Journey PC Performance Review

Conclusion - One patch could make this game perfect

Journey PC Performance Review

Conclusion  

Journey's PC version is pretty basic, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, we feel that the game deserves better. For starters, we will point out that many early players of Journey are experiencing frequent stutters and extended periods with single-digit framerates, thanks to the game's networking issues, and beyond that, the game's graphical and control options are incredibly basic.

While the game's basic options menus can be forgiven (Journey is a basic game after all), Annapurna Interactive needs to address Journey's networking issues as soon as possible, as while a "fix" is available (see page 3), it comes at the cost of one of the game's most impactful features. Today, Journey players are either cursed with horrendous framerate stutters or cursed to Journey alone, neither of which are ideal. Right now, our advice is to wait for Journey to be patched, as playing with random Journeyers is what produces some of this game's best moments. 

We tested Journey with our performance fix applied, and with that, we found that Journey was extremely easy to play at high framerates. 4K 100+ FPS framerates were easily possible on our RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition, while even our Radeon RX 580 and GTX 1060 were capable of 4K 60FPS framerates with some minor graphical tweaks. 

Journey is a beautiful PC release, and it ships with support for an unlocked framerate on PC. Sadly, the game lacks support for Exclusive Fullscreen, with the game's "Fullscreen" option being code for "Fullscreen Windowed". Thankfully there are more than enough graphical options to adjust Journey to best suit your PC, but if you look at pages 5 and 9 of this analysis, you will see that only two options are worth changing for most systems. 

The two most impactful graphical settings in Journey are MSAA and Sand Detail, with lowering MSAA from 8x being more than enough to get most graphics cards to run the game at 60FPS, assuming that you are playing at an appropriate resolution. Radeon users will find 8x MSAA to be overly demanding, with 4x MSAA resulting in a performance increase of around 83% when using an RX 580 at 4K. Moving from Ultra Sand Detail to High will also give players a notable performance uptick, with turning MSAA off and Sand Detail to High being enough to get mid-range graphics cards like the RX 580 and GTX 1060 to play Journey at 4K 60+ FPS. Not bad for such affordable graphics cards. 

Even at 4K, Journey's VRAM requirements are low, with 3GB being enough for Ultra HD resolutions. This is great news for those who wish to scale Journey to older graphics cards with small frame buffers. 

Another factor which we will note is that Journey doesn't take advantage of Nvidia's Turing architecture, with the game being one of the few modern cases where the RTX 2060 doesn't sit level with the GTX 1080 in terms of performance. The primary reasoning for this is that Journey is at its core a PS3 title, and as such does not take advantage of modern rendering techniques, which is what Turing's architectural enhancements are designed to exploit.  

At this point, there is little to say aside from the fact that Journey's PC version is one patch away from being great. It runs well over a wide range of hardware, can extend to 4K 60FPS with relative ease and can be used on some old graphics cards with great success. All Annapurna Interactive needs to do is address Journey's networking issues, and the game is as close to perfect as it needs to be, though an Exclusive Fullscreen option would also be useful. 

This leaves us in a strange position, Journey is a great game, can offer stellar performance on PC, and is currently available for £4.99 on the Epic Games Store thanks to the platform's first summer sale and Epic's £10 discount, but as it stands, the game's networking issues are a dealbreaker. If Annapurna Interactive can address Journey's networking issues, this game is worth trying out, but until then, this journey is a lot less pleasant than it should be.

We will update this review when Journey's PC version is patched and the game's networking/performance issues are resolved.  

-Update-

Annapurna Interactive has patched Journey's PC version to address audio issues and "framerate/performance" issues.

You can join the discussion on Journey's PC performance on the OC3D Forums

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