PC versions of console games tend to mature like fine wine. They get better with time. We have therefore taken a new look at three different games that we have written graphics analyzes of at launch.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Next Gen, Hogwarts Legacy and The Last of Us Part I have come under the microscope with us in the last week.
All of these have had varying degrees of trouble on PC at launch, and the developers have delivered several updates to increase performance and make the game more stable.
Unfortunately, none of the games are completely healthy yet.
We start with The Last of Us. The game got off to a rocky start on PC when it launched at the end of March to an unparalleled user storm.
The vast majority of user messages on Steam were negative in the first week. Today it’s about 50/50.
Frequent crashing, very variable frame rates and excessively long load times of “shaders” were among the things people complained about.
It still takes a while to load shaders when you open the game after changing something with the computer.
Fortunately, the loading time is not as long as before, but the developers must make a bigger point out of the fact that you should wait until this process is finished before you play.
Loading one of our processing power.
Even with Intel’s flagship processor, the frame rate in 1080p and 1440p takes a big hit during loading. The performance will be reduced by around 20 per cent.
At the time of writing, it has only been ten days since the last update, so I would assume that the developers are still working hard to fix bugs. New user reviews and forum threads about problems in the game are constantly appearing.
At the same time, the developers claim to have removed a long list of various problems that lead to crashes.
We haven’t experienced any crashes in our gameplay, but as always there are variations from PC to PC. Here you almost just have to try and see if the game is mature for your own rig.
You can always ask Steam for your money back if you don’t play for more than two hours, and rather buy it later.
It doesn’t look like the updates have significantly changed our performance. So far, it is only in 1440p that the frame rate has increased slightly.
The biggest difference is that the camera seems more stable when playing with mouse and keyboard. At least it’s something.
Better, but not finished
Hogwarts Legacy had a fairly smooth launch compared to The Last of Us. The game has nevertheless been plagued with weak optimization, something we noticed particularly well on our PC when we covered it at launch.
The developer released its previous update at the beginning of March.
There are particularly small, short drops in the frame rate that annoyed us when the game came out, and the developer has worked a lot on this.
The problem is not completely gone, but our new testing shows that when the frame rate first drops, it is at a significantly higher level than before.
In 1440p, the lowest FPS level is almost doubled.
There are still large variations from area to area, so the developers have some work to do, but it has gotten much better since launch. A few more updates and the game will probably run roughly as it should.
This is relatively safe to buy for those who have had the patience to wait.
Classic in a new guise
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt came in an updated edition in December. Among other things, the classic role-playing game received ray tracing, various forms of upscaling and the addition of some texture modifications.
The game has received a real overhaul.
But the frame rate is worse. Where the original version of the game now has a sky-high frame rate on most PCs with some muscle, the level in the new version is more in line with games coming in 2023.
Our RTX 4090 had its frame rate roughly halved. You can expect to halve the frame rate once more if you turn on ray tracing.
Since December, performance with ray tracing has increased by around 15 percent across 1080p, 1440p and 2160p.
Something is scurrying
The processor usage is distributed more evenly across the cores than at launch, and the performance without ray tracing has increased slightly in 1080p. At the same time, it is reduced to 1440p. Here I am unsure of what has actually happened.
It is in 4K that it really shakes.
Here, the performance of the RTX 4090 has gone from 113 FPS on average to 72 on average. I may have made a mistake when testing in 4K in December, but it doesn’t look like it’s possible to go back to the first version to double check this.
In any case, it is difficult to defend such a drastic decrease in flow from the original edition of the game. The frame rate is 57 percent lower in 4K than before the refurbishment.
In this sense, I would much rather have just played the old update with some modifications.
The section on our test route through Hierarch Square in Novigrad is among the most demanding areas in the game, but the visual quality hasn’t improved that much since the 2015 release.
In 4K in the old version of the game, which you can still test, I reach an average of 177 FPS in the same route.
The biggest problem is still here
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is basically well optimized, but has a major annoyance that has been there since 2015.
Our test bench
Processor: Intel Core i9-13900kDresses: Asus Rog Strix LC II 360mmMain card: Asus ROG Maximus Z790 HeroMemory chips: G.Skill Trident Z5 6800-DDR5 32 GBStorage: Kingston Fury Renegade 2 TB M. 2 SSD x2Power supply: Asus ROG Thor II 1200 wattCabinet: NZXT H7 EliteOperating system: Windows 11 Pro
You can expect constant drops when the frame rate gets above 60.
The frequency of the problem varies from video card to video card, but it is unlikely to be fixed. There is probably something wrong with the graphics engine that requires a lot to correct.
With the latest update, I find that the game freezes for a while after visiting a menu. It’s not the end of the world, but it dampens the experience.
Overall, I’m not very impressed with CD Projekt RED here. They still have a bit to go on.
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