Far Cry 6 tech review: it looks and performs well

The venerable Dunia engine returns once again for the sixth main entry in the Far Cry franchise – and there’s a certain feeling of a series going back to its roots. First, the latest open world evokes the more lush jungle terrain of previous games, while there’s also the return of tech like the spread of fire – its much-lamented omission in Far Cry 5. Although the gameplay has not progressed significantly, there is a range of new graphics features, as well as ray tracing on PC and a 60fps focus on the latest generation of consoles – but also the feeling that the game requires an improvement to make it all that it can be.

This might be the Dunia Engine’s last fight, but there’s no question that Far Cry 6 is still a beautiful game and some of the new engine additions are striking. For example, the skies are considerably more impressive than previous games thanks to the inclusion of a ray volumetric cloud rendering system. Similar technologies have been seen in Horizon Zero Dawn and Microsoft Flight Simulator to name just two, but clouds look good in Far Cry 6, especially in the way they interact with lighting, especially in the way they interact with lighting. especially at sunset. There are limitations though, with their low resolution breaking down into noise with fast movement at 60 fps.

Less dramatic but still impressive is the warping of the water, best seen when marine life interacts with the surface – but one element of the game that I was really looking forward to was the introduction of accelerated ray tracing features. equipment. Sadly, it’s only on PC, but regardless, there are two key effects here: shadows and highlights. How much they add to the presentation depends on the effect. Honestly, ray tracing shadows are a bit of a question mark as to how effective they are, because first of all, they only apply to sun shadows – so all interior and man-made shadows are cards. ‘standard shadow. In addition, shadows cast by vegetation or alpha mask transparencies are also just shadow maps mixed with RT equivalents. Another negative aspect is the fact that RT shadows – as well as much of post-processing pipelines – run at quarter resolution. The RT shadows are a net gain overall, but the implementation could be much better and the effect is too limited overall.

Far Cry 6 – Digital Foundry’s technical review in video form.

Ray-traced reflections fare better, providing a good upgrade over standard screen space reflections, improving surface realism – especially on retro in-game cars. Immersion is added , especially since the model of the player is visible in these reflections. However, again, the feeling is that the implementation is not as robust as it could be. The reflections do not apply to water surfaces like the ocean, streams, and ponds, which still use SSR. RT reflections also do not apply to transparent surfaces such as glass, resulting in visual discontinuities (car bodies have RT reflections, windshields do not). And again, we’re looking at quarter-resolution effects, leading to the “big pixel” effect and a lot of aliases because of it. Other criticisms include the partial simplification of the world in reflections and the reduction in material fidelity.

Ray tracing effects have a simple on / off toggle when the main thing is the game calls for better modes to keep the game going, or just to give the user more choice. That said, the quarter-resolution effects aren’t limited to RT only. Particle effects, screen space shadows, motion blur, and depth of field all feel like quarter-resolution – which is more of a problem as you move down the resolution chain. (the S series might look rough because of this) – and there are no quality settings on PC to alleviate this problem. When combined with the blur of temporal anti-aliasing, the problem is further magnified.

So, how does gaming on consoles behave? The S series seems to spend most of its time in the 1080p-1224p range and although you get 60 frames per second, the presentation is not very appealing. The overall blur of the presentation means it’s hard to reduce the pixel count for the PS5 and X series, but the PlayStation 5 is rendered in the 1728p to 1872p range, while Microsoft’s flagship has a window of higher resolution, apparently in the full 1872p to 2160p range. The real implication of this is just that you get a sharper picture on the high end Xbox console.

Beyond resolution, the visual feature quality settings match very closely between the two consoles and it seems to me that Ubisoft has made some smart swaps by reducing the precision of specific effects while still delivering what feels like a PC experience. top of the line. Volumetry, texture filtering, water quality and shade are on par with the PC at high settings, while the geometry quality seems to fall between the PC’s medium and high offerings. Although very subtle, the level of geometry quality of the PS5 appears to be very slightly higher than that of the X series.

So, when it comes to the optimized settings for PC, I recommend that you use the equivalent console settings and make a few more changes. I would go for the high environmental detail setting which reduces the range of artificial lights in the game world, as well as using the high terrain setting which minimizes the distortion distance of the higher detail terrain. What surprised me was that Far Cry 5’s road quality setting is gone, which means the road texture filtering detail levels are very low and even the settings for the road are very low. GPU control panel cannot return higher quality level. Another problem with the optimized settings for PC is that dynamic resolution scaling doesn’t work as it should – and it’s a key technology for getting smooth frame rates. I go into this more in-depth in the video, where it sometimes seems to help improve frame rates, but in other scenarios it can actually reduce performance.

While consoles mostly run at 60fps, there are a few issues here as well. First of all, there’s camera stuttering on console versions of the game, which means when performance is consistent, controller movement doesn’t look smooth when panning. It is not a problem on PC. Beyond that, all consoles for the most part run at 60fps – except in very dynamic scenes where the camera rotates quickly or something graphically expensive suddenly hits the screen, but that’s usually okay. . However, cross-stuttering has always been a problem on PC – certainly from Far Cry 4 – and it’s still around, and now spreading to console versions as well, accompanied by an intrusive screen tear. This is also a problem on PC, solved only by reducing the settings to a minimum and putting a lot of power on the problem – which is not ideal.

The PS5 and X Series suffer from screen tearing issues, especially when Dunia’s stuttering issues arise.
Console equivalent parameters Optimized parameters
Shadows High High
Texture filtering High High
Volumetric fog High High
Water quality Medium high High
Terrain quality Ultra High
Environment details Ultra High
Geometry / Vegetation Medium high High
Dynamic resolution 60 (it works!) 60 (if it works!)

I found another issue with the PC version and it involves using VRAM when using the optional HD texture pack. According to the release documents, 11 GB of video memory is required for these 4K textures when using ray tracing, which has proven to be no problem for the 16 GB Radeon RX 6800 XT. Of course. , the competing RTX 3080 has issues because it’s a 10GB card – but it’s not as easy as it sounds. VRAM usage here never exceeds 8.6GB, which means the entire 10GB of memory is unused. In other scenarios, I found that the RTX 3080 only allocated 7.9GB of memory and the HD textures never loaded. It doesn’t seem fair to me.

My final complaint is with the game’s cutscenes, which seem to run at 30fps while the rest of the game runs at 60fps. It’s not ideal but it’s not the first game to do this and it won’t be the last. However, what makes it even more shocking is that particles and other effects can still run with updates unlocked, while the beat of the animation frames can show jitter artifacts as well. The presentation of the game suffers.

In summary, Far Cry 6 is a beautiful game and I like most of the visual enhancements, but I am less satisfied with the other aspects of the game. Dunia traversal stutter is present on all the platforms I have tested, and while I love seeing RT effects added to new games, I’m disappointed with the weirdly limited implementations and locked down low resolutions that Ubisoft has rolled out here. On top of that I can see why post process effects can run at a lower resolution – but I would have liked to see options to restore them to full resolution on PC, and maybe add all of that plus RT to console-quality mode at 30 fps. There’s a lot to like about Far Cry 6 and maybe the focus in this tech review has been on the areas that are missing, but ultimately it’s hard to avoid feeling like a few more coats of polish would have. could make a big difference. Release.

About Sara Rodriquez

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