Assassin's Creed: Origins PC Performance Review
Published: 29th October 2017 | Source: OC3D Internal Testing | Price: |
Assassin's Creed: Origins has a lot to live up to, with recent games in the series being ill-received by critics and their latest iteration acting as a new entry-point into the franchise, offering reworked gameplay and the promise of better performance, at least on consoles.
Gameplay-wise Assassin's Creed: Origins is a very enjoyable title, but this review is designed to look at the game's PC performance, which is something that can be summed up with one word... disappointing.
While there are plenty of areas in the game that can run at high framerates with ease, the simple fact of the matter is that performance in the game's most demanding area is what actually matters. Most PC gamers adjust graphical settings in games to achieve good performance in all areas of a game, making these demanding areas the most important to take into account when optimising a game's graphical settings.
Where Assassin's Creed: Origins' framerates falls flat on its face are inner city areas, places with a higher than average number of NPCs, horses and other things going on in the background. In these areas, we found that the game could easily become CPU-bound, particularly in Alexandria with quad-core/thread CPUs or lower. The game's largest performance dips happen much less frequently for systems with six or more threads, though the issue still remains in certain locations, even if less frequently.
Even when looking into something simple like the Origins' default controls, some problems quickly became apparent. The game requires keyboard and mouse users to press ALT to use the game's free-running system and TAB to tell the game to mark/track a new mission/objective. ALT & TAB, see the issue here? While users will not press these buttons together often in the game, it does not get in the way of the fact that keyboard and mouse users will ALT-TAB out of the game when trying to track a new mission while free-running. This problem can be easily rectified by rebinding the game's controls, but the simple fact of the matter is that this issue really shouldn't be present in a AAA PC game on release.
Assassin's Creed: Origins is also the first Assassin's Creed game to contains a built-in benchmark on PC, which moves through an in-game city area. What needs to be mentioned that this game's benchmark mode is highly unreliable, especially when comparing the results of different users. First off, it is unable to read framerates correctly using its FPS counter in the benchmark itself and secondly, the benchmark has its weather conditions tied to the user's most recently loaded save, which means that the benchmark is not the same every time, at least after a gameplay session. Time of day has a huge effect on NPC count and general system load, making benchmarks using different time/weather conditions incomparable.
A lot of people have complained that the benchmark is more demanding than the actual game, though from playing the game with a range of hardware we have found that the benchmark offers very similar performance to demanding in-game areas within the city of Alexandria. Rural areas can be a lot less demanding than cities, which can cause a lot of performance variance in this game.
GPU-wise Origins also offers a huge performance advantage for Nvidia users, which is something that is hugely disappointing, especially given the relatively even performance shown by other recent AAA releases like Destiny 2 and Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. We expected better from Ubisoft in this regard, as it seems like this game was not created with users of Radeon GPUs in mind. Hopefully, AMD users will get a performance uplift with future drivers or game updates.
Looking at our CPU performance results it is clear that this game is calling for a lot of CPU grunt to achieve a solid 60FPS, with even our 4GHz Ryzen 7 1700X and i7 6850 failing to achieve this minimum framerate target. From the looks of it, we will require a CPU with higher core clock speeds to reach this goal or further game optimisations from Ubisoft. This is bad news for users of older quad-core CPUs or those that have locked CPU multipliers and sub-4GHz CPU clock speeds, as this will likely be your limiting factor performance-wise.
Previous Assassin's Creed games have gotten some bad press for sub-par PC performance in the past, but these problems have often been due to a lack of GPU grunt rather than CPU performance, allowing gamers to either lower the game's graphical settings or the game's resolution to hit a solid 60FPS performance target. This is not the case here, which means that a lot of PC players of Assassin's Creed: Origins will not get a desirable constant 60+FPS experience on PC, at least without some modern high-end hardware.
The real shame here is that Assassin's Creed Origins does offer a fun gameplay experience, though the simple fact of the matter here is that your mileage will vary depending on exactly how powerful your PC is, especially on the CPU-side.
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