Dark Souls 3 PC Performance Review
Published: 12th April 2016 | Source: OC3D | Price: |
PC is undoubtedly the best place to play Dark Souls 3, as it is the only platform that allows the title to be played at 60FPS. In Dark Souls timing is everything in combat, making the fast and fluid motion provided by solid 60FPS gameplay a must for those who want to have every possible advantage when moving into their next boss battle.
While the PC version can run at double the framerate of its console counterpart, it is still very disappointing to see that Dark Souls is locked to a maximum refresh of 60Hz, as with the right hardware the game should be playable at much higher framerates, especially for those who have spent a lot on premium GPU and monitor setups. 120Hz or 144Hz support would have been nice to have for those who could run it as a higher framerate will always provide a smoother experience.
Dark Souls 3 has plenty of port problems, many of which are something that really shouldn't be in the 3rd iteration of the franchise, especially given its popularity on the PC platform. The game does not control well with mouse and keyboard, making the controller the only user-friendly option when playing this game, though you can rebind the mouse and keyboard controls to alleviate these issues.
CPU wise this game is not well optimised, with the game relying mostly on a single system core, which may make the game unable to achieve a steady 60FPS for those with weaker Per core CPU performance. This was no issue with our overclocked Skylake i7 system but as a modern title Dark Souls 3 should really make better use of Multicore systems.
With our R9 Fury X and GTX 980Ti we found that we were able to play the game at almost a steady 60FPS throughout our testing, only seeing a noticeable drop when playing at max settings at 1440p, but at 4K both AMD's R9 Fury X and GTX 980Ti both struggled to keep the framerate so high.
Over the past couple of weeks, many sites have stated that there is no difference between the lowest and highest graphical settings in Dark Souls 3, which is completely false. While in many ways the visuals are still similar, there are some major differences that obviously apparent in the game.
First, we have water effects, and second we have shadows. At low settings water is just a dark blue pool, where at medium and higher it ripples and reflects light sources and the shadows in the environment become much more defined, where at low many shadows, including that of the player, do not exist.
Moving above medium yields very little in terms of performance improvement, with only minor increases in shadow quality and lighting being noticeable in screenshots. For this reason, we do not recommend that players play at any higher than medium, as the slight increase in graphical fidelity is not worth playing at a lower framerate.
All in all Dark Souls 3 is best played on PC, but with the framerate locked at 60 or below and the mouse/keyboard controls being very difficult to use it is a stretch to say that the PC Port of Dark Souls 3 is praiseworthy. In the future we would like to see From Software games play at over 60Hz and make much better use of multiple CPU cores, as this would really help PC gamers get a lot more out of Dark Souls 3.