Zombie Army 4: Dead War PC Performance Review and Optimisation Guide

Conclusion - DirectX 12 VS Vulkan

Zombie Army 4: Dead Wars PC Performance Review and Optimisation Guide

Conclusion 

Overall, Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a well-built PC game, offering users support for two modern graphical APIs, the ability to get playable framerates for anything recent with four or more threads and support for a wide range of graphics options. 

While we have complained about this game's use of Denuvo, this complaint only extends to their DRM's hardware lockouts, which prevented us from testing all of our PC hardware in a timely manner. If Rebellion wants hardware analysts to use its benchmark tool, they will need to remove Denuvo first, as otherwise, Denuvo will prove irritating for this market. 

On the topic of Zombie Army 4's integrated benchmark, we will note that it is a lot more demanding than the actual game. In our testing, graphics cards that get average framerates of over 60FPS in Zombie Army 4's benchmark will have no trouble achieving 60+ FPS framerates within the game. Yes, ZOmbie Army 4's benchmark is a good stress test, but it isn't representative of the game it is supposed to simulate. This limits the tool's usefulness. 

CPU Performance

CPU-wise, Zombie Army 4 should not pose any major challenges to your system. All modern gaming PCs should feature at least four strong cores, which means that this game shouldn't be CPU-limited. Even when using a dual-core quad-thread setup, we were able to achieve steady 100+ FPS framerates within our in-game benchmark runs, not bad, given the number of zombies that this game can push out. 

AMD VS Nvidia

When it comes to raw GPU performance, Zombie Army 4 has no clear preference for AMD or Nvidia graphics hardware, as the game's preference depends on your chosen resolution. 

At 1080p, Nvidia has a clear advantage over AMD, but at 1440p, AMD closes the majority of this gap and at 4K AMD gains a small advantage. That said, Only graphics cards like Nvidia's RTX 2080 Super and RTX 2080 Ti can achieve 4K 60FPS when using this game's Ultra preset. 

Overall, Nvidia's graphics cards have an edge over AMD, but this doesn't apply to all resolutions. This isn't a clear-cut situation.  

Vulkan VS DirectX 12

For AMD users, DirectX 12 and Vulkan offer similar performance levels in all test cases, though AMD's RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT do gain notable advantages under Vulkan at 4K. Overall, AMD users can simply choose whichever API they like. 

On Geforce graphics cards, Zombie Army 4 runs best under Vulkan in the majority of our test cases across all resolutions, especially with Turing-powered graphics cards. When choosing between DirectX 12 and Vulkan, Vulkan is the winner in most of our test cases with Nvidia graphics cards, with DirectX 12 sitting in second place. 

Getting higher framerates

With older graphics cards like AMD's RX 580 and GTX 1060 easily achieving 1080p 60+ FPS framerates at Ultra settings, it is easy to say that most PC gamers with modern hardware will find Zombie Army 4 easy to run. Even 3GB GTX 1060 and RX 570 graphics cards will be able to run Zombie Army 4 at 1080p 60 with some minor settings changes. 

If you want to play Zombie Army 4 on a 4K screen at 60FPS with GPUs like the RX 5700, your best bet is to run the game with a lower resolution scale of around 80%, or 90% with some tweaked graphics settings. Lower quality presets will have differing effects depending on your graphics card and its underlying architecture. 

Hardware recommendations

1080p

For 1080p 60FPS framerates at Ultra settings, older graphics cards like AMD's RX 580 and Nvidia's GTX 1060 are ideal. If you want a modern equivalent of these cards, look for Nvidia's GTX 1650 Super and AMD's RX 5500XT. 

1440p

At 1440p 60FPS at Ultra settings is achievable with GPUs like Nvidia's GTX 1660 Super or older cards like Nvidia's GTX 1070. On the AMD side, RX Vega 56 GPUs will do a great job, though new buyers should opt for AMD's Radeon RX 5600 XT. 

4K
  
At 4K, 60FPS framerates at Ultra settings are well suited to Nvidia graphics cards like their RTX 2080, RTX 2080 Super and RTX 2080 Ti. That said, lower-end graphics card options can work at high settings or through the use of resolution scaling. Even AMD's RX 5700 XT can get 60 FPS on a 4K screen at Ultra settings with an 80% resolution scale. 

---

Overall, Zombie Army 4: Dead War runs well on PC, which means that practically all PC gamers should be able to enjoy co-operative some zombie smashing. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if Rebellion starts favouring DirectX 12 or Vulkan, especially if the team starts to look into hardware-accelerated raytracing. 

You can join the discussion on Zombie Army 4: Dead War's PC performance on the OC3D Forums

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Most Recent Comments

10-02-2020, 15:28:39

NeverBackDown
Happy to see the nonbiased performance in this game. Just 2 modern APIs being used to the best degree possible and showing the barely different performance levels of competing cards.

It's also worth noting how Vulkan appears to be superior. The recent R6 Siege switch to Vulkan with Ubisoft stating better CPU performance, and having this game perform generally better with Vulkan, may actually be the fact that Vulkan is just simply faster right now overall. Plus it's also multi-platform. Seems like a no brainer currently(that is unless you want Ray Tracing).Quote

10-02-2020, 15:37:09

WYP
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
Happy to see the nonbiased performance in this game. Just 2 modern APIs being used to the best degree possible and showing the barely different performance levels of competing cards.

It's also worth noting how Vulkan appears to be superior. The recent R6 Siege switch to Vulkan with Ubisoft stating better CPU performance, and having this game perform generally better with Vulkan, may actually be the fact that Vulkan is just simply faster right now overall. Plus it's also multi-platform. Seems like a no brainer currently(that is unless you want Ray Tracing).
The Khronos groups have done a great job improving Vulkan's feature set. That said, they need to figure out how to deliver a DXR equivalent. Right now raytracing is only available using Nvidia's extensions with Vulkan. However, I hear that talks are in progress for Microsoft and Khronos to help create a more universal standard, likely by having Khronos use a similar approach to Microsoft.

Khronos has made Vulkan a lot easier to develop for with recent iterations, so it will be interesting to see how things evolve. Right now, DX12 will have an advantage in the near-term if raytracing starts to see wider adoption.Quote

10-02-2020, 19:37:32

NeverBackDown
While you aren't wrong, i'd argue RayTracing is less important than raw performance. Ray Tracing is a looooong way from being a standard feature. So i'd take the performance benefit, rather than massive performance penalties for an unequal graphical uplift.

And technically with the wrapper, Vulkan created to help port DX12 code over to Vulkan natively, you could in theory use the RT libraries already. Though I can guarantee it'd be more complicated without the official support to build more off of the ported code.

I don't doubt they are collaborating on a RT library. It's a complicated feature and reducing the effort for developers is key for them using it anyway. Leads to better implementations, shorter development time, and less money spent. Win-Win-Win for everyone. Though again I am definitely glad you are hearing of a collaboration. I would be thrilled for that!Quote

11-02-2020, 05:50:06

WYP
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
While you aren't wrong, i'd argue RayTracing is less important than raw performance. Ray Tracing is a looooong way from being a standard feature. So i'd take the performance benefit, rather than massive performance penalties for an unequal graphical uplift.

And technically with the wrapper, Vulkan created to help port DX12 code over to Vulkan natively, you could in theory use the RT libraries already. Though I can guarantee it'd be more complicated without the official support to build more off of the ported code.

I don't doubt they are collaborating on a RT library. It's a complicated feature and reducing the effort for developers is key for them using it anyway. Leads to better implementations, shorter development time, and less money spent. Win-Win-Win for everyone. Though again I am definitely glad you are hearing of a collaboration. I would be thrilled for that!
Aye, but I'm talking a 3-4 year timeframe. IIRC, Vulkan 1.2 supports HLSL at up to shader model 6.3, which falls short of DXR. Shader Model 6.3 adds support for DXR.

Vulkan's lack of official raytracing support is why only one Vulkan game supports RTX, and it was delivered very late. Wolfenstein: Youngblood. This could also be a reason why id software decided to drop raytracing for DOOM Eternal, or a contributing factor at the very least.

I think the conversation is gonna change very quickly with regards to raytracing. By the end of this year, two consoles and both AMD and Nvidia will support it.

Another factor that's worth noting is that today's RTX series will always be Nvidia's worst-performing raytracing accelerated graphics cards. Future architectures will enhance raytracing capabilities (which will decrease their performance overhead) and increase their normal shading performance.

I believe that Khronos will discuss Vulkan raytracing at GDC, but it will be a while before it becomes a full part of Vulkan (likely with Vulkan 1.3).Quote
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