The launch of Elden Ring was marked by strong reviews praising its gameplay and artistic direction, but also questions about its technical performance on every platform – PlayStation, Xbox and PC. Here at Digital Foundry, our analysis is in progress on the recently released 1.02 version of the game, but we wanted to provide some initial ideas, recommendations, and performance predictions for anyone planning to pick up the game at launch. This will be followed by our full analysis as soon as possible next, detailing the performance of both the PC and console.
First, let’s take a look at the situation on the consoles. The performance metrics we saw in last year’s Game Network test look largely unchanged on the PS5 and Series X. Both continue to offer two modes – frame rate mode and quality mode. However, even when the 1.02 launch day patch is turned on, the frame rate mode continues to run in the 45-60 fps range on PS5 and Series X, while the quality modes in each range are in the 30-60 fps range. Both devices run at completely unlocked frame rates, and much like the network test, there’s still no 30fps cap to get out of the choppy reading in quality mode. Results? Very variable performance for Quality Mode in particular, where 60fps is rarely – if ever – achieved on PS5 or Series X.
In comparison, the PS5 usually runs at a higher frame rate than the X-Series, although neither is clearly ideal. The bottom line is that none of the consoles offer 60fps in the final version. However, there are solutions for each platform that are worth considering. Xbox Series X has been greatly improved with its system-wide support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) if you have a supportive display. VRR helps reduce perceived vibration in the 45-60fps range in frame rate mode, creating a smoother experience by matching screen refresh to frame rate. This may not be a solution for everyone, but for those with compatible TVs, it’s the best option on Xbox at the moment. Series S users also benefit from VRR here. With this platform’s frame rate mode running between 40-60fps at the moment, it’s a viable option, although not ideal, given that Series S performance often skews toward the lower end of that range. X.
Meanwhile, hitting 60fps on PS5 is another tactic entirely. Unfortunately, VRR support isn’t available on a Sony device at the moment, but as with the network test, running the PS4 app on the PS5 simply drops the frame rate down to 60fps. barter? The game runs at a lower resolution – with a reconstructed 1800p resolution – and at lower grass density settings than the original PS5 version. This is basically the PS4 Pro code path, using the higher power of the PS5 to reach a more consistent level of performance. Even with these tradeoffs, running the PS4 app on the PS5 is currently the best option on any console to achieve a steady 60fps — and recommended if you value straightforward performance over higher image quality and graphical features.
The placement of the computer also deserves clarification. As it stands currently, the PC version running the latest 1.02 patch has a number of issues that will affect all hardware configurations on all graphical presets. Elden Ring is one of the software’s first foray into low-level APIs on PC and the game uses DirectX 12. As we’ve seen in other DX12 titles, there can be serious and distracting frame-time stuttering issues.
First, there is a 250ms stutter when new effects, enemies, and areas appear on the screen. These types of stutters decrease as the gameplay experience continues and the player reconsiders the enemies, areas, and effects. The second and more prevalent stutter appears to be related to loading new playing areas – when traversing terrain, moving from one area to another can cause a slight one-time frame drop several times per minute, or at worst, frame time fluctuation problems that lower the frame rate Tires from 60 to 40 years old.
Variable refresh rate monitors using G-Sync or Freesync help mitigate the level of distracting nature of some of these issues, but relying on technology isn’t a good situation given the console versions don’t suffer from this stutter. Other issues to note include the lack of superfast screen support, lack of support for frame rates over 60fps, and unintuitive graphic options that lack visual scaling. As we’ve seen with other titles with similar issues like Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Halo Infinite, it might make sense to wait for more patches before investing time on the PC version of Elden Ring.
So overall, it’s a bit of a mixed bag for Elden Ring now on all platforms. Many of these issues can and should be fixed in future updates, and we hope that From Software can raise the game’s performance to a level that matches the rest of the title’s quality. We’ll dive deeper in future videos and articles, so stay tuned.
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