Resident Evil’s new PC patches compromise visuals and hit performance hard

Resident Evil's new PC patches compromise visuals and hit performance hard

There was some good news for Resident Evil fans last week, as Capcom posted. free updates for Resident Evil 2 Remake, its sequel, and the game that debuted with the impressive RE engine: Resident Evil 7. These upgrades effectively brought the RE-powered entries in the series up to feature-set level from Resident Evil Village, with the introduction of ray tracing and 120Hz support. PC patches for this trio of titles have also been released, but it’s safe to say that upgrades are somewhat hit and miss. Perhaps more importantly, after quality issues around RE Village on PC, it’s disappointing to see duller PC ports. I took a look at Resident Evil 2 Remake and in several ways the new code is significantly inferior to the older versions. Against the backdrop of other disappointing Capcom PC releases, it’s clear that the technical quality of these games isn’t where it should be – and gamers deserve better.

In fact, the situation with these PC upgrades has proven such a problem for so many users as Capcom quickly restored old versions, available for download via a Steam beta branch. On the one hand, it’s a positive move for Capcom to respond so quickly to the community outcry – but tellingly, it also demonstrates that the update is so flawed that even Capcom agrees that existing versions needed to be rolled back. . Newer versions are always the default download, although the vast majority of PC users are better served by older versions. In writing my review, I focused on the toughest game of the bunch – Resident Evil 2 Remake – although many of the points made apply to the other titles.

Find out what the new Resident Evil 2 Remake patch looks and works – and witness a genuinely upset and frustrated Alex Battaglia.

I don’t have much positive to say, but there’s no doubt about it: ray-tracing support improves overall quality, especially as RT reflections replace the horrible screen-space reflections found in the old version. The ray-traced global illumination is also a nice plus point, replacing ambient screen space occlusion with much more accurate ambient shading and even including local bounce lighting above the static GI for dynamic elements. However, the RT is low resolution and quality, with no upward scalability for more powerful hardware. Beyond that, another semi-hidden upgrade is the interlace/checkerboard option used by consoles and which now works well on PC, a good way to improve performance with limited downsides (mostly on RT reflection quality and transparent effects).

And really, that’s about it – if you want to check out RT features, I’d recommend this patch. However, in all other scenarios, the “upgrade” is poor and not worth your time or trouble – and it starts with performance. Disable RT and compare identically with the old version of the game and remarkably there is a huge drop in frame rate for the same image quality. This seems to be due to a sub-optimal deployment of DirectX 12, whereas older versions simply ran much faster on the older DX11 API. Tested on a GTX 1060, Resident Evil 2 Remake seems to be 25-30% slower in terms of average frame rate – an amazing situation. At 1440p, it’s the difference between running 1440p at a relatively constant 60fps or alternatively, running in the 40s on the new version. This is a damning condemnation of Capcom’s DX12 implementation and it affects all GPUs, not just the GTX 1060 – even heavyweights like the RX 6800 XT and RTX 3080 are affected.

The same visual quality, old version vs new. With GTX 1060 here we lose a third of the performance for no good reason. There is literally no good reason for an owner of a non-RT compatible GPU to use the newly patched version.

In addition to running worse by default, the older version of the game also offers a better graphical experience in several scenarios. If you’re not playing with RT enabled, the less than impressive SSAO is the only option. Oddly, Nvidia’s superior HBAO+ from the old version has been removed from the newly patched game [UPDATE: HBAO+ can be enabled – this is achieved by ensuring that the RT toggle is in the off position]. Also, the supersampling slider does not work in the new code, running and looking the same regardless of its setting. Again, this works fine in the old version. Screen space reflections – while barely impressive in old code – worked fine in the existing game, but no longer with the new version. The SSR also completely disappears when aiming the gun, which didn’t happen in the older version (and it also happens in consoles, if the PS5 version is anything to go by).

And while we’re talking about broken features, Capcom just needs to address its temporal anti-aliasing solution – which works great on consoles but not on PC, failing to varying degrees depending on the game. For example, in the recent Monster Hunter Rise, TAA does absolutely nothing. In Resident Evil Village, it seems to have some degree of coverage, but it’s a world away from the quality of effect in console games. The lack of effectiveness of the anti-aliasing solution is further accentuated by the disconcerting inclusion of a sharpening filter over which the user has no control, further diminishing the quality of the presentation compared to the generally thin console versions. .

Bugs are introduced with new versions. In this shot, aiming the weapon inexplicably causes screen space reflections to disappear in the patched version, while the original continues to display them. This is just one of many bugs discovered during our testing.

So unless you’re looking to use RT features, my advice is to stay away from new patches. Too bad the RT isn’t higher quality, but there is a way to get an improved effect if you have an Nvidia GPU. I used the Green Team DLDSR supersampling option to go from 5120×2880 to 3840×2160. However, I also used AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution in tandem quality mode. It basically goes from just under 4K to 5K and then we use the Nvidia super-sampling technique to go back to ultra HD. It seems to improve the RT quality and even the edges look slightly improved.

In summary, I’m glad to see that ray tracing has caught on – especially since RT alone doesn’t have a huge impact on performance (although switching to DX12 does!), but the he main thing is that even the sole positive point concerning the upgrade is still a bit disappointing. It could have been better – a sentiment that runs throughout the company. Capcom added ray tracing but did nothing to improve issues with the existing game – such as reduced animation tick rates on zombies, which become a slideshow with ranged enemies. This was a complaint I had at the time, it could easily be fixed, but it’s still present in the updated game. It is baffling why some features are added while at the same time outstanding issues are not fixed, while other features are buggy. All this – plus the big frame rate reduction.

After the drama with Resident Evil Village, I honestly think it’s time for Capcom to rethink its approach to its PC releases. The quality of the titles themselves is beyond doubt, but new and improved attention is needed on technical polish. As the controversies continue, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that Capcom’s PC product just doesn’t get the same level of care and attention that the console builds and to put it plainly, PC users don’t do not deserve to be treated as second-class citizens. .

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