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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Review

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Graphics:

In the review for the base game, I wrote a fair amount about the performance of the game, asynchronous compute, and other features, but this time around, I am going to be a bit lighter on it. You can return to that original review for some of the details, but keep in mind, performance is significantly better now. I will admit I have not downloaded the original game to check on its performance, but as both it and Escalation use the same engine, and the developers remain committed to it, I am comfortable believing performance will be comparable between both titles. Of course I also have a more powerful GPU now (a GTX 1080 compared to a GTX 980), but it was not the GPU holding me back then, nor is it now. Speaking of specs, here are mine:

  • Processor: AMD A10-5800K @ 4.40 GHz (44.0x100)
  • Cooling: Corsair H110
  • Motherboard: ASUS F2A85-M PRO
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1080 8 GB
  • PhysX: NVIDIA GTX 1070 8 GB
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4x8 GB (32 GB total) at 1866 MHz 10-10-10-27
  • PSU: OCZ Fata1ty 750 W
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

In the original review, I said that the performance capped me at around 35 FPS. Today the game is comfortably over 40 FPS much of the time, even with a large number of units on the screen. I was even hitting 60 FPS, but it tends not to stay there for long as the unit count increases. The result is that it feels completely different to play now. I can remember it feeling slow and slightly lumbering, but it was playable, and now, while the units are still not always that fast moving, the game feels much smoother to play. This feeling really does affect the experience in a positive way, so I am very happy it is the case. (You can bet when I get around to building a new computer with a more powerful CPU, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation will be near the top of the list of games to return to.) This change is certainly a result of optimizations that are not going to be limited to Escalation, so while I have not re-installed the original game, I am confident it will also perform similarly well.

 

 

I actually just went back into the game (for a couple hours) and decided to push the size of my armies much higher. On one of the Vast maps, the largest available, I made multiple armies consisting of over 128 units, so we are talking about several hundred units on the map. Even with all of these units, the game still stayed around 30 FPS. This framerate was not impacted by how zoomed in I was, so whether I was giving a cruiser a close up, viewing a few armies, or looking at the new tactical map, everything was running at a smooth 30 FPS. I could easily have built even more armies with hundreds more units, but doing so would eat into that framerate.

 

Visually the game also looks better. Before the textures were somewhat soft looking to me, earning just a 'good' description from me, but now it is an easy very good. The art pass the game has gotten is visible and appreciated.

I am playing the game at its Crazy quality profile, which has everything turned to the max except MSAA that is at 2x, but the setting goes up to 8x. Explicit multiadapter, which would share the load between my GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 directly through DirectX 12, without the need of SLI (or Crossfire, if you are running with AMD GPUs), is not enabled, and when I have enabled it, the performance has gotten worse. The benchmark lost 10 FPS and gained a stutter and in game the FPS loss was not as much, but there was a clear lag to moving the camera around. You may very well have better luck, so give it a shot if you have multiple GPUs.

Overall, it looks better than it did months ago and is running very well for me. With an even better computer, it should be even better for you.




  1. Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Review - Introduction
  2. Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Review - Graphics
  3. Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Review - Gameplay
  4. Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Review - Additional Gameplay Media
  5. Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Review - Conclusion
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