Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time PC Port Report
Published: 29th March 2021 | Source: OC3D Internal Testing | Price: |
Conclusion - An Excellent PC version
Unlike the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy's PC version, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time gets all of the fundamentals right with this PC release. Unlocked framerates are supported as standard, the game lacks the refresh rate oddities of its predecessor, and the game has no glaring issues that make the game difficult to play on PC.
The move to Unreal Engine 4 has done the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy wonders, offering gamers satisfying visuals and better access to standard PC features. Like the N.Sane Trilogy, the PC release of Crash 4 was not a priority for Activision Blizzard (launching after all other versions of the game). Still, this time we have a competent PC release that lacks any of the major issues that its predecessor features.
Support for Unlocked Framerates
Crash Bandicoot 4 is designed to run at 30 FPS on last-generation consoles like the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, with 60 FPS being reserved for newer systems like Xbox One X, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5. On PC, 60 FPS framerates are easy to achieve on modern hardware, and 120FPS+ framerates are possible on high-end systems.
Crash Bandicoot 4's PC version has the potential to deliver the highest refresh rates of any version of the platformer. At 1080p, we achieved framerates of over 250FPS in some areas, highlighting the high framerate potential of Crash Bandicoot 4. That said, Crash Bandicoot 4 becomes fairly CPU-limited at over 120Hz on our test system, which is a factor that makes Variable Refresh Rate displays desirable.
On PC, Crash Bandicoot 4 can run at higher framerates than any of the game's console version, delivering PC gamers a smoother gameplay experience. This could make the PC version of Crash 4 the best version for speed-running, as higher refresh rates come with reduced input latency and faster player response times.
PC Settings - Don't go N.Sane
Settings-wise, most PC gamers will find it difficult to spot the differences between Crash Bandicoot 4's Medium, High and N.Sane settings. We recommend that PC gamers utilise Crash Bandicoot 4's High graphics preset, as this makes Crash Bandicoot 4's most demanding stages run at much higher framerates. This is especially true for stages like "Off Beat" and "Stage Dive". High settings will make Crash Bandicoot 4's framerates more stable throughout the game and mitigate many potential framerate dips.
What you need for 60 FPS at 1080p, 1440p and 4K
Now it's time for some hardware recommendations. What kind of PC do you need to play Crash Bandicoot 4 at High settings at 1080p, 1440p and 4K?
For 1080p 60+ FPS framerates, older graphics cards like AMD's RX 480 and Nvidia's GTX 1060 are more than good enough to deliver a stable 60+ FPS experience. GPUs like Nvidia's RTX 2060 and AMD's RX 5600 XT should also be enough to deliver 120+ FPS framerates in most areas of the game at 1080p, with some minor dips. All users of high refresh rate displays should have access to Variable Refresh Rate technologies, making small framerate dips practically irrelevant.
At 1440p High settings, 60+ FPS framerates can be achieved by Nvidia's RTX 2060 and AMD's RX 5700 with relative ease and plenty of headroom to practically eliminate sub 60FPS performance dips. At Medium settings, graphics cards like AMD's RX 5500 XT and Nvidia's GTX 1060/GTX 1660 should be able to deliver 60+ FPS framerates in most situations.
At 4K High settings, our ideal graphics cards are Nvidia's RTX 2080 Ti, Nvidia's RTX 3070 and AMD's RX 6800. All of these GPUs can deliver a constant 60+ FPS framerate at 4K High settings and spend a lot of time at 80+ FPS framerates. This presents an excellent use case for 4K VRR monitors.
CPU Performance - Does CPU Performance Matter?
Crash Bandicoot 4 isn't a game that relies on having a huge core count to operate at peak efficiency. Disabling all but four of the CPU cores/threads on our Ryzen 9 3950X processor gave us a minor decrease in Crash 4's system performance. This performance drop was so minor that we didn't conduct any further CPU-based testing for Crash Bandicoot 4, as it was not worth the time investment. If going from sixteen cores and thirty-two threads to four cores and four threads only results in a marginal performance change, it is clear that Crash Bandicoot 4 doesn't benefit from high core count processors.
At 120+ FPS framerates, we have found that Crash Bandicoot 4 is mostly CPU-limited at resolutions like 1080p, though high 200+ FPS framerates are possible in many areas. Crash Bandicoot 4 will likely run at higher framerates on CPUs that offer gamers more single-threaded performance or hardware configurations with faster or lower latency memory modules. That said, Crash Bandicoot 4 can already run at 120+ FPS framerates with relative ease, so there isn't much need for any additional CPU performance.
Closing Thoughts - A solid PC version, shame about the DRM
The PC version of Crash Bandicoot 4 has left with little to complain about. The game runs well, has eliminated its predecessor's PC-related issues, and can deliver higher framerate gameplay options than the game's console versions.
Unfortunately, Activision Blizzard has decided to include always-online DRM with the PC version of Crash Bandicoot 4, even though the game is a single-player-only title. This is hugely disappointing, but it isn't a big deal for those who always have access to a stable internet connection. Some PC gamers will also be annoyed that the PC version of Crash Bandicoot 4 isn't available on Steam, but this is only a minor complaint. It is annoying that the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy and Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time aren't available on the same PC gaming storefront.
With the game's PC release, we have that could be the best version of Crash Bandicoot 4 on the market, offering PC gamers access to higher framerates than the game's console version, excellent performance, and very little to that PC gamers can complain about; DRM and Battle.net exclusivity aside.
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