The stories are true – the pirate version of Resident Evil Village improves performance •

The stories are true - the pirate version of Resident Evil Village improves performance •

The recent history surrounding the notion of a “cracked” pirate, DRM-free version of Resident Evil Village surpassing Capcom’s launch code has both fascinated and horrified me. I can accept that anti-piracy measures are a necessity, and I can also accept that their sophistication these days can have some level of CPU overhead. However, releasing a game that has performance issues due to DRM crosses a red line – something a developer or publisher absolutely shouldn’t be doing. And yet, I can confirm that Resident Evil Village on PC in its cracked form works more smoothly than the broken official version.

In fact, the compromised code fixes the two key performance issues that my colleague Alex Battaglia noted in his Resident Evil Village PC Tech Review. First, the key animations during combat – enemies retreating or rushing towards you – cause noticeable stuttering in a fraction of a second. In the initial review, we tested at 60 fps, finding that stuttering could reach 66 ms – four frames – but with an uncapped frame rate, I noted that the gel could reach a maximum of 130 ms. This is a key issue because, unsurprisingly, shooting zombies is a key part of this particular survival horror shooter. The second issue is with encounters with young girls – the daughters of Lady Dimitrescu – where their arrival in the game coincides with a huge and sustained stutter. Suffice to say that none of these problems occur in the console versions of the game.

Another look at how Resident Evil Village performed, with proof that the cracked version of the game works better.

As I repeated these tests for this part, I was struck by the fact that in the two months since the delivery of Resident Evil Village PC, nothing has been done by Capcom to address these obvious issues. However, I can confirm that the cracked version does exactly that, fixing these two key performance issues. In his NFO notes, the hacker talks about two DRM systems in play within Resident Evil Village: Denuvo, plus Capcom’s own anti-piracy tech that is said to be in Denuvo, making it even less optimal. The notes suggest that CPU-heavy DRM countermeasures come into play with these key animations – explicitly pointing the finger at copy protection for game performance issues.

And here’s the kicker: Regardless of whether the hacking team was at the root of the performance issues, the point is that in all of the scenarios I tested, the crack fixed them. Combat is now fluid and consistent across the board, with no fraction-second freeze. While there is conjecture that the pirate version of the game might miss some animations, the battles against Lady Dimitrescu’s daughters unfold without sudden swerves or sudden stutters. RE Engine gets just as good as we’d hoped – at almost console-equivalent settings with ray tracing enabled, I could play anywhere from 90 fps to 160 fps on an RTX 3080.

The success of the hacked version in resolving these long-standing issues suggests two potential scenarios: First, the hackers are on our level – it’s the DRM that’s causing the problems in the first place and they’ve got us. doing a solid favor by removing it. And if the hackers aren’t being honest with us, the alternative is perhaps even more remarkable: they’ve optimized the game in a way Capcom hasn’t wanted to do in recent months.

Original Digital Foundry review of the PC version of Resident Evil Village.

The point is, any justification for integrating DRM goes out the window if a pirated version of the game offers a better experience than a purchased and paid copy. I shared my findings with Capcom on Monday night and asked for feedback and also tried contacting Denuvo for their response. However, so far I have had nothing in return. At this point, however, I think Capcom owes its paying customers an apology, but more constructively, it urgently needs to release a patch that fixes the issues, that brings its official code into line with the performance offered by the pirate version.

In the meantime, what does that leave with the user who bought the game? It’s not too hard to find the crack on its own, which works with the standard Steam download (but appears to be incompatible with existing saves) but it can hardly be recommended. I have heard good things about the RE frame which claims to solve stuttering issues and adds quality of life improvements like a field of view slider. This is something I was not able to test myself – the injected code seemed to prevent the button prompts from appearing, making it impossible to progress in the game. That said, others report that it works . It’s hard to imagine that a mod would alter the DRM of the game, so maybe there is a way to fix this without resorting to pirate code. We are also talking about missing animations with the cracked version, which would not apply to this mod.

At this point, the ball is in Capcom’s court and I hope to see some sort of response and affirmative action soon – and we’ll keep you posted if and when it does.

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