Assassin’s Creed Origins represents a massive overhaul for the series from a technical standpoint. Although all the games in the main series have taken place in an open world, Origins perhaps takes place in the biggest open world that Ubisoft have developed in the franchise. Now let’s get one thing out of the way. One shouldn’t expect Unity like visuals here. There are two reasons for this. The map in Unity was pretty small compared to the one found in Origins and lastly, Unity was a game that was way ahead of its time from a graphical perspective. So ahead, that modern consoles and high end PCs struggled to run that game at decent frame rates.
Running on the latest version of the Anvil Engine, Ubisoft have implemented some smart tweaks and modifications, specially in post-processing and volumetric effects. The sand effects is the standaout feature of this new game, however this is backed up by some phenomenal art style and draw distances. Character animations for the most part is fine, however crowd density is largely reduced in Origins. Assassin’s Creed Unity was the series’ peak as far as crowd density goes but unfortunately it had LOD issues. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate tried to reduce this issue but reducing crowd density but Origins seems like it is not daring enough to render more crowd. This is perhaps due to the game’s narrative setting but then again this is actually a good thing because they are still extremely buggy. Yes, Origins continues the series’ infamous tradition of bugs and glitches. Although they aren’t up to the level of Unity, they are an annoyance regardless.
I started playing the series on consoles but with time I realized that Assassin’s Creed is best enjoyed on PCs, speciallly given how Ubisoft implements special visual features specific for that platform. So it’s only fair to begin this analysis by taking a look at the PC version of Assassin’s Creed Origins and how it fares on our rather powerful test machine. The developer recommends suprisingly modest requirements. You would need a Intel Core i7- 3770 @ 3.5 GHz or AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 or AMD R9 280X and 8GB of memory. This will run the game at 1080p resolution with settings set to HIGH, as per the developer. However, this analysis is not about the game running at HIGH and low frame rates. We are targeting ULTRA settings at 1080p and 60fps. For this we use our favorite build which includes an NVIDIA GTX 1080Ti, 16GB of GDDR4 memory and a Ryzen 7 1700 CPU.
The PC version comes along with an in-built benchmark and upon running it we found some surprising results. The game largely runs at 60fps, however there were dips as low as 6fps. Furthermore, we also witnessed screen tearing and frame rate drops throughout our gameplay tests. Now don’t get us wrong. Assassin’s Creed Origins looks absolutely phenomenal on the PC and when it runs at 60fps, it’s a sight to behold. But our test build should have absolutely smashed the frame rates but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case.
So if such a powerful PC kind of struggles to run Origins at 60fps what does this say about the PS4 Pro and PS4 versions? Well, performance and image quality is where we expected it to be. To render such a massive open world with so many post processing effects, NPC behaviour, and improved LOD, the game employs a dynamic resolution on both the PS4 and PS4 Pro. The game renders at 1080p resolution on the base PS4 but we strongly believe that a dynamic buffer is in place as there were places where images would smoothen out giving the impression of a lowered resolution. On the PS4 Pro front, the game also runs at a dynamic but a higher resolution than the PS4. We got figures from 1440p to around 1560p. Unfortunately, there is no checkerboard 4K resolution here and it seems to be an upscaled resolution if nothing else.
However, the PS4 Pro has a few noticeable benefits over the original PS4, specially for 1080p TV owners. Yes, supersampling is enabled for 1080 TV and PS4 Pro owners. Besides this, the game also benefits from improved ambient occlusion, better texture streaming pipeline, enhanced texture filtering. Performance on both PS4’s are targeted to run at 30fps and for the most part they do but there are drops. However performance during cutscenes is extremely choppy and we witnessed atrocious frame rate drops during these sequences.
Differences between the PS4 Pro and PC versions are quite interesting. For the most part, the PS4 Pro version runs at the HIGH setting compared to its PC counterpart. But the PC takes the lead with high quality shadows, better asset streaming pipeline, even more detailed and distant draw distance, higher quality texture filtering and of course, a higher frame rate.
So Assassin’s Creed Origins is a great looking game regardless of whatever platform you play on. However, performance is an issue on both the PS4 Pro and PC. Although, from a hardware perspective, the PS4 Pro is the better version since it actually hits it target performance more consistently during gameplay but the drops could be atrocious at times. Personally speaking, I am disappointed by the PC version. There is potential to run the game at even more higher frame rates, specially given our hardware. So overall, this game needs patches on all platforms. It’s a largely playable experience but a couple of optimization patches could do wonders to the gameplay.