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Assassin's Creed Unity reminds us that 30ish FPS is enough

by on13 November 2014

Performance rant

A lot of people have complained about the Assassin's Creed Unity performance on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and on the PC. TweakTown's Anthony Garreffa, the chap with the Google glasses, claims that he is "absolutely disgusted at the performance of the game", despite the fact that he has a Core i7-4930K and two GeForce GTX 980s in SLI.

Techreport has also collected a lot of reports where people rant about the low performance. They quoted a Shotgun magazine writer who reported 30 to 40 FPS with Core i7-980X system with a Radeon R9 290X and 8GB of RAM. We have to admit that the fact he uses a processor launched in Q1 2010 doesn’t help, but the graphics should be fast enough. There's a nice collection of all Unity glitches here.

Last night Fudzilla downloaded this 40+ GB game via Uplay and we gave it a try. We had a modest setup, including a Core i7 4790, 8GB of Patriot Memory, Geforce GTX 980 at default clock, OCZ Radeon R7 SSD all packed in a Shuttle SZ87R XPC. Over here we really like small rigs and the Fudzilla team uses a number of frugal Intel NUC, Zotac mini PCs and Shuttles, so you can see a pattern here. We also got 30 to 40 FPS on average, but guess what, it looks rather nice.

Geforce Experience will set the game to optimal settings and in our case it would be 1920x1200, TXAA Anti-aliasing, HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion, Environment quality at Ultra high, Soft Shadows (Nvidia PCSS) and texture quality at Ultra high. For the chaps who prefer AMD, we have a Radeon 290X that runs the game at high settings too, but just not in this 500W PSU Shuttle SZ87R XPC we used for the initial test. Downloading a game that is two times 40GB+ takes time, you know.


With these ultra-high settings the game runs on average 30 to 40 FPS and we found this sufficient. It doesn’t stutter and in case that you prefer FPS to quality, you can easily degrade the quality and increase the frame rate to more than 60 FPS. For some reason people believe that you need 60+ FPS to have a nice experience, but the human brain + eye combination can get an illusion of a moving picture at much less, i.e. 24 FPS in movies. European TVs operate at 25FPS, but many gamers claim they need more.

The GPU industry convinced everyone that 120 FPS with 120 Hz refresh rate is necessary, or even 144 FPS at 144 Hz but most people would have difficulties to see the difference between 40FPS and 60 to 120FPS. This believe came with the lack of demanding games where you had a high-end GPU that could render any game at full HD 1920x1080 at highest settings at over 60 FPS. Now in the dawn of 4K monitors, we have four times the pixel to render and 60Hz as a maximum refresh rate. All of a sudden 60Hz and 60FPS would be a minimum to run it synchronised.

I was unhappy with some of the gameplay as apparently this French guy can climb the walls at a rate that would put Spiderman to shame. It is often unclear what the game designers want you to do. In case you need to run, it's hard to estimate how long and where are you supposed to run, and if you should pick a fight or leave. Still, we just tried it, so we will give it some time. The graphics are magnificent, but the characters do look better on Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. Despite the fact that according to Clueless Gamer Conan O'Brien, Kevin Spacey has dead eyes, COD and Assassin's Creed Unity look great and are worth trying.

Last modified on 13 November 2014
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