Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora PC Performance Review and Optimisation Guide

Conclusion – A solid PC release from Ubisoft

Conclusion – A solid, but demanding PC release

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora isn’t “Far Cry meets Avatar”. For starters, both games use different engines, and both games are from different developers. Yes, both games have their similarities, but so do practically all open-world games. When compared to Far Cry titles, Avatar Frontiers of Pandora is a slower paced game that’s more about exploration and discovery than combat.

In a sense, the game is almost Crysis like. Players can approach many missions in different ways, the game is mostly in a forest environment, and as a Na’vi, players are often superior to their human opponents. That said, a Na’vi’s size and speed is no competition for a nanosuit. Na’vi are not bullet sponges, and players can be taken down quicky if they are not careful.

Avatar Frontiers of Pandora is a current-generation only game, and it shows. The game features spectacular lighting, and Pandora features some of the best forestry in all of gaming. Yes, the game doesn’t look as good as the movies, but this game needs to be run in real-time on gaming hardware. It will be a long time before we see a game that looks as good as The Way of Water.

Optimised Settings

On PC, Frontiers of Pandora is a demanding game. If you plan to run this game at Ultra (or Unobtanium) settings, you will find that you probably need a hardware upgrade to achieve 60+ FPS at your screen’s resolution. Thankfully with lower settings (and upscaling) most gamers will have a good time with Frontiers of Pandora on PC. That said, you will still need a powerful system to run this game at high resolutions and framerates.

Avatar’s ray tracing takes up a lot of the game’s performance budget. That’s why most players should lower this game’s Specular and Diffuse reflection quality to achieve higher framerates. Aside from these settings, volumetric fog also has a huge performance impact. With out optimised settings, PC gamers can achieve a 25% boost in performance without upscaling or frame generation. Add on upscaling and frame generation and PC gamers can enjoy a high framerate experience in Pandora.

AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution 3 (FSR 3)

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has one of the best implementations of FSR that we have ever seen. Upscaling gives gamers large performance gains while retaining much of the game’s image quality. Frame Generation also works as intended with well paced generated frames and high levels of image quality. Yes, generated frames are not “real frames”, but they do a lot to increase the motion smoothness of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.

The good thing about FSR 3 is that all gamers can benefit from it. This feature is not locked behind a specific brand or a specific generation of GPUs. AMD users can use FSR 3 and so can Nvidia and Intel GPU owners. While I do not like the fact that this game features DLSS and doesn’t feature DLSS Frame Generation, it cannot be denied that FSR 3 is usable by a many more gamers.

Based on Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, AMD’s FSR 3 Frame Generation technology is just as good as its Nvidia counterpart. That said, DLSS Super Resolution still delivers better results than its FSR counterpart. If AMD wants to win the upscaling wars, they need to improve the quality of FidelityFX Super Resolution. That said, in Avatar, FSR is closer to DLSS in terms of quality than it ever has been. Without side-by-side comparisons, it is hard to see any difference in this game.

Unobtanium settings for Unobtanium hardware

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has a secret “Unobtanium” graphics preset. This preset will bring all modern gaming PCs to their knees. This preset is designed for future GPUs and future gamers. When the Nvidia RTX 60 series and Radeon RX 9000 series launch, perhaps gamers will be able to run Frontiers of Pandora using this preset at playable framerates. Until then, players should stick to Ultra or our optimised settings.

While it is a shame that this preset is locked behind a launch command, we can see why Ubisoft did this. It doesn’t take much for vocal PC gamers to call something “unoptimized”, and this preset would have caused such complaints were it in the game by default. Too many PC gamers demand to play their games at “maxed out” settings, and I’m here to tell you that you can often have a better experience with lower settings and a higher framerate. There’s a reason why PC games have graphical settings, and that because you often need to optimise games for your own hardware setup.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a great looking PC game, and I personally look forward to playing more of it. It will certainly be a “benchmark” title for PC gamers for many years to come, and its technology shows us how modern GPU technology is making new games look better.

You can join the discussion on Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’s PC version on the OC3D Forums.

Mark Campbell

Mark Campbell

A Northern Irish father, husband, and techie that works to turn tea and coffee into articles when he isn’t painting his extensive minis collection or using things to make other things.

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