No, Nier Automata and The Evil Within PC aren’t fixed on Game Pass •

No, Nier Automata and The Evil Within PC aren't fixed on Game Pass •

Game Pass’s PC rendering got a boost last week when it was reported that its revised ports of Nier Automata from Platinum Games and The Evil Within from Tango Game Works had actually been improved over Steam equivalents. This was apparently good news for PC gamers: two critically acclaimed titles received sub-optimal PC versions, and while limiting upgraded versions to Game Pass only is problematic, at least it’s a step forward. the right direction … or is it? In our testing, we noticed some content improvements on The Evil Within – albeit with a huge caveat – while the underlying performance issues don’t look different on Game Pass versions at all. Nier Automata also has new features, but unresolved performance issues since launch remain intact.

Let’s start with Nier Automata, where the story is relatively straightforward. It’s a game designed to run at 60fps, but the original PC version has a broken frame rate limiter, which means dropped frames are common throughout the experience and that a 60fps locked is impossible out of the box. On top of that, anti-aliasing is actually controlled by the Ambient Occlusion setting, which actually has a bunch of post-processing effects, including (weirdly) temporal anti-aliasing.

MSAA is available separately, but it’s a performance hog that breaks the game’s LOD transitions, causing them to appear rather than fade more smoothly, as they do in the standard post-process pipeline. On top of that, the unmodifiable overall lighting setting is inexplicably heavy on GPU performance with little visual benefit, while many other aspects of the post-process pipeline operate at quarter-resolution 900p – the same as PlayStation 4. Almost all the laundry The list of issues in this title can be solved by the Kaldadien “ Far Mod ”, which does a great job at fixing issues and dramatically increasing performance by adjusting the overall lighting at a notional “ high ” setting that looks pretty much exactly the same.

Steam vs Game Pass – The Evil Within and Nier Automata tested.

While disappointing overall, the Game Pass version (carried by QLOC) offers new features. AMD’s FidelityFX sharpening is added (and enabled by default) while UI texture scaling is added. We haven’t tested HDR specifically, but it does. However, as far as we can tell, everything else is exactly the same as the Steam version. None of the Far Mod tweaks are included and the frame rate limiter is still broken, meaning a locked 60fps isn’t possible right out of the box. QLOC mentioned a new fullscreen borderless mode in their patch notes, but based on our testing, it’s functionally identical to the standard release of the Steam version. Since Game Pass titles are Windows apps, user has no access to files and therefore mods will not work. Put simply, this is a missed opportunity and it is always better to play the modified version on Steam for the best experience.

It’s a similar situation with The Evil Within, but it’s a port that has its own unique issues. The original version retains many launcher code issues – it’s a game built around an engine designed around 60 fps that doesn’t perform well at 60 fps, with persistent dropouts. The problem can be fixed by disabling the swap interval via a launch setting, but doing so can introduce game logic issues as the game was never really designed to run faster. Our advice? Use the swap interval setting, but cap outside, say, 61 fps. The bottom line though: This is an issue ripe for an official patch – but the Game Pass version doesn’t fix this issue at all and again, with mods locked down as it’s now a Windows app, you nothing can be done about it. Additionally, while this is unlikely to be an issue for most gamers, if the Steam version is also installed it causes conflicting issues that affect the performance of both game renderings – check out the video below. above for more details and the frustration caused during our test.

Revisiting our original PC cover for Nier Automata.

That said, there are indeed some extras to this new version of The Evil Within, which starts with an optional first-person perspective mode, as well as an adjustable field of view. The point is, when I first accessed the game, these options were greyed out and I couldn’t access them at all. It turns out that – surprisingly – these features are locked behind a connection, or at least they were for me. Yes, to use the new enhancements you must either register with Bethesda or go through the process of recovering what may be a long forgotten password. It is a totally unnecessary and frustrating situation. The features in themselves are worth it and I enjoyed the first-person mode, which is definitely more spooky – a feeling only offset by the fact that the game wasn’t really designed for it, which has leads to some very janky moments with cutscenes still going on. rendered from a third person perspective.

So, are the Game Pass versions of The Evil Within and Nier Automata improved over the original versions? The answer is “yes, sort of” as new features have been added. These are not the same games as before, but the notion of new versions of a given title deployed only on Game Pass is not a welcome development. The extras vary in usefulness and efficiency and aren’t particularly game-changing – and I feel these new releases are missed opportunities as the performance issues of the original games go unaddressed. The chance was there to either fix the games at the source level, or at least use the community mods for an improved experience – and with Game Pass blocking game files away from users, there is no possibility for mods. Overall, for Nier Automata and The Evil Within, I’d rather stick with Steam’s moddable originals for the best overall experience – and even backward compatibility on the new wave of consoles has its draws in comparison …

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