Sekiro Shadows Die Twice is finally here and to no one’s surprise, From Software’s latest offering is a winner. Featuring intriguing combat mechanics and brutal difficulty, Sekiro Shadows Die Twice will mercilessly punish you even for the slightest mistake. Death will be a common occurrence in this game and we died a lot while performing this technical analysis. So, we will appreciate your understanding in this regard if you see any embarrassing gameplay in this analysis! As usual we tested the leading versions of Sekiro which includes the PC, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions. So, how does the game perform on these platforms and what kind of resolution and frame rates can we expect? We cover that and a lot more in this analysis, so, let’s get started!
On the console front, we analyzed the game’s performance by taking some sample scenes from the game and running it through trdrop, an open source software. Note that this tool gives us a mere demonstration of the game’s performance, because an exact 1:1 representation of performance can only be provided by the developers themselves since they have access to vast of array of tools and profilers. Sekiro Shadows Die Twice runs at an unlocked frame rate on both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, and to be honest, in a game which requires precision combat, this is simply unacceptable.
The PS4 Pro version runs anywhere from 35 to 50 frames per second with a substantial port of our test clip running anywhere between 40 to 45 frames per second. On the other hand, the Xbox One X version runs the game anywhere from 35 to 42 frames per second with a noticeable portion running between 35 to 37 frames per second. We are not big fans of unlocked frame rates and that too in a game like Sekiro where precision-based combat is the order of the day. The developers could have easily opted for a performance mode for a locked 1080p and 60 frames per second experience or even better, just lock it at 30 frame per second. Unfortunately, neither solution exists and given From Software’s history with previous titles and performance optimization, there is next to no hope that this will be fixed. Hopefully, we will be proven wrong in the future in this regard.
On the resolution front, there isn’t much to differentiate between the two versions. The Xbox One X hands out a native 3200 X 1800 resolution but the case on the PS4 Pro is rather interesting. At first glance the game seems to be running at the same resolution as the Xbox One X but on-screen artifacts strongly suggest that the game engine is using a reconstruction technique on the PS4 Pro. The end resolution on the PS4 Pro is still the same, but the Xbox One X looks a bit better in this regard due to native support.
Other than the performance and resolution differences, there isn’t much to separate the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions. The Xbox One X, however, does have better shadows and may be better texture filtering in some places but we are largely looking at the same core assets package across both versions.
So, from a performance perspective, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions are a bit of a mixed bag but how does the PC version hold up? Before, we answer that question let’s take a look at the PC version’s recommended hardware requirements. The developers recommend an Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD Ryzen 5 1400, 8GB of memory, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 570. Our test PC includes a GTX 1080Ti, 16GB of GDDR4 memory and Ryzen 1700 CPU.
The PC version includes a reasonable amount of graphical settings which includes the likes of Texture Quality, Shadow Quality, Effects Quality, Lighting Quality, Volumetric Quality, Shader Quality, Reflections Quality and a few other options. Note that the PC version doesn’t support unlocked frame rates but there are a mods that will do that for you. Sekiro Shadows Die Twice ran at a locked 60 frames per second on our test PC, and there weren’t any noticeable frame rate drops in our test scenes. Between the PC, Xbox One X and PS4 Pro versions, the gap is subtle with the PC version taking the lead with better shadow quality compared to the PS4 Pro. The Xbox One X’s shadow quality seems to be closer to the PC version. The PC version also has overall better texture filtering along with reflection quality but overall, as noted before, there isn’t much to choose here.
We also wanted to briefly talk about the game’s engine. Sekiro Shadows Die Twice seems to be using the same engine that powered Dark Souls 3 but there are some subtle improvements on board. The very first thing you will notice is that From Software have included a reasonable anti-aliasing solution. TAA is implemented across all three platforms and it significantly improves image quality by a noticeable margin.
There also seems to be an uptick in terms of material shaders used across the game’s world. This can be noticed through the snow particles which are scattered across some levels. The lighting seems to have undergone a slight overhaul to represent the game’s setting. Gone is the dark look and feel of the Dark Souls series and instead we now have vibrant and rich environments all backed up by physical based lighting. There are some complaints among some fans that the game doesn’t look as detailed as Dark Souls 3. This is true to a certain extent but then one has to also consider the fact that this is a different game in a vastly different setting. A big part of the reason why Dark Souls 3 looked so detailed was down to its art style and setting. Sekiro doesn’t allow that kind of fantasy setting so the developers have less creativity in this regard.
In conclusion, Sekiro Shadows Die Twice is best played on the PC platform, provided you have a competent hardware. The PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are okay if you can adjust yourself to the unlocked frame rates but we won’t recommend them if you have problems with unlocked frame rates. Our hopes of getting a patch this fix is next to none, but hopefully, for a change, From Software will address these issues in the coming days.
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