The DF tech review, including those all-important optimised settings.
Developer Nixxes patched Marvel’s Spider-Man a few hours before embargo on Wednesday, setting back our PC tech review, however the update was worthwhile and while a bit more polish must obtain the game fully into shape, the release you will be playing today definitely hits the location. We’ve already covered the PC version in broad brush strokes, but today we are able to get a bit more granular and provide up our optimised settings for delivering the very best balance between performance and fidelity.
Let’s quickly recap on what we’ve already discussed – and it’s really mostly great stuff. To begin with, I love the graphics configuration menu that appears before you run the overall game – it is a Nixxes (and IO Interactive!) hallmark that provides you an instantaneous ‘at a glance’ consider the possibilities and permits friction-free settings changes outside the game. Those settings include fully realised support for practically any aspect ratio, plus configurable field of view. Not just that, however the game’s full-screen support includes actual exclusive full-screen, enabling resolutions and refresh rates outside the desktop options – a rare part of PC gaming today.
Also impressive is the way the in-game options menu really works. Pause the overall game anytime and any tweaks you make are instantly deployed, enabling you to start to see the changes you have made in real-time. In a global where some problematic PC titles don’t do that and may even need you to restart the overall game, that is excellent. In writing, all the things I’ve praised here ought to be standard and second nature to PC developers but unfortunately that isn’t the case. Where Nixxes excels is where ports like Elden Ring, Final Fantasy VII or Halo Infinite flounder, sometimes spectacularly so.
And think about my other current ‘bugbear’ with PC gaming? I refer, needless to say, to my #StutterStruggle, where in fact the most major PC ports are actually shipping with intrusive stuttering – often due to ‘just in time’ shader compilation, literally freezing the overall game as shaders are compiled as needed. Nixxes appears to avoid this matter entirely by compiling during loading as well as perhaps even asynchronously in the backdrop as you play – the latter technique being the way the team solved the intrusive stutter in Horizon Zero Dawn on PC.
The sign of an excellent PC port from consoles concerns scalability – both along. Ideally you’d want the overall game to perform on a resource-constrained system like Steam Deck, while at exactly the same time scaling around the absolute high-end and beyond. First up, let’s discuss the PC version’s similarities with PS5. That starts with texture quality, that is mirrored between PS5 and PC – the high preset representing the console in both performance and quality modes. The PS5 includes a fair quantity of memory, so choosing texture quality ought to be done carefully on PC. If you a 6GB GPU, adhere to high textures, rising to 8GB for high – nevertheless, you might consider avoiding higher RT settings in this scenario. A GPU with 10GB or even more ought to be best for anything the overall game throws at you, despite having maxed out ray tracing features.
Another holdover from consoles concerns ambient occlusion. The overall game supports HBAO+ nonetheless it doesn’t seem well-suited to the overall game world – I would recommend keeping standard SSAO instead, that is a match for PlayStation 5. Maybe HBAO+ isn’t working correctly as of this moment, but for as soon as, no matter performance I would recommend using SSAO. Shifting, depth of field can be matched between consoles and PC – the PS5 seemingly in the medium or top quality range. I’d actually pick the low option here because the performance win is substantial and the product quality drop is minimal. Hair rendering quality? This concerns Insomniac’s beautiful new strand tech, as showcased here and in Ratchet and Clank – medium is merely fine here, though PS5 actually runs at something comparable to the high setting in fidelity mode. Medium could possibly be game-changing for lower-end GPUs – dropping from high to medium is really a massive performance win on Steam Deck, for instance.
|PS5 Performance RT||PS5 Fidelity||PC Optimised Settings|
|RT Reflections Resolution||High||High||High|
|RT Reflections Geo Quality||High||High||High|
|RT Reflections Object Range||7/8||~10||8|
|Degree of Detail||High||High||High|
|Depth of Field Quality||Medium/High||Medium/High||Low|
Beyond this, the overall game starts having tangible upgrades in its settings: image quality gets a large upgrade because of support for higher texture filtering quality levels, while DLSS, DLAA and FSR 2.0 may be used for both upscaling and for stabilising performance via dynamic resolution scaling. Other settings could be subtle: shadow quality is marginally improved, for instance. However, there’s scalability in degree of detail, best experienced while by walking, though ramping up the setting will yield subtle improvements in distance object detail. Tangentially linked to LOD will be the settings for crowds and traffic, though deciding on low here doesn’t remove an excessive amount of from the presentation but does improve CPU and GPU performance significantly. I struggled to see any difference in the traffic setting at all, so knowing that, I couldn’t nail down where Insomniac pitched PlayStation 5.
The largest upgrade of most? Hardware-accelerated ray tracing support. I’m pleased to see a selection of granular settings here, but high exceeds the high setting typically utilized by PS5. Building geometry boiled into flat textures on consoles are fully modelled on PC, texture quality is on an altogether different level quality, as the quantity of associated world detail – and shadows – also get fully reflected, sometimes where PS5 does not have any reflections at all. Nixxes offers PC users the opportunity to push out draw distance on objects/crowds/traffic beyond the console standard – and that ties in to the degree of detail/crowd/traffic settings I’ve already discussed. Remember that the more you push RT, the bigger the strain on both GPU and CPU.
Optimised settings are on the page within an easy-to-digest table, but ultimately, we’re considering a variation of PlayStation 5’s performance RT mode. It isn’t possible to complement settings precisely, however, and I really do wish that console equivalent presets were open to tweak from. Let’s put it in this manner: the crowd LOD setting in the performance RT mode will not correspond to some of PC’s offerings. Clearly, Insomniac made its selections carefully with a view to balancing cost vs fidelity, why not offer PC users that setting?
The ‘original’ presets within God of War and Horizon were very helpful – they showed PC users where in fact the original versions made their performance vs fidelity trade-offs and allowed users to tweak from there. Fidelity, Performance and Performance RT selectable presets would’ve been very welcome within the PC port. Still, on a Ryzen 5 3600 PC armed having an RTX 2060 Super, optimised settings offers you a 43 percent performance boost in the taxing Times Square – so when we might well be CPU limited there, the specific improvement could be higher still, according to the balance of one’s rig.
We’ve discussed optimised settings predicated on an excellent ‘entry level’ RT capable GPU – the RTX 2060 Super – but think about GTX 1060 and the RX 580, Nvidia and AMDs’ most populous GPUs? Per our previous article, we’d severe problems with these prior to the last patch however the situation has improved. It is the city traversal that triggers problems and I’d recommend a 60 fps frame-rate cap, with dynamic resolution scaling engaged. The GTX 1060 gets you a mostly locked 60fps, with occasional dips right down to the mid-50s and a worst case scenario I’ve seen of around 49fps. The RX 580 is faster – add 5-6fps to the tally there.
Overall, it’s solid enough at high settings, but lowering presets won’t do much to boost remaining stutter – that is something Nixxes must look at. I came across that upgrading to GTX 1660 Ti gave a rock-solid 60fps. Recommended settings for Steam Deck? Stick to optimised settings but drop hair quality to medium and texture filtering to 4x. Cap to 30fps via the machine limiter (not suprisingly low settings permits a locked 40fps) but in all honesty, dropping all high settings to medium bar texture quality saves lots of performance but still looks superb on the handheld screen.
One final tip for users with older hardware: although it may not focus on Steam Deck, the game’s own 30fps cap operates fine with consistent frame-pacing – select half refresh rate v-sync and you’re all set. Obviously, this implies a locked 30fps on a 60Hz screen while higher refresh displays will run at half whatever that update rate is, nonetheless it is effective, so utilize it if needed.
Ultimately, this port has proved beautifully and I’m pleased with it – however the stuttering GPU utilisation during traversal on 1060/580 class hardware and likely lower is problematic, but I’m told that Nixxes continues to be considering improving the problem even more. I also believe that the game continues to be somewhat CPU-heavy – and wish to see further optimisation there. Beyond that, we’re considering a game which has transitioned gracefully across from console to PC, offering all the standard of living improvements Let me see – and some. Let me see easy to get at config.cfg files for tweaking (I’m not sure where this file resides on PC, or whether there’s one at all!) but at this time we’re veering hard into nit-pick territory – which demonstrates precisely how impressive this release happens to be overall!