Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is EA’s reboot of their 2009 first-person parkour game. The first Mirror’s Edge was well-received for its advanced visuals and intuitive, mechanical gameplay. For some of those who played the first ME, time has only sweetened memories of the innovative parkour-style gameplay. When EA and DICE announced the sequel, we were immediately interested -- we liked the first game most for its time trials and 3D platforming, somewhat unique in execution with Mirror’s Edge.
Like its predecessor, gameplay in ME Catalyst is deceptively simple. You run, you jump, you slide, and sometimes, you kick. We pick-up playing as Faith, a young woman who makes her living as an aptly titled ‘runner.’ If you couldn’t guess, that means she runs items and information from point-to-point, like a courier -- but in a dystopian future where private security companies routinely invade the privacy of citizens. Runners allow data to be moved about more discreetly. As a runner, you traverse the rooftops of Glass -- the city ME Catalyst takes place in -- almost entirely made of a white concrete that stays freakishly clean. Those rooftops also host a lot of ventilation, piping, and fences, all of which are used to the advantage of our parkour-trained runner. Navigation of the rooftops is left largely up to player, but certain obstacles light-up red to guide the player towards the objective.
Mirror's Edge – the first game – had some of the most intensive graphics of its time. Just enabling PhysX alone was enough to bring most systems to their knees, particularly when choppers unloaded their miniguns into glass to create infinitesimal shards. The new game just came out, and aims to bring optimized, high-fidelity visuals to the series.
Our Mirror's Edge Catalyst graphics card benchmark tests FPS performance on the GTX 1080, 1070, 970, 960, AMD R9 Fury X, 390X, 380X, and more. We're trying to add more cards as we continue to circumvent the DRM activation restrictions – which we're mostly doing by purchasing the game on multiple accounts (update: we were able to get around the limitations with two codes, and it seems that the activation limitation expires after just 24 hours). The video card benchmark looks at performance scaling between High, Ultra, and “Hyper” settings, and runs the tests for 1080p (Ultra), 1440p (Ultra), and 4K (High), with a splash of 1080p/Hyper tests.
We've also looked briefly into VRAM consumption (further below) and have defined some of the core game graphics settings.
AMD was first-to-market with Doom-ready drivers, but exhibited exceptionally poor performance with a few of its cards. The R9 390X was one of those, being outperformed massively (~40%) by the GTX 970, and nearly matched by the GTX 960 at 1080p. If it's not apparent by the price difference between the two, that's unacceptable; the hardware of the R9 390X should effortlessly outperform the GTX 960, a budget-class card, and it just wasn't happening. Shortly after the game launched and AMD posted its initial driver set (16.5.2), a hotfix (184.108.40.206) was released to resolve performance issues on the R9 390 series cards.
We had a moment to re-benchmark DOOM using the latest drivers between our GTX 1080 Hybrid experiment and current travel to Asia. The good news: AMD's R9 390X has improved performance substantially – about 26% in some tests – and seem to be doing better. Other cards were unaffected by this hot fix (though we did test), so don't expect a performance gain out of your 380X, Fury X, or similar non-390-series device.
Note: These charts now include the GTX 1080 and its overclocked performance.
Doom is one of PC gaming’s most celebrated titles. A flagship title and pioneer of the FPS genre, Doom established first-person shooters as one of the most prolific genres in gaming. Despite this, the franchise is almost 23 years old -- and that age bears with it a need to update. A whole generation of gamers weren’t even born when the first and second games were released (1993 and 1994). The third title was fairly well-received, but didn’t seem to have the same impact and staying power as its older brothers. Now, eleven years after the eponymous film, the fourth installment has been launched, simply named “DOOM” (caps optional). This is effectively Doom 4.
Doom carries a lot of stature with its name, but it’s being launched into crowded waters. Id Software has always put an emphasis on singleplayer when it comes to the Doom titles; the focus on multiplayer was left to their Quake titles. If it was Doom that made FPS games popular, it was Quake that made competitive gaming and online twitch play popular. The most popular FPS games around today are vastly different than the twitch shooters of old. Like classic twitch shooters, games like Call of Duty still place a heavy emphasis on mobility, speed, and reflexes; unlike the older games, however, games like CoD put more emphasis on what happens in-between games. Building a loadout/class and unlocking weapons plays significantly into how progression and staying power are managed. Regenerating health means encounters with other players are more likely to be fair, and the wondrous world of pickups has been all but abandoned.
Like most games, id Software's Doom greeted launch day with its share of bugs and crash-to-desktop issues. To some extent, it's permissible – games are hard to make, there's a million hardware configurations (we benchmarked Doom on several GPU configs over here), and developers are under serious deadline pressure lest they risk missing the market timing. But that doesn't make it easier for gamers to deal with – particularly after spending $60 on a dysfunctional product.
Having put Doom through the ringer with several hardware configurations, we've seen the most common issues and have found the solutions. This quick guide contains Doom 4 crash fixes, FPS drops, and FPS locks.
Following our GTX 1080 coverage of DOOM – and preempting the eventual review – we spent the time to execute GPU benchmarks of id Software's DOOM. The new FPS boasts high-fidelity visuals and fast-paced, Quake-era gameplay mechanics. Histrionic explosions dot Doom's hellscape, overblown only by its omnipresent red tint and magma flows. The game is heavy on particle effects and post-processing, performing much of its crunching toward the back of the GPU pipeline (after geometry and rasterization).
Geometry isn't particularly complex, with the game's indoor settings comprised almost entirely of labyrinthine corridors and rooms. Framerate fluctuates heavily; the more lighting effects and particle simulation in the camera frustum, the greater the swings in FPS as players emerge into or depart from lava-filled chambers and other areas of post-FX interest.
In this Doom graphics card benchmark, we test the framerate (FPS) of various GPUs in the new Doom “4” game, including the GTX 980 Ti, 980, 970, Fury X, 390X, 380X, and more. We'll briefly define game graphics settings first; game graphics definitions include brief discussion on TSSAA, directional occlusion quality, shadows, and more.
Note: Doom will soon add support for Vulkan. It's not here yet, but we've been told to expect Vulkan support within a few weeks of launch. All current tests were executed with OpenGL. We will revisit for Vulkan once the API is enabled.
Before Rainbow Six: Siege launched, it seemed like the game had some real momentum behind it -- even potential as a competitive shooter. Counter Strike: Global Offensive has also been making waves in the eSports scene; last year, ESL Cologne set the record for most viewers on a single stream with 1.3 million watching CS:GO. There is real demand for tactical, team-based shooters.
The team at Giant Enemy Crab are currently looking to fulfill that desire with upcoming title “Due Process.” Comprised of around nine people, Giant Enemy Crab have been putting Due Process together for around a year and a half now. We recently had a hands-on gameplay session with Due Process, joined by GN Hardware Editor Patrick Stone and members of the Giant Enemy Crab team.
The freshman effort from studio Fool’s Theory looks promising. A small group of seasoned game developers that comprise the studio has been together now for about a year – including former CD Projekt Red (The Witcher) team members – and PAX East 2016 offered our first look at their game, Seven: The Days Long Gone. The Polish group set out to do something they said “no one has done,” which was to create an isometric, parkour-style, jump-and-climb action RPG. We got the chance to play Seven: The Days Long Gone, an Unreal Engine game, and speak with project lead Jakub Rokosz at PAX East.
The game takes place in a “beyond post-apocalyptic” future where mankind is slowly rebuilding. The plateau of Peh begins our story, and players get to explore the Empire of Vetrall throughout the campaign. We were placed in the game as protagonist Teriel the thief, but were informed that Fool's Theory also intends to allow players to choose their own character when the game is complete. Teriel is possessed by a demon, Artanak, who has an agenda of his own. The demon and its host work together to learn about the Empire of Vetrall, aiming to discover much about the ancient world and its secrets. Gamers can expect about 10 hours of campaign play with many more added, assuming all the side quests and adventures are also completed.
Torn Banner's Mirage: Arcane Warfare made its inaugural press tour at GDC a few weeks ago, but we weren't allowed to play it until last weekend's PAX East. Previewing a mechanically deep game from a show floor environment is always difficult – you've got a few minutes to figure out the controls, and it's normally just enough to get a good “base feeling” for the heart of the game. That's it, though, and there's little to be learned in the form of combat or mechanics intricacies.
We previewed Mirage: Arcane Warfare gameplay at PAX East in a full multiplayer match, managing to play each class at least once between the two of us. One class remained locked, but the rest were open to play.