Zombie Army 4: Dead War PC Performance Review and Optimisation Guide
Published: 10th February 2020 | Source: OC3D Internal Testing | Price: |
Overall, Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a well-built PC game, offering users support for two modern graphical APIs, the ability to get playable framerates for anything recent with four or more threads and support for a wide range of graphics options.
While we have complained about this game's use of Denuvo, this complaint only extends to their DRM's hardware lockouts, which prevented us from testing all of our PC hardware in a timely manner. If Rebellion wants hardware analysts to use its benchmark tool, they will need to remove Denuvo first, as otherwise, Denuvo will prove irritating for this market.
On the topic of Zombie Army 4's integrated benchmark, we will note that it is a lot more demanding than the actual game. In our testing, graphics cards that get average framerates of over 60FPS in Zombie Army 4's benchmark will have no trouble achieving 60+ FPS framerates within the game. Yes, ZOmbie Army 4's benchmark is a good stress test, but it isn't representative of the game it is supposed to simulate. This limits the tool's usefulness.
CPU-wise, Zombie Army 4 should not pose any major challenges to your system. All modern gaming PCs should feature at least four strong cores, which means that this game shouldn't be CPU-limited. Even when using a dual-core quad-thread setup, we were able to achieve steady 100+ FPS framerates within our in-game benchmark runs, not bad, given the number of zombies that this game can push out.
AMD VS Nvidia
When it comes to raw GPU performance, Zombie Army 4 has no clear preference for AMD or Nvidia graphics hardware, as the game's preference depends on your chosen resolution.
At 1080p, Nvidia has a clear advantage over AMD, but at 1440p, AMD closes the majority of this gap and at 4K AMD gains a small advantage. That said, Only graphics cards like Nvidia's RTX 2080 Super and RTX 2080 Ti can achieve 4K 60FPS when using this game's Ultra preset.
Overall, Nvidia's graphics cards have an edge over AMD, but this doesn't apply to all resolutions. This isn't a clear-cut situation.
Vulkan VS DirectX 12
For AMD users, DirectX 12 and Vulkan offer similar performance levels in all test cases, though AMD's RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT do gain notable advantages under Vulkan at 4K. Overall, AMD users can simply choose whichever API they like.
On Geforce graphics cards, Zombie Army 4 runs best under Vulkan in the majority of our test cases across all resolutions, especially with Turing-powered graphics cards. When choosing between DirectX 12 and Vulkan, Vulkan is the winner in most of our test cases with Nvidia graphics cards, with DirectX 12 sitting in second place.
Getting higher framerates
With older graphics cards like AMD's RX 580 and GTX 1060 easily achieving 1080p 60+ FPS framerates at Ultra settings, it is easy to say that most PC gamers with modern hardware will find Zombie Army 4 easy to run. Even 3GB GTX 1060 and RX 570 graphics cards will be able to run Zombie Army 4 at 1080p 60 with some minor settings changes.
If you want to play Zombie Army 4 on a 4K screen at 60FPS with GPUs like the RX 5700, your best bet is to run the game with a lower resolution scale of around 80%, or 90% with some tweaked graphics settings. Lower quality presets will have differing effects depending on your graphics card and its underlying architecture.
For 1080p 60FPS framerates at Ultra settings, older graphics cards like AMD's RX 580 and Nvidia's GTX 1060 are ideal. If you want a modern equivalent of these cards, look for Nvidia's GTX 1650 Super and AMD's RX 5500XT.
At 1440p 60FPS at Ultra settings is achievable with GPUs like Nvidia's GTX 1660 Super or older cards like Nvidia's GTX 1070. On the AMD side, RX Vega 56 GPUs will do a great job, though new buyers should opt for AMD's Radeon RX 5600 XT.
At 4K, 60FPS framerates at Ultra settings are well suited to Nvidia graphics cards like their RTX 2080, RTX 2080 Super and RTX 2080 Ti. That said, lower-end graphics card options can work at high settings or through the use of resolution scaling. Even AMD's RX 5700 XT can get 60 FPS on a 4K screen at Ultra settings with an 80% resolution scale.
Overall, Zombie Army 4: Dead War runs well on PC, which means that practically all PC gamers should be able to enjoy co-operative some zombie smashing. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if Rebellion starts favouring DirectX 12 or Vulkan, especially if the team starts to look into hardware-accelerated raytracing.
You can join the discussion on Zombie Army 4: Dead War's PC performance on the OC3D Forums.