It's game launch season. This is the busiest time of year for the games industry, and that's apparent to anyone who's followed recent launches – it's been one hit after the next. Black Ops III led into Fallout 4, into Battlefront, into Assassin's Creed Syndicate, and now Blizzard's Overwatch. The intensity of the season makes for plenty of discussion topics in the gaming news space (and for lots of benchmarking), something that GN's newest commentator is eager to discuss.

This week's biggest news items include, perhaps obviously, Assassin's Creed Syndicate & Battlefront launches, the Overwatch beta weekend, and some Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 news. Our loose script / video outline can be found below the news recap!

Assassin's Creed: Unity was the last AC title we benched, and it led us to an exciting discovery: Some games, like AC Unity did, will present a sizable performance disparity between 2GB and 4GB models of the same video card. The Assassin's Creed series has long been heralded as a standard bearer for lighting, shading, and FX technologies, emboldening its geometrically complex environments with supporting filtration and processing. Lighting and shadows propel games like Assassin's Creed to a point in visual fidelity where, without bloating poly-count beyond reason, the models and meshes look smooth and sculpted beyond the geometry's own means, were it unassisted by lighting.

Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Syndicate was made available to us last night, at which point it was immediately used for benchmarking AMD's brand new R9 380X GPU. This graphics card benchmark of Assassin's Creed Syndicate tests the game at Ultra and Medium settings across 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions. All the latest cards are present in our Syndicate GPU benchmark – the GTX 980 Ti, 980, 970, 960 4GB vs. 2GB, 950, and 750 Ti from nVidia; the R9 390X ($240), R9 380X, R9 290X, R9 285, and R9 270X from AMD.

Of most note, AC Syndicate carries Unity's legacy of truly accentuating the 2GB vs. 4GB VRAM gap in the GTX 960 cards, something that should, theoretically, propagate to other multi-size models (like the R9 380, if we had them).

Ubisoft's sales revenue for the first half of 2015 has dropped 60% as compared to the first half of last year. Actual profits have not yet been reported. In its official report, Ubisoft does hasten to add that they still exceeded their sales target, and that the company intends to make the majority of its sales during 2H15 with the release of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Rainbow Six Siege, Just Dance 2016, and Rayman Adventures.

The next Far Cry has been unveiled as "Far Cry Primal," Ubisoft's newest endeavor in a gritty, ongoing series of survival games.

Primal feels, at its surface, almost a little like Turok – just without the dinosaurs and 1997 graphics. The game sees a visit to 10,000 BCE, the Stone Age, and places emphasis on the prevalence of “massive beasts” like mammoths and sabertooth tigers. Given Far Cry's history, it seems like a prime opportunity to revitalize integration with HairWorks or other fur-enabling technologies, though there's presently no confirmation of this. We're hoping to visit graphics tech with Ubisoft in short order.

Today starts off with some exciting news -- especially for some old-school PC gamers: The next installment in the long-running Might & Magic franchise will be entering its second closed beta today. Titled Might & Magic: Heroes VII, the beta is open to all those who have already pre-ordered the game.


I don't think we've ever tested any AAA games without a follow-up “crash fixes” article. Bugs run rampant – especially for PC users – in most modern triple-A titles, and that remains true for Far Cry 4. After last week's Assassin's Creed benchmark and crash fix posts, we've returned with a Far Cry 4 crash fix guide.

This crash fix guide addresses Far Cry 4 white screens, failure to launch, black screens, CTDs, frame stuttering, & AMD issues.


Ubisoft launched all its AAA titles in one go for the holiday season, it seems. Only days after the buggy launch of Assassin's Creed Unity ($60) – a game we found to use nearly 4GB VRAM in GPU benchmarking – the company pushed Far Cry 4 ($60) into retail channels. Ubisoft continued its partnership with nVidia into Far Cry 4, featuring inclusion of soft shadows, HBAO+, fine-tuned god rays and lighting FX, and other GameWorks-enabled technologies. Perhaps in tow of this partnership, we found AMD cards suffered substantially with Far Cry 4 on PC.

Our Far Cry 4 GPU FPS benchmark analyzes the best video cards for playing Far Cry 4 at max (Ultra) settings. We tested lower settings for optimization on more modest GPU configurations. Our tests benchmarked framerates on the GTX 980 vs. GTX 780 Ti, 770, R9 290X, 270X, 7850, and more. RAM and VRAM consumption were both monitored during playtests, with CPU bottlenecking discovered on some configurations.

Update: For those interested in playing Far Cry 4 near max settings, we just put together this PC build guide for a DIY FC4 PC.

There hasn't been a game release lately that didn't warrant a “crash fixes” post, to include Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Watch_Dogs. Assassin's Creed Unity now joins the ranks of buggy game launches, though it's not nearly as bad as some of the previous titles we've worked with. While reviewing the game and performing our GPU benchmark, we revealed several PC-centric errors and crash fixes that needed swift resolution.


This quick guide will look at Assassin's Creed Unity's black screen crashes, minimizing to desktop, CTDs, lag, stuttering, network connectivity issues, and FPS drops.

In a somewhat promising turn for the industry, Assassin's Creed Unity ($60) uses almost all of the VRAM we were able to throw at it. We'll get into that shortly. Regardless of the game's mechanics and value (reviewed here), there's no arguing that Assassin's Creed Unity has some of the most graphically-impressive visuals ever produced for a PC game. In coordination with nVidia and its GameWorks suite (detailed), Ubisoft implemented new Percentage Closer Soft Shadows, TXAA, and ShadowWorks technology to soften and blur lines between cast shadows. Not all graphics technologies require nVidia video cards.


In this GPU benchmark, we look at the best video cards for Assassin's Creed Unity for max (Ultra High) settings and other settings; our test pits the GTX 980 vs. GTX 780 Ti, 770, R9 290X, 270X, and more. Low settings tests are also included. Further, we checked RAM and VRAM consumption while playing ACU, hoping to further determine the game's most demanded resource.

Assassin’s Creed has taken us to some historical, exotic locations and introduced new gameplay varieties in each installment. The newest title, Assassin’s Creed Unity ($60), returns much of the gameplay focus to the original formula: stealth, well-timed combat, and puzzle solving.


Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag offered swordplay, dramatic naval combat, hunting, and deep-sea diving. AC IV provided a diversity of action in its open-world setting, resulting in a game rarely put down.

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