Posts Tagged ‘graphics’

Mass Effect Andromeda 04.12.2017 - 02.05.56.32

With Mass Effect: Andromeda, it’s a tricky thing to handle when pushing 4K specs on a mid-level graphics card. It’s not a baby, but it’s not racehorse either.

It’s getting to be an older rig now, with the high-end Devil’s Canyon Intel i7-4790K processor, 2x 8GB of RAM, Asus Z97-A board, and now a NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB OC card (Asus Strix).

I’m dealing with the following specs:

Mass Effect Andromeda
~ PC ~ i7-4790K ~ 16GB RAM ~ GTX 1060 6GB OC ~ 4K graphics resolution~ Recorded at 3840 x 2160 ~ 4K Playback ~

I’ve found this is the best compromise – a middle ground between actually running 4K at a half-decent frame rate, whilst also looking pretty good.

 

Mass Effect Andromeda 05.15.2017 - 23.58.11.01

 

This is only a small part, but it’s the key balancing combination, I’ve found. The rest of the specs are generally Ultra, except for a couple of Highs.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

NOTES TO SELF:

Mass Effect: Andromeda is fun, exploitative, interesting, and has an immense amount of subtle Easter Eggs nodding to the original ME Trilogy. It even gives you a Space Hamster again – albeit and Andromeda one this time.

What it is not, though, is stable. The NVIDIA graphics have been all over the place, drivers changing constantly for all the gazzilions of games NVIDIA has to give specific support to. It doesn’t seem to restricted to just PC editions either… but I suppose at least  with a PC you have a little more ammunition to work around it than you do with a console.

Because they’re so constantly changing, the rendering has to be modified and tweaked along with, as does my ASUS Stryx overclocking software. Balancing is impossible, because it seems to change with every NVIDIA driver update.

To keep track, I’m just going to leave my notes here, so I can find them again… Hopefully.

 

  ~ Tested with GeForce v. 382.05

 

 

KEY POINTS OF SPECS 1:
  • Medium Lighting
  • Ultra Shadows
  • Medium Post Process
  • High Depthh-of-Field
  • High Shader (Maxed)
  • Ultra Textures
  • Temporal AA
  • HBAO Full
  • Ultra Effects
  • Ultra Terrain

=> Very good colour & graphics; Minor Slowdown in cutscene

 

 

KEY POINTS OF SPECS 2:
  • Low Lighting
  • Ultra Shadows
  • Ultra Post Process
  • High Depth-of-Field
  • High Shader (Maxed)
  • Ultra Textures
  • Temporal AA
  • HBAO Full

=> Good colour & graphics; Some slowdown

 

Mass Effect Andromeda 05.05.2017 - 23.20.24.06

~ Grahics Rendering Specs 2 ~  

 

KEY POINTS OF SPECS 3:
  • Medium Lighting
  • Ultra Shadows
  • Ultra Post Process
  • High Depth-of-Field
  • High Shader (Maxed)
  • Ultra Textures
  • Temporal AA
  • HBAO Full

=> Very good colour & graphics; Slowdown in cutscenes

 

 

KEY POINTS OF SPECS 4:
  • High Lighting
  • Ultra Shadows
  • Medium Post Process
  • High Depth-of-Field
  • High Shader (Maxed)
  • Ultra Textures
  • Temporal AA
  • HBAO Full

=> Good colour & graphics; Slowdown

KEY POINTS OF SPECS 5:
  • Low Lighting
  • Ultra Shadows
  • High Post Process
  • High Depth-of-Field
  • High Shader (Maxed)
  • Ultra Textures
  • Temporal AA
  • HBAO Full

=> Great colour & graphics; Acceptable Cutscenes

 

 

~ 4K Gaming ~

PC SPECS:

~ PC ~ i7-4790K ~ 16GB RAM ~ GTX 1060 6GB OC ~ High/Ultra Specs ~ 4K graphics resolution~ Recorded at 3840 x 2160 ~ 4K Playback ~

 And these are the other Rendering Spec Options:

~ Other Options Tested ~

DA Inquisition (Cover Art)It’s release day in the UK… I got my parcels at 8.15am from a very nice posting-type person. I spent a couple of minutes burrowing my way through the packaging, uploaded the DLC codes that I had (pre-order + Prima Guide ones), opened up the box, stuck the first disc in, and… then waited about 4 years for it to auto-install itself into the Xbox (360 edition). I highly suggest that (if you haven’t done it before) you take this time to go to Dragon Age Keep and set up your past deeds to Thedas. – Unfortunately, this doesn’t directly import your past two games; instead it accesses your achievements via Origins and saves the decisions that are based on them. You must then must run through the “Keep”  to check it has all the relevant details correct, then you can import them into Inquisition.

Once I was in (having spent a long time in the “Keep” sorting the relevant details out), I spent over an hour – each – creating two characters (yes, two… the first one really bugged me… I don’t know why…) but other than that I’ve done very little within the game so far. However what I have done it’s pretty cool and fun!

It plays just like a DA game on the Xbox should – yet this game is DA by way of Mass Effect,  The Witcher 2, Skyrim, Oblivion, and (a little bit of) Fable 3 (whilst on a random detour). It’s got the open worlds, lots of snow and mountains, keeps to hold, decisions to make, chests to loot, and a castle to make pretty (very Fable 3, those last two).

The hard decisions are quite Mass Effect, too, as is having everyone stuffed into one place to talk to them (Skyhold is clearly their Medieval Normandy) and taking all your stuff you found to your resident researcher (who unfortunately is not your favourite ME mad scientist, Mordin…) to have it turned into other, more useful, stuff. You have rips in the Fade to close (straight out of The Elder Scrolls’ Oblivion), and only your Inquisitor can fix them. It’s even got “Witcher” (Inquisitor?) sense for finding loot and plants (press down LS) – but you then must listen out for the change in tone when it finds something – which is far too easy to miss. Not only does it play a lot like – and rather looks like – The Witcher 2 (only rather easier), the Inventory seems to have been inspired by it, too.

Oh, and Inquisitor jumps just like Skyrim’s Dragonborn… It’s really rather fun to find all those little inspiration Easter eggs in there!

 

Good Game, Good Game…

It is a good game. Actually, it’s a pretty awesome game. It’s Dragon Age caked with all my other favourite games – what’s not to like?

Gameplay is fluid and easy to control. The UI has changed a little, the controls have changed a little (only slightly, to make them better), and the overhead battlefield view is a great extra addition. It all adds to what makes this a better game – it’s more strategic again, and less cross your fingers and hope for the best. It’s still really hard, but because you have a lot more control over your companions, it’s much more fun and interesting. To make it all the more complicated, the main fighting takes place whilst you (as the Inquistor/Herald of Andraste, and whatever else you get called along the way) are trying to close annoyingly shiny green portals that keeps spitting out more evil things at you. Learning to balance the two is difficult – it’s not really something you’ve been asked to do in Dragon Age before. Or anything else I’ve played for that matter…

They also throw you a huge Pride Demon to conquer as your first boss fight right off the bat. Something rather mean – and very DA. All I can say is for my attempts, they didn’t exactly go very well!

One key thing they’ve added is the Resuscitation element from Mass Effect 3. If you can get to a fallen comrade, you can bring them back into the fight by holding down A (on the Xbox). It might be another thing stolen from another game (at least they own it), but it’s a damn good addition and a great idea from whoever thought to bring it over.

DA Inquisition (Helmet)

One rather annoying thing, though, is that there’s no graduated or immediate recovery after fighting – you can only regain health by taking potions. On the other hand, you can craft them as much as you like (if you have the supplies for it), and you can get extra supplies from Supply Caches or use Reset at camps. Another annoying thing is that is doesn’t pause with the Xbox button – usually the Xbox button on the controller will auto-pause whatever is going on, but not in this one. The only thing that pauses the game is by opening the Menu… so you will miss those cut scenes if that’s the time doggy decides he just has to go piddles (yes, that is precisely what happened…).

It’s also has some other rather annoying issues… like slowing right down, glitching music (or disappearing altogether), graphics popping, entire dialogues disappearing from cut scenes as characters just stand frozen, dialogue glitching – out of sync or jumping within cut scenes and conversations… Having to restart it after freezing isn’t so much fun either. Teething issues are not so much fun with new games – it’s one of the reasons I generally only buy older ones. They’ve already got the 13,000 patches required ready to upload when you buy it (cheaper).

The game also has loading screens that make Skyrim’s seem like a nanosecond in length… I’m pretty sure even the Titanic movie is shorter than them. It’s a good time to catch up on your gaming magazine reading, I suppose.

I imagine a lot of these issues are because it’s pushing on the upper ends of the Xbox 360’s capabilities (since it’s also a next-gen release – I sure hope so…). It doesn’t excuse them, but at least that makes it understandable.

The graphics are beautiful, colours are gorgeous, and everything looks amazing. And whilst this is all true, I imagine most people will probably point out is that although it might look better than DA2, it doesn’t look quite as good as it maybe should, given it’s also appearing on a couple of next-gen consoles either. That it only looks new from a Dragon Age perspective…. as I said, it looks a lot like Witcher 2, which is quite a few years old now. But all this really doesn’t matter whatsoever. It doesn’t take anything away – I still think it looks beautiful, and it’s utterly awesome.

At the end of the day, it’s still Dragon Age. And I love Dragon Age. It’s really returned to the feel of Origins, and kept all the good stuff from both games. I’m not too far into it, but already I’m in love with it. It’s got its shortcomings (in terms of teething problems as mentioned earlier), but there is nothing about this game that could not let me love it.

 

Third Time’s The Charm…?

DA Inquisition (cast)They didn’t just mix Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age 2  to make this (although they did do that). They mixed in everything. And it works (well, technically it quite literally doesn’t sometimes, but still…). The story is good, characters are strong and diverse, and the world is back to being huge  – all of Thedas this time, as opposed to just Ferelden in Origins, and only Kirkwall in DA2.

The style of the game follows more along the lines of Origins; it’s more complex and open than DA2, and with more interesting conversations. The dialogue wheel is obviously back, and, basically, all the same rules apply as before. The dialogue glitches do put a damper on it though… You can now also move the camera about a bit within conversations (they’re not all locked cut-scenes), and characters are interesting and entertaining. Like in the Mass Effect games you can walk past and overhear conversations between NPCs… and for some reason there are a lot of people searching the ground for something or other… very strange.

The new companions for this one are so far well-written and diverse. But the best thing is seeing old friends again. It’s great when you go up that hill and then… “Varric!!” (yes, I yelled… he is my favourite!). I haven’t seen yet if there are others. But you do get to hear a little of what happened to those from DA2 from Varric, which is good.

And therein lies the main point of this game – it’s the sequel to DA2. The consequences of what Anders did. You’ve been brought in to clean up his mess… by shutting down green shiny things that spit out demons at you. It’s really no surprise as to why the “DA” part of the title was eventually refereed to as “Dammit Anders!”

Of all the differences between the two games, biggest thing I miss in this one is the mirror or Eluvian in the Black Emporium, where you can change the way your character looks. It was really useful to be able to go back in there and change hair, or makeup. Or the entire face.

I also would then not have had to make a whole new character all over again.

 #gamebreaker !!

 

DA Inquisition (Sword)