Assassin's Creed Odyssey PC Performance Review
Published: 12th October 2018 | Source: OC3D Internal Testing | Price: |
The Assassin's Creed series had a lot of distance to travel with this release, not only from Egypt to Greece but towards becoming a PC game that we would be proud to showcase on our systems.
In our Assassin's Creed: Origins PC Performance Review, we summarised our thoughts on the game's performance with one word, disappointing. Since then Ubisoft has partnered with AMD, a collaboration that would hopefully allow Odyssey to address the shortcomings of its predecessor.
So; has Assassin's Creed Odyssey delivered on the PC front? No, it hasn't. While there have been some definite steps in the right direction, it is hard not to be disappointed with what Ubisoft has created here.
Many individual elements of this game are fantastic, with an options menu that is feature rich and full of tweakable options, tools like a dedicated benchmark and features like HDR support. Sadly, these things only amount to checks on a list of tickboxes, and when the game's performance isn't where it should be, we have to question why Ubisoft hasn't spent their effort in other areas.
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey is demanding on both the CPU and GPU front, with even the mighty GTX 1080 Founders Edition being unable to achieve 1080p 60FPS performance levels when paired with a 4GHz Intel i7-6850K processor when using the game's High Preset. Steady 60+ FPS framerates will be impossible for most PC gamers, especially if they target high resolutions or the game's top graphical options, which is a huge negative point for any framerate junkies out there.
In this title, there will be a larger-than-average number of PC gamers that will be targetings 30FPS framerates, something which won't feel great when using keyboard/mouse controls, making a gamepad a must for those who do not have the required hardware for 60FPS playback. When playing at 30FPS, a gamepad will help mitigate the jerkiness that is associated with mouse controls at low framerates, relegating many PC gamers to the "console experience". While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it showcases how low framerates can have a knock-on effect on other PC features.
What's strange about this title is that it can make use of all of the cores and threads that you can throw at it, with the problem being that the game cannot use them to keep framerates where they should be, even when using the likes of a GTX 1080 at a resolution of 720p. If consoles can achieve a reasonably steady 30FPS when using low-performance Jaguar CPU cores, surely PC users can keep the game above 60 with high-end AMD Ryzen or Intel Core processors? Nope, even PC CPUs with higher clock speeds, increased performance per clock and boosted thread counts will have trouble playing this game at high framerates.
Ubisoft has failed to address what was perhaps our biggest criticism of Assassins Creed: Origins, something that will make the game fall to its knees on most systems, especially those with older quad-core processors.
When in the countryside 60+ FPS performance is relatively easy to achieve on the right hardware, but walk into a city and your framerates will sink like a stone, bringing some of the industry's best CPUs to their knees. While 30FPS will be achievable on most processors, you will need an insane amount of CPU grunt to keep Odyssey running at over 60FPS, especially at Ultra High settings.
What Ubisoft needs to do is address the Assassin's Creed series' CPU issues, if not for this release for their next one. Shadow of the Tomb Raider showed us how modern graphical APIs could be used to improve CPU performance, making an API shift a must for future games in the series. Either that or Ubisoft needs to change how the game uses processors on PCs at a fundamental level.
The strange thing is that we know that Ubisoft's AnvilNext 2.0 engine is capable of fantastic visuals and high-performance levels, with games like For Honor and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Perhaps Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed teams need to take some inspiration from these online-focused AnvilNext 2.0 releases.
We have previously said that Ubisoft has taken some notable steps forward with this release, with one of these steps being with regards to AMD/Radeon graphics cards. In our testing, Assassin's Creed Origins hated running on Radeon hardware, and with the release of Odyssey, we can see that while the game still favours Nvidia, that Radeon users will have a much easier time running this release without stutters or other issues.
When it comes to benchmarking, Assassin's Creed: Origins is perhaps the most inconsistent games that we have tested in recent years, with the in-game benchmark offering a level of variability that makes it almost useless for hardware comparisons. Even with patch 1.03 removing rainy weather conditions from the mix, we found that performance variability can still have a significant impact on frametimes within the game's benchmark. Ubisoft, if you want to add a benchmarking tool to your PC games, at least make consistency a priority. What's the point in a benchmark if you can't compare your results to previous runs, never mind different hardware configurations?
Older entries into the Assassin's Creed series has gotten bad press for their sub-par PC performance, but before Origins, this was due to the power of graphics cards of the time, with games like Unity and Syndicate offering settings that were designed with next-generation hardware in mind. With these games lowering the settings to High or lower was enough for things to stabilise, with most high-end CPUs of the time being capable of 60FPS framerates. Now, the Assassin's Creed series hits systems on both sides, making a constant 60FPS unachievable for the majority of PC gamers. Not many of us have 5GHz processors with more than four cores after all.
If you are prepared to live with sub-60FPS performance or a locked 30FPS, you should be able to have a good time with Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. There is no getting around the fact that Assassin's Creed; Odyssey has a flawed released, with harsh hardware requirements and demands for 60FPS gameplay that are harsher still.
Moving forward, Ubisoft needs to see PC gaming as more than just a list of tickboxes, as there is more to a PC gaming than adding a detailed graphical options menu and a dedicated benchmark mode to every AAA release. Investing in a modern graphics API like DirectX 12 will no doubt pay dividends when they release their next Assassin's Creed game, especially given the fact that their AnvilNext 2.0 Engine is not exclusive to the franchise.
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