Just Cause 4 PC Performance Review
Published: 8th December 2018 | Source: OC3D Internal Testing | Price: |
Just Cause 4 has received a lot of hate on Steam, and much of that hate is for valid reasons. For starters, the game's keyboard/mouse controls are awful, especially within the game's menus, which are used frequently to adjust the loadout of the game's iconic grappler and to ship supplies and vehicles to Rico in the field.
While Avalanche has worked hard to up Just Cause 4's performance on console hardware, on PC the game has shipped with a lack of polish that is unbecoming of a AAA release. Thankfully, Square Enix has committed to addressing some of these issues with a future patch, which will release in "the next couple of weeks".
We are thankful that Just Cause 4 performs better than its predecessor in many cases, we can see that the game's graphical fidelity has been cut in some areas, though I guess something needed to budge to fit the game's beefed up weather system and the extra physics and destruction options that Just Cause 4 boasts.
Even at max settings Just Cause 4's graphics can appear to be, well, sub-par when compared to other titles. When walking along the roadside, we will see textures blur at relatively short distances, and frequent pop-in as Rico navigates the landscape via parachute or wingsuit. Even the game's highest LOD options have little impact on foliage draw distances, especially in the far distance. Square Enix has promised "smoother vegetation transitions" and "Improved vegetation rendering and asset updates" with future patches, but we can only review Just Cause 4 as it stands today.
Another factor that can be an annoyance in Just Cause 4 is how heavy aliasing and shimmering can impact the game's visuals, whether walking through a field or grass or at the straight edges of the fuel canister that Rico is about to blow up. This will likely be helped in the future with the game's future DLSS option, though this graphical feature will only apply to Nvidia RTX series graphics cards. The addition of DLSS will also make high-resolution gameplay more accessible, making 4K 60FPS framerates possible.
Just Cause 4 is one of the few games where we will recommend a gamepad over keyboard/mouse hand down, with PC's dominant control scheme putting up no fight against this game's console-centric controls. With most PC gamers using a gamepad, playing Just Cause 4 at a locked 30FPS will prove to be a great use case for a lot of users. With our R9 380 and GTX 960, a locked 30FPS gameplay is easily achieved at 1080p, offering an experience that can best both the standard Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game, which often scale to lower resolutions to maintain the same framerate.
HDR lovers will find that Just Cause 4 lacks support for this specific feature on PC, though given the state of HDR on PC displays this isn't much of a loss.
Performance-wise Just Cause 4 can be a demanding game, there's no question about that, but with some settings tweaks you can gain back a lot o GPU-time without much of a loss in graphical fidelity. Yes, 4K 60FPS framerates are beyond every single-GPU setup we have today (at least without DLSS for Nvidia RTX graphics cards), but the same could be said for most AAA games that released over the past several years on the hardware of the time.
CPU-wise, our test area proved to be no challenge to Just Cause 4, which leaves us in a position where we will stick by the game's hardware requirements. Anyone with a strong quad-core will have no issues here, with even our dual-core, quad-thread setup having no notable performance issues. The only thing that higher core counts achieved was faster load times, which only really have a big impact when the game first starts up.
In general, we found that Just Cause 4 preferred Radeon graphics cards in our test area, though at this time we do not have a Nvidia RTX series graphics cards to Turing GPU comparisons. Perhaps Nvidia's latest architecture will deliver greater performance than its Radeon/Pascal counterparts, though this remains to be seen.
When it comes to VRAM, Just Cause 4 can run well on 2GB graphics cards at 1080p medium settings, with the game's highest settings requiring around 4GB of VRAM at 1080p over extended play sessions. We recommend 6GB of VRAM for 4K gameplay, though most GPUs that are capable of 4K 30FPS gameplay at reasonable settings will typically have at least 8GB of VRAM.
If you are looking for experimentation and more of the chaotic nature that's unique to the franchise, Just Cause 4 is more than worthy of picking up. Sadly, however, the PC version is somewhat compromised, lacking decent Keyboard/mouse controls while also presenting a few stability issues (see page 3). You can get good performance out of Just Cause 4 on PC, though we can see why some players are dissatisfied with the game's graphics on the platform.
This is where things get a little bittersweet, as we have been thoroughly enjoying our time with Just Cause 4, finding a lot of enjoyment tinkering with the game's grappling hook and it's various customisation options. Just Cause 4 can be a lot of fun, but alas, we are here to look at the quality of the game's PC version and it's performance. Please look at other reviews if you want an in-depth discussion on gameplay.
In some regards, Just Cause 4 offers some tremendous improvements over its predecessor, though in others, especially on PC, we can see that the game could have used a little more time in the oven before being released. Square Enix plans to address several issues with future game patches on PC and consoles, with a full list of fixes being available to view here. We will look at Just Cause 4 again if these updates fundamentally change the game's visuals and performance.
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