Middle Earth: Shadow of War PC Performance Review
Published: 15th October 2017 | Source: OC3D Internal Testing | Price: |
If you were a fan of Shadow of Mordor, the simplest thing to say is that Shadow of War delivers more of the same with an increased focus on the series' nemesis system, with enemy Orcs coming with more variety, better voice acting and a lot of interesting new gimmicks.
Visually speaking Shadow of War offers a huge increase in graphical fidelity over its predecessor, especially when it comes to facial animations, effects and texture detail. This has also brought with it higher system requirements on PC, which is to be expected given its predecessors launch on much less powerful console hardware (PS3 and Xbox 360).
Thankfully Shadow of War comes with highly scalable graphical options, offering support for some advanced features like resolution scaling and a new "dynamic resolution" settings, which allows PC gamers to define a framerate target and allow the game to automatically adjust the game's resolution to maintain the player's chosen performance target. Thankfully this option can be turned off, though it is good to see console-centric features make their way to PC.
Dynamic resolutions options are often aggressive in their implementation with the technology being designed to minimise the chance of performance dips rather than to ensure the highest possible resolution at all times. Whether or not you will like using this feature will come down to personal preference.
One of the biggest disappointments in Shadow of War is the game's lack of FoV options, which is a feature that many PC gamers would refer to as standard in modern PC games. Those who suffer from simulation sickness may find this missing option problematic, though there is hope that this feature will be coming in a future game patch.
When comparing the performance of competing GPUs, like our ASUS GTX 1060 6GB Strix and our RX 480 Strix, we found it remarkable how similarly both GPUs played the game, with both cards being within a handful of frames of each other when we tested both cards at 1440p over a wide range of graphical presets. Sadly we have no RX Vega cards to continue our AMD VS Nvidia comparison into the high-end of the GPU market, but be aware that we are working on acquiring RX Vega 64 and 56 GPUs to include in future performance reviews.
Moving onto the CPU side of things we also found that the game was almost entirely GPU limited, even when using a GPU like the GTX 1080 at 1080p. Even our dual-core hyperthreaded tests show no real performance degradation when compared to our 6-core and even 8-core tests on both Ryzen and Broadwell-E, placing this game in an almost unique situation where it is almost completely hardware agnostic.
Whether you are an Intel user, an AMD user or a Nvidia user, you will be able to get good performance out of this game. Mordor doesn't seem to side with any of the major players in the PC industry from a performance standpoint, even if the game is co-branded as a Nvidia title.
When playing the game at its highest graphics options will place even today's most powerful systems under a tremendous amount of stress, requiring a dual GTX 1080 Ti setup to run at 4K Ultra settings at 4K. The game's Ultra HD Texture Pack will also require around 15GB of extra storage on your PC as well as a whopping 8GB of VRAM, which is more than almost any other modern PC release.
Even on our older hardware like our GTX 960 Strix and R9 380 Strix models we were able to achieve solid framerates of around 45-60FPS when playing the game at medium settings on both GPUs at 1080p, which is great news for those with older hardware.
Looking at the game's visuals across all of the game's graphical presets we do not recommend playing the game at a preset that is lower than medium. The game's low and lowest settings can look awful, especially when looking at Orcs up close or at distant structures and details.
In all, Middle Earth: Shadow of War offers very little to complain about from a performance standpoint, leaning toward no major hardware manufacturer at the expense of others and offering reasonable levels of GPU performance on most systems with the correct graphical settings.