Agents of Mayhem PC Performance Review
Published: 17th August 2017 | Source: OC3D Internal testing | Price: |
Agents of Mayhem can be an exceptionally demanding game on PC, coming with levels of performance inconsistency that are uncommon for modern titles. This game has the ability to bring even today's most high-end PCs to their knees, while also coming with sections that run with such high levels of performance that you will wonder why you don't have a few more graphical options enabled.
Lighting is a big deal in Agents of Mayhem, with direct sunlight and sun shadows accounting for some of the largest performance deficits that we have ever seen in an open world game. When testing the same section of the game at daytime we suffered a 40% performance drop when compared to the same location at night time, which is a huge difference to account for when setting up the game to run with a steady framerate.
As a Nvidia GameWorks branded title, it is unsurprising to find that Agents of Mayhem has a few Nvidia-designed graphical effects, like PCSS Plus and HFTS shadows, TXAA and Nvidia Volumetric God Rays. Unlike some other GameWorks titles, these settings are enabled on Agents of Mayhem's stock graphics profiles, with High setting using PCSS and Ultra using HFTS shadows and Nvidia Volumetric God Rays (Nvidia only).
When testing this game on both AMD and Nvidia hardware we found that AMD GPUs were slowed to a crawl when Nvidia HFTS shadows were utilised, which meant that the game was unplayable on every AMD GPU that we tested. This fault should have been known to Volition, the developers of the game and either removed from the game's default profile or disabled on AMD hardware altogether. Moving through options menus at sub 10 FPS framerates is highly unpleasant, even if it only takes a short while to reset this graphical option.
One other thing that will annoy users of Radeon hardware is the fact that the game lacks its VRAM indicator in its options menu when using AMD graphics hardware, showing a clear preference to Nvidia players and again a lack of consideration for AMD users.
Given how demanding this game can be, we found that certain aspects of the game very disappointing, especially when it came to draw distances. Even in the game's hub world/home base, we could see screens and other activity that would not draw in until the player was extremely close, with constant pop-in while driving in the overworld. This is very disappointing for a game that cannot achieve a steady 60FPS at 1080p Ultra settings on a GTX 1080.
A lot of performance can be gained in Agents of Mayhem by simply turning off Nvidia branded settings like PCSS Plus or HFTS shadows and Volumetric God Rays. Disabling these options on Agents of Mayhems Ultra preset yielded a 68% improvement to minimum framerates on our GTX 1060 at 1080p, which is a colossal improvement in performance without much real loss in graphical fidelity. The performance change on our RX 480 was even more severe, though that was due to the seemingly AMD-breaking nature of Nvidia HFTS shadows in this game.
CPU wise we found that this game operated best when using four cores and eight threads, with a small drop in performance for 4-core systems. The game performs reasonably well on both Ryzen and Intel-based systems, showing no real preference in CPU architecture. Agents of Mayhem, for the most part, is a GPU limited game, though dual-core users will suffer from some notable performance dips.
Agents of Mayhem is a game that really benefits from a high framerate, especially in combat where there are plenty of particle effects and fast-moving enemies to deal with. This makes the game's performance an issue at times, especially in daytime situations with lots of sun-shadows.
Those with 4K screens will have a lot of trouble playing this game at high framerates and almost everyone will need to make visual sacrifices to get solid performance, which is disappointing given the game's graphical accomplishments and fast paced gameplay.
Agents of Mayhem is a game that is ultimately let down by subpar performance on PC, offering highly variable framerates that are dependant on factors like time of day and graphical settings that are far too demanding to be recommended on today's hardware. The lack of consideration for AMD users is also disappointing, given the lack of VRAM monitoring in-game for Radeon users and the performance crippling implementation of Nvidia HTFS shadows in this game.