We’ve already established that A Plague Tale: Requiem is a graphically demanding game – hence the move to a 30fps/40fps target for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, despite running at a native 1440p with temporal upscaling for a 4K output and often failing to maintain its performance target. In search of answers as to how heavy this game is, we can look to the PC version for answers – just as we did with Gotham Knights.
Adding extra spice is the arrival of a new patch for the game. We were hoping that this would add ray tracing support for PC, but alas that is not the case – but as you’ll see, Asobo has delivered solid performance improvements here. For PC users looking to get even better frame-rates, we’ve also put together a detailed settings analysis along with console vs PC performance comparisons.
First up, let’s discuss the recent patch. On consoles, we found a number of performance pressure spots but to pick up on just one, with our heroes surrounded by a fiery inferno, this could drop beneath 30fps on PlayStation 5. The new patch improves performance by 35 percent on the Sony console, while the improvement on Series X takes it to its 40fps limit. Interestingly though, PC has the exact same optimisation with a similar frame-rate boost when tested on an RTX 2070 Super, the closest GPU we could find to match PS5 performance.
For PC users, optimised settings is clearly the way forward and we’ve put this together from two different perspectives. First of all, we carried out our own performance metrics and weighed up the cost of various settings against their presentation on-screen. Secondly, we used PlayStation 5 as another comparison point and matched PC settings to the console output. In short, developer Asobo Studio itself put together its own ‘optimised settings’ in extracting the best bang for the buck from the consoles, so why not tap into their perspective too?
In actuality, my optimised settings and Asobo’s turn out to be very similar indeed. For the most part, my choices for the best balance in settings essentially turns out to be medium across the board with ultra textures. Asobo’s choices for PlayStation 5 are essentially identical – with one exception. It looks like distant detail is a match for medium, while foreground detail is a match for high settings. If you really want to match console settings precisely, you can achieve this via tweaking the game’s .ini file but ultimately, there’s little gain in doing so.
Stacking up my choice of settings against the basic ultra preset, various mini-savings across the board adds up to a good performance improvement – in one test using RTX 2070 Super, there’s an 18 percent frame-rate uplift in 4K DLSS performance mode, rising to a 29 percent boost in DLSS quality mode.
The fact that we can 100 percent match the console settings allows us to benchmark various PC graphics cards and compare them against PlayStation 5’s output in a performance-constrained scene. With an exact settings match, the RTX 2070 Super is the closest GPU I own that matches PlayStation 5’s output. I also found out that the game favours Nvidia GPUs more than AMD counterparts, as the RTX 2060 Super is unusually faster than the RX 5700, while the RTX 3080 performs a good deal better than the RX 6800 XT.
Throughout this generation – so far, at least – we’ve noticed how close PlayStation 5 performance is to the notionally more powerful Xbox Series X, yet A Plague Tale: Requiem definitely favours the Microsoft machine, with a 25 percent performance uplift in measurable scenes (ie those that drop beneath the frame-rate cap). That is greater than the near 20 percent difference they have in compute, but does align near perfectly with the advantage that the Series X has in raw memory bandwidth: 560GB/s for GPU-preferred RAM on Series X up against the 448GB/s on PlayStation 5.
The big question surrounding A Plague Tale: Requiem on consoles has been whether Asobo could trade pixels for performance, delivering a 60fps mode. I believe that this is possible, barring some CPU limitations I’ve noticed in the game. The RTX 2070 Super can deliver console settings at a native 1080p, but scenes with many characters on-screen is heavy on CPU resources, so I think that a consistent 60fps would not be possible on the consoles – but could still work nicely if you’re prepared for 50-60fps in places and absolutely if you have a display with variable refresh rate (VRR) support.
It’s rare that we’re able to get an exact match between PC and consoles. It’s always interesting to see how a fixed platform like a console matches up to the ever-evolving range of PC graphics hardware, and it looks like the correlation between consoles and PC GPUs remains pretty much where it’s been since launch, with the Sony and Microsoft boxes delivering performance broadly equivalent to RTX 2070 Super or RTX 2080, give or take a few percentage points. The RTX 4090 score shows how the PC state-of-the-art looks with a very impressive gain. For the DLSS 3 result, note that this is using frame generation in combination with console equivalent settings – there is no DLSS 2 upscaling included in the frame-rate result.
The comparison between the PlayStation 5 GPU and the RX 5700 is also interesting. Both have similar architecture in terms of rasterisation, both have 36 compute units, but owing to clock speed differences we’re looking at 7.9TF for the AMD card up against 10.3TF on the Sony console. In short, the RX 5700 has 77 percent of the compute power of the PlayStation 5 GPU and in my tests, we get a nigh-on match with 78 percent of the performance – a margin of error difference.
We’re still waiting for the ray tracing patch for the PC version – though the .ini file suggests that RT may be limited to ray-traced shadows only, which would be a fairly limited implementation – but in the meantime, it looks like Asobo has spent plenty of time optimising the game to excellent effect. Performance is much improved on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and it’s also good to see that these are actual optimisations as opposed to, say, a noticeable culling of features.
Equally, it’s great to see that the PC version of the game also benefits in equal measure – if you’ve not played the game yet, it’s well worth checking out, and if you’re playing on PC, you’ll get both the benefits of Asobo’s optimisation work and the boost from optimised settings too!