Yakuza Kiwami 2 PC Performance Review
Published: 13th May 2019 | Source: OC3D Internal Testing | Price: |
The past few years have been great for PC gaming, seeing many former console exclusives come to the platform for the first time. This started with Microsoft's Xbox Play Anywhere program, which delivered the likes of Forza, Gears of War and Halo Wars release on PC, with many third parties following suit with previously platform/console exclusive titles like the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, Monster Hunter World and others.
Moving forward we expect to see more series' come to PC, with some of the latest additions to this growing list coming from Quantic Dream, who plan to release Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human on PC later this year.
Few games are like the Yakuza series, with the series, for many, filling the void that was filled by Shenmue, packing highly detailed worlds, tonnes of side activities and experiences that, for the most part, have been exclusive to Sony's PlayStation platform. While Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami are already available on PC, Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the first PC entry that was formerly exclusive to PlayStation 4, and utilised the series' new Dragon Engine, making it an exciting title to analyse.
For starters we will note that the base PlayStation 4 version of this game runs at 900p 30FPS, showcasing the hardware demands of the game on consoles. Moving to 1080p requires a 20% increase in resolution on each axis, necessitating a 44% increase in GPU performance for 1080p 30FPS gameplay. To make a long story short, this game is going to be incredibly demanding, especially as the title's resolution is bumped to 1440p and higher.
On the graphics side, Yakuza Kiwami 2 doesn't feature many options, packing a FOV slider, on-off toggles for SSAO, Motion Blur, and Realtime Reflections while also offering a few Anti-Aliasing options.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 is heavily aliased. Even at 4K, aliasing is extremely noticeable, with both the game's FXAA and SMAA option doing little to negate the issue. SSAA (SuperSampling Anti Aliasing) can mostly mitigate the problem, but the feature will reduce most PCs to a crawl, making it hard to recommend. A resolution scaler is available in Yakuza Kiwami 2, but sadly it doesn't offer any options beyond 100%, which could have enabled a less demanding form of SSAA (by using a 150% scale instead of an SSAA-like 200% scale).
When it comes to graphical options, every option except for the resolution scaler has a limited impact on game performance. This means that PC gamers can barely do anything to increase Yakuza's performance outside of the game's resolution scaler. Page 11 will show you that all other options only offer single-digit percentage improvements to the game's framerate, sometimes less.
Users of low-end graphics cards will likely need to resort to sub-1080p resolution scale values to get this game to run at 30+ FPS, with users of the RX 580 and GTX 1060 also requiring resolution scale decreased to get a 60FPS framerate. To achieve 1080p 60FPS performance levels with Yakuza Kiwami's Ultra preset, PC gamers need an Nvidia GTX 1070 or Radeon Vega 56 graphics card or higher. In this regard, Yakuza Kiwami 2 is true to the game's PC system requirements.
CPU-wise, Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a title that demands a system with four strong threads to run at over 30FPS. Ideally, PC gamers that seek for 60FPS gameplay will require at least four cores and eight threads, regardless of whether you are team AMD or Intel. Yakuza Kiwami 2 loves CPUs with high core counts, but the game remains single-thread limited if users want to reach for much higher than 60FPS. 100+ FPS won't be an option in this game for most players, at least in demanding city scenes. The era of 60FPS framerates on quad-cores (without SMT) is coming to an end, 6+ cores are the future.
At higher resolutions, Yakuza Kiwami 2's hardware demands become ever harsher, with only our RTX 2080 Ti managing to achieve 1440p at 60+ FPS. That said, we lack an RTX 2080, GTX 1080 Ti and Radeon VII for our basic gaming test suite. At 4K, even the RTX 2080 Ti dips below our much-coveted 60FPS performance target. Yes, an £1100 graphics card isn't enough for Yakuza Kiwami 2 at 4K 60FPS.
On PC there are a few factors that leave us disappointed at Yakuza Kiwami 2 on the platform. For starters, we would have liked to have seen improved SSAO, which in its default state adds a strange fuzziness to the game, presenting a film-grain like effect in some cutscenes. One larger concern is the game's inability to tinker with the game's depth of field (DOF) effect, a setting that is likely to be a huge performance hog at high resolutions. While it is a feature that gives the title part of its "Yakuza look", but I'd imagine that a large proportion of PC gamers would like to tinker with this option. Perhaps a DOF option will be modded into the game at a later date, just like it was for other PC releases of Yakuza.
So, what are our final thoughts on Yakuza Kiwami 2? First off, this game is extremely demanding, and secondly, the game's graphical options do very little to bring performance scaling to the title. If anything, the game relies too heavily on its render/resolution scaling setting, making most of the game's graphical options inconsequential. Most PC gamers should use the game's highest resolution textures, as even at 4K Ultra setting we never used over 4GB of VRAM. At 1080p even 2GB graphics cards offered sufficient memory.
While Yakuza Kiwami 2's lack of graphical options and performance scaling (outside of resolution scaling) are huge downsides, it is worth remembering that the Yakuza series is a niche franchise that has launched on PC for £24.99 on Steam. That isn't a AAA price tag, and given the niche appeal of the franchise, it is easy to see why the game's graphical options are so sparse.
When compared to the game's PlayStation 4 version, the PC edition of Yakuza Kiwami 2 are numerous, offering players the potential to experience the game 60FPS and at higher resolutions, assuming that they have strong enough hardware. Maybe more graphical options and features will be patched or modded into the game in the future, but for now, Yakuza Kiwami 2's PC version does exactly what it promises, albeit with graphical options that are less robust than we would prefer.
You can join the discussion on Yakuza Kiwami 2's PC performance on the OC3D Forums.