Shadow Warrior 2 Performance AnalysisGuest_Jim_* -
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GTX 980 Performance:
After testing with the GTX 770, I moved up to the GTX 980. Being a more powerful GPU and having 4 GB of VRAM, I naturally popped the texture setting up to Ultra, and the card handled it without any issue. In fact, it handled everything so well I decided to start experimenting with the Resolution Scaling. This setting will have the game render internally at a higher resolution and then downsample it for your monitor. This can result in reduced aliasing and greater detail in some cases, as higher quality assets will be used to fill the larger resolution. Honestly I cannot say I have ever spotted the increased detail, but the reduced aliasing I have witnessed.
The Resolution Scaling slider in Shadow Warrior 2 has steps of one, but I moved it five at a time. This was to save time and there is going to be some variability anyway, so that precision is possibly not needed anyway. I found I could very comfortably play the game with the scaler set to 140, at the Ultra settings, including Screen Space Reflections. Disabling that option did improve performance significantly, like with the GTX 770, but the GTX 980 has enough power to handle it.
Being a Maxwell-based GPU, the GTX 980 is able to use the Multi-Res Shading setting of Shadow Warrior 2. This technology is meant to reduce the detail of the image around the periphery, where the player is less likely to notice it. I did not mess with this setting when doing the game review for multiple reasons, but experimenting with it now I found that one of the reasons was inaccurate. Except when I specifically looked for it, I actually could not notice the difference, so my concern that I would see it was incorrect. However, I do not plan on enabling it in any future games that I may review for the other concerns I mentioned, including providing the best quality media.
The setting has three options, with one being Off, and the other two being Conservative and Aggressive. Conservative is supposed to reduce the peripheral resolution to 60% while Aggressive will reduce it to 40%. The idea is that by asking the GPU to render parts of the screen at a lower resolution, performance can improve. I did not observe this though. When I played with Multi-Res Shading enabled, I experienced no difference in performance, both in how the gameplay felt and whenever I looked at the framerate counter. I have no explanation for this, but that is what I observed.
Regardless of the Multi-Res Shading option, the GTX 980 was able to handle the Ultra preset with Resolution Scaling set to 140 while providing a very smooth experience.
GTX 1080 Performance:
While I do have a GTX 1070 I could test with, I saw little need to as the GTX 980 was already running 60 FPS at the same settings I was running the more powerful GTX 1080 at, except for Resolution Scaling. The GTX 980 had a scaling of 140 and I found the GTX 1080 handled a scaling of 165 very easily. The GTX 1070 would naturally be somewhere in between.
As I played the game for its review on the GTX 1080, I already described the performance there. Basically, it ran very well at the Ultra settings, though there were occasions when the game seriously stuttered or even froze for a time. I still do not know why this occurred and did experience it on another GPU while testing (the GTX 770). It does seem to only occur after having killed an opponent, which typically means there are body parts about or some kind of mist in the air, if not both. For that reason, I think I will play in the future with the Remains setting at Low instead of Ultra. I am not sure if this will help, but at least it will not hurt, and if it ever happens again, I can kick the setting back up.