Redfall Xbox Series X Graphics Analysis – How Does It Fare?

After a thorough examination, we present an in-depth graphics analysis of of Redfall on Xbox Series X.

Posted By | On 03rd, May. 2023

Redfall Xbox Series X Graphics Analysis – How Does It Fare?

Arkane Austin of the recent Prey game fame has made a return with Redfall, a co-op first person shooter that features brutal vampire slaying against the backdrop of this quaint island of the same name. While Redfall might be about working together to keep off hordes of vampires from eating your squad up, Arkane’s open ended ability-based gameplay continues to influence the game, and this is most evident in the many special talents of each of the playable cast of characters. But enough about gameplay, let’s talk about the visuals. How has Arkane leveraged the power of Microsoft’s current gen machine? How does the game look and perform on Xbox Series X? These are the questions that we will be trying to answer as we peel back the many layers of Redfall’s visual presentation with this technical analysis.

Game Engine And Overview

redfall

Much like Arkane Austin’s prior works, Redfall also utilizes Epic’s Unreal Engine – more specifically Unreal Engine 4 with this release. While it might seem rather weird that the developers didn’t switch to Unreal Engine 5 considering Redfall is a current gen exclusive. But because the game was well halfway into production when Unreal Engine 5 was made available to developers, the team find it feasible to stick to the previous version.

Despite that, Redfall puts a strong first impression with its mix of realistic and cartoony visuals. Arkane Studios has made good use of Unreal Engine 4’s suite of post processing options, and the lighting also does a fine job of depicting a night town filled with all kinds of horrors. It’s rather obvious that much of Redfall’s visual strengths come from its art direction, which isn’t much of a surprise for anyone who’s familiar with the developer’s prior works.

Character Models

redfall

As mentioned previously, the character models in Redfall are a mix of realistic and cartoony visuals – and as such, you don’t get the raw fidelity levels as other current gen releases in this department. Skin meshes and hair don’t look realistic as a result, but that has more to do with the art style of the game rather than a technical inability to deliver good graphics. The clothes are made out of physically based materials, and capes and coats have physics properties that allow them to move with the winds.

The same story continues over to the enemies as well, which have roughly the same level of fidelity as the playable characters. That isn’t a surprise by any means, because it’s common to see entire swarms of enemies being in a scene at a particular time – so render budgets have to be kept in check to sustain performance levels. All in all, the character models do look good enough but it does leave something to be desired nevertheless.

Environment

Coming over to the environment, Redfall does a great job of presenting its post-apocalyptic world with tons of environmental storytelling that adds so much personality to the whole affair. Naturally, each scene is filled with tons of props like broken down cars, graffiti on walls, and much more that help tell those narrative vignettes in an effective manner.

But even on a purely technical level, Redfall makes good use of quality assets for wall textures and other surfaces. We also get to see physically based materials for assets like leather seats, wood planks, and rocks that do a good job of replicating the properties of these very different materials. However, the game has a rather muted colour palette which gives the world a somewhat of a flat look when you take a step back and observe the environments from a distance.

Redfall is developer Arkane’s foray into the world of open world games, and unsurprisingly – there are a few issues in the streaming department. While the map loads in and out without any hitching, we did experience plenty of pop in issues during our tests. The draw distance is pretty low, and distant objects can look blurry as a result. The developers do try to mask that lack of distant detail behind a layer of thin volumetric fog, but that doesn’t do the trick in an effective manner and cracks eventually show up.

Lighting, Reflections, And Shadows

redfall

Redfall features an interesting world because it isn’t lit by one primary source like the Sun – but rather a ton of small light sources like bulbs, tubelights, sign boards, and so on and so forth. As such, most of the lighting is static and seems to rely on baked in implementation to light the scene. Of course, there are some dynamic lights as well – and they struggle with the same issues with indirect lighting as one would expect. There’s no support for ray tracing at the moment, which is a shame because it could have done wonders for the lighting in this case.

As mentioned previously, shiny surfaces are a rare occurrence in the environments of Redfall – so reflections are obviously few and far between. And what reflections are there do leave a lot to be desired. The resolution on these reflections can be pretty low, and they still utilize the same screen space implementation as seen in most last-gen or cross-gen releases.

Shadows also struggle to hit the quality mark as well, and there’s visible artifacting around the edges of shadow maps across the environment. Furthermore, shadows aren’t casted for objects that are distant from the camera, which results in an inconsistent look within the environments.

Post Processing

redfall

Switching gears over to the post processing, Redfall makes good use of Unreal Engine 4’s suite of options when it comes to enhancing the presentation with a bevy of graphical effects. Volumetric smoke is an important part of Redfall’s visual identity, and we get to see generous amounts of fog scattered throughout the environment that adds to the tension of the unknown. The fog also reacts with light, and flares and other light sources alter the colour of the smoke in an appropriate manner.

We also get plenty of particle effects while exploring the environment; throwables project beams of lighting towards enemies, while staking vampires causes them to burn which unleashes a buffet of particles. Explosions don’t look the best, and a lot of that can be attributed to the rather low quality of volumetric effects on display.

The motion blur seems to be of the per object kind, and shutter speed looks to be pretty high on the default setting. As for anti-aliasing, Redfall seems to be utilizing a TAA based solution owing to its smooth image – but that’s more of an assumption than a concrete finding.

Xbox Series X Parameters And Conclusion

The Xbox Series X runs the game at 4K with a frame rate target of 30 fps. At the moment, there are no options for a performance mode but Arkane has stated that it will be added through an update at a later date. And that’s a shame, because Redfall would have really benefited from a 60fps mode owing to its action based nature. That said, the quality mode does a good job of sticking to its frame rate targets for the most part. There are a few drops here and there, but by and large – the performance is pretty stable.

That sentiment however doesn’t translate over to the general technical stability, as we saw plenty of bugs and glitches in our tests. Most of them were pretty harmless like weird facial animations or texture pop-ins, but we also experienced one hard crash as well. It’s likely that the Day 1 patch will improve on these aspects, but we are putting these issues out there regardless.

In conclusion, Redfall has some good things going for it – but it also has its fair share of flaws. Arkane hasn’t really evolved its technical formula in any radical way, which has us scratching heads as to why the Xbox One was left behind for this release. The lack of a 60fps option at launch is also a big omission, though Arkane has stated that it will rectify that issue with a post launch update.


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