everything. Plastic replaces steel, welds and glue replace screws, sandboxed apps replace three DVDs in a plastic case. The future is plug-and-play. "Here's a tool, we made it next to impossible to break it by making it next to impossible to f*** with it."

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rethla

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@mcfart: I dont care whos fault it is, Microsoft is not delivering what Spencer talks about.

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deactivated-5e851fc84effd

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Why am I not surprised?

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Ezekiel

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@mirado said:

There's other weird things with the game as well, like lacking an "exit" button (forcing an Alt-F4 or for you to close the window)

What's wrong with that? I'm actually displeased more when games don't let you Alt+F4.

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The_Nubster

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@ezekiel said:
@mirado said:

There's other weird things with the game as well, like lacking an "exit" button (forcing an Alt-F4 or for you to close the window)

What's wrong with that? I'm actually displeased more when games don't let you Alt+F4.

It's not that you can do it, it's that you almost have to. There's literally no way to close out of the game with a controller. It's pretty telling that they shoved a console-shaped game into a PC-shaped hole and called it a day.

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Mirado

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@ezekiel: A PC game without an exit option is just weird, as highlighted in the article:

No quit button: This was the first warning flag that something wasn't quite right. On the face of it, the lack of a dedicated quit button seems like a minor issue. You can, after all, reach over and use your mouse to click out of the game or simply press Alt-F4 - but we feel it highlights core issues with the approach to PC gaming here.

It's not that it's a major issue, but just a great example of a game that wasn't designed (or properly ported) with PCs in mind. Something about having to hit Alt-F4, which normally closes games in a very unceremonious and ungraceful way, feels wrong.

Again, just a minor issue in the face of all these other problems.

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deactivated-5dac8b1b10957

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It really seems like Remedy compiled the game for PC and just sent the fucker out the door without even checking to see if it launched. GG, Remedy. You used to make awesome games.

UWP is dumb and needs mandatory QA. It wouldn't be cost effective, but since they definitely aren't pulling Steam numbers, and probably never will, refunds will probably be more expensive. That or the service dies in a couple of years and people rejoice, just like they did with GFWL.

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Elyhaym

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Honestly, I'm not really looking forward to having to deal with this UWP bullshit the next many years. Sure, Microsoft will hopefully fix it and it'll hopefully be great, but given their track record on "fixing" things and "making things great" on PC with regard to games, they'll hopefully forgive me for being very skeptical of this working out. I'm sure this is also down to developers having to figure this new thing out, but man, apart from KI (and even that had some kinks) the trackrecord for UWP is rather bleak so far.

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Ezekiel

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#38  Edited By Ezekiel

@mirado said:

@ezekiel: A PC game without an exit option is just weird, as highlighted in the article:

No quit button: This was the first warning flag that something wasn't quite right. On the face of it, the lack of a dedicated quit button seems like a minor issue. You can, after all, reach over and use your mouse to click out of the game or simply press Alt-F4 - but we feel it highlights core issues with the approach to PC gaming here.

It's not that it's a major issue, but just a great example of a game that wasn't designed (or properly ported) with PCs in mind. Something about having to hit Alt-F4, which normally closes games in a very unceremonious and ungraceful way, feels wrong.

Again, just a minor issue in the face of all these other problems.

Oh, so you can exit with a mouse, but not a controller. That's unfortunate for controller users, but I can't say I give a damn. Does the X in the top right corner of the app show in full screen? Honestly, that's how I'd design a PC game: Put a minimize, a full screen/windowed and an exit button in the top-right corner of the pause menu, like in any other program the game shares its operating system with. I don't find Alt+F4 ungraceful. It's just a function.

Speaking of... I find it annoying how many PC games require you to exit to the main menu before you can exit the game. It's a waste of time.

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pause422

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#39  Edited By pause422

You probably shouldn't buy Quantum Break. Period.

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fram

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Shame to hear about this, I just finished act 2 on the Xbox version and am having a lot of fun. Hopefully Microsoft gets its UWP shit together.

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deepcovergecko

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#41  Edited By deepcovergecko

@mlarrabee said:

Remember, Steam was a tyrant when it launched. UWP could work out really well, but this is definitely a first attempt cluster****.

Steam had a poor UI and barebones features, it's not the same as the games being bad ports. I didn't like Steam at that time but it functioned and Half-Life 2 worked great.

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charlie_victor_bravo

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I think that PC port was extremely rushed. The decision to push out a PC version as well was made recently when MS decided to "unify" the Xbox and PC.

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Ry_Ry

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#43  Edited By Ry_Ry

@pause: idk looks like some timey-wimey fun.

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bobblamont

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#44  Edited By bobblamont

and to top off all those issues. it's more expensive on pc then on xbox. £50 on the windows 10 store whilst £45 on the xbox digital store.

how many times do you think microsoft are going to reiterate their dedication to pc gaming at this E3/gamescom?

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audiosnow

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@mlarrabee said:

Remember, Steam was a tyrant when it launched. UWP could work out really well, but this is definitely a first attempt cluster****.

Steam had a poor UI and barebones features, it's not the same as the games being bad ports. I didn't like Steam at that time but it functioned and Half-Life 2 worked great.

Steam launched underdeveloped, as did Quantum Break. It seems like, about a month before QB went gold someone said, "By the way, we need a UWP version too." UWP is not ready for primetime, and I'm very thankful for the folks taking Microsoft to task for all of its limitations and issues, but I'm reminding people to not internally write it off.

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zenmastah

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Pretty bummed out by the state of the game on release on PC, especially because Remedy has so strong roots on the platform..and MS saying they are taking PC seriously.

I do hope that they fix it.

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thetenthdoctor

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I don't have an XB1 and really wanted to play this, so I bit the bullet and bought on PC. Guess what? It's not nearly as bad as everyone claims.

I'm on a modest 2gb GTX770 and have no problem maintaining over 30fps on Medium settings (equivalent to XB1). Yes the frame pacing is not perfect 16ms or 33ms, but two things:

1- Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 have the same frame pacing problems and no one seems to care

2- Remedy have posted today that the pacing issue isn't UWP's fault, it's a rounding error in their PC code, which will be fixed in the first update.

Otherwise, game looks really nice on a 60" plasma from about 10 feet away (no issue with the Temporal Reconstruction) and I'm already enjoying having a new game from Remedy to play.

Broken? Unplayable? PC guys need to chill with the hyperbole.

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Mcfart

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I don't have an XB1 and really wanted to play this, so I bit the bullet and bought on PC. Guess what? It's not nearly as bad as everyone claims.

I'm on a modest 2gb GTX770 and have no problem maintaining over 30fps on Medium settings (equivalent to XB1). Yes the frame pacing is not perfect 16ms or 33ms, but two things:

1- Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 have the same frame pacing problems and no one seems to care

2- Remedy have posted today that the pacing issue isn't UWP's fault, it's a rounding error in their PC code, which will be fixed in the first update.

Otherwise, game looks really nice on a 60" plasma from about 10 feet away (no issue with the Temporal Reconstruction) and I'm already enjoying having a new game from Remedy to play.

Broken? Unplayable? PC guys need to chill with the hyperbole.

Digital Foundry is probably more reliable then that one guy that says "oh quiet down yall it works fine for me so I don't get you all being pansies".

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Corvak

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@mcfart: People make up their own minds on whats "good enough" on PC, really. I haven't got too into frame-pacing stuff myself

I thnk the issue with UWP is that it's pulling everything back to the lowest common denominator, and not scaling to suit the platform it's running on. Less a unified multiplatform system and more "make everything run like it does on an Xbox".

I will however, always buy PC versions when I can, because those tyrants are charging $80 for console games now, and even paying in USD it's cheaper on Steam or to go to places like GMG.

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thetenthdoctor

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#50  Edited By thetenthdoctor

@mcfart: I love Digital Foundry, and I'm not disputing their claims. I'm saying that the frame pacing problem is not exclusive to this game, and also issues being erroneously blamed on UWP (like temporal reconstruction and frame pacing) are actually the fault of Remedy's code, which they've announced they're patching.

My main point is that the game runs just fine using console level settings at 30fps on moderate hardware, albeit with the same frame stutter that multiple GOTY winner Bloodborne has. If you aren't happy with anything sub-60fps on PC then that's one thing- but this game is far from the "unplayable slideshow" that Internet hysterics would have people believe.

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