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Rise of the Triad (2013) Review



Normally I say that graphics are among the least important aspect of a game, but in this situation they are somewhat important, as it is one of the aspects that make this remastering stand out from the original.

Running with Unreal Engine 3, the same engine behind many modern games, including Borderlands 2 and Bioshock Infinite, Rise of the Triad has a wealth of detail and effects, making the environment quite realistic as well as the characters and other elements. Unfortunately the combination of environment and element is not always that great. Lighting on bodies can look different than light on the ground and walls, making enemies look out of place. Blood splatters look more like stickers flung on walls and the floor and actual liquids, but then I am not sure if I have seen realistic blood anywhere. Fire, though, I have seen better, but I have also seen considerably worse. The worst flames I have seen from modern games are just animated textures placed on a curved model and the best look like actual volumes of fluid. Rise of the Triad is somewhere in the middle, with the flames being entire volumes, but they also look like they are just pre-rendered animations. Enemies, blood, and fire, though, may all intentionally look like this to invoke the graphics of the original title.









Surface detail for walls, guns, and the floor is very good. I am sure some of that detail is from high resolution textures, but the lighting on at least the walls suggests to me there are detailed normal maps to create realistic shadow maps. In many places, the ground looks to just be a texture and not have any advanced lighting solution to look more detailed. The guns are definitely beautiful with good textures and models. A close look will reveal vertices on what should be smoothly rounded objects, but it is not very obvious in actual gameplay.

Lighting is as impressive as in many other titles, though with a caveat. The impressive part is how lights will illuminate a volume of air and cast rays around objects. The caveat is I have noticed multiple issues with how light falls on the ground. In one screenshot you will see lights in a warehouse, lighting up parts of the floor, but not all. I have also seen shadows of traps being cast on the floor, even when the trap is retracted into the ceiling. Not exactly an issue, especially as you may not catch it while you play, but if you do see it, you know it is incorrect.


I am not sure if this would be considered points for realism, twisted humor, or just harkening back to the original game, but enemies can have some rather brutal deaths. Depending on where you shoot them, their bodies may just fall on the ground, with blood splattered everywhere, or they may fall apart, with limbs and organs dispersed around them. I have seen intestines lying on the ground as well as what I think are brains. If you kill an enemy with an explosion though, and are close enough, their eyes will fly out and hit your screen. By the way, you can turn gore off in the settings. Also, at least the removal of limbs can be done after an enemy is dead, and when you remove an arm or leg, the body spews out blood for longer than I think is natural.


The game also supports software and hardware PhysX, and as usual, if you can run it, you want to run it. Hanging flags will react as you shoot them, and glass, boxes, and barrels will shatter and splinter too. Of course it is mostly just eyecandy, but the developers decided to have some fun with it and added the PhysX ShmysX achievement for destroying 666 PhysX objects in the game.


System specs and performance time:

  • Processor: AMD A10-5800K @4.50 GHz (45.0x100)
  • Cooling: Corsair H110
  • Motherboard: ASUS F2A85-M PRO
  • GPU: EVGA GTX 570 1280 MB
  • PhysX: MSI GTS 250 1 GB
  • G.Skill Ripjaws 4x8 GB (32 GB total) at 1866 MHz 10-10-10-27
  • PSU: OCZ Fata1ty 750 W
  • OS: Windows 7- Professional 64-bit

With this computer I was able to set every setting to the maximum, with two exceptions, and experience a solid 60 FPS in most areas, but sometimes a drop down into what looked like the 50s. Potentially those drops will be removed as the game is patched with better optimizations and new drivers are released. The two exceptions I mentioned are Motion Blur and Depth of Field, which I disabled as a matter of personal choice.

Importantly, all detail settings for graphics are controlled by a launcher and not in the game.

One setting that is in the game though is Field of View. The default is 90, but the slider goes as high as 120 and as low as 60. I eventually set it to 110 because I found 90 to be too constrained at times when I was looking around for the enemies shooting at me.


Another setting in game that I want to briefly mention is the resolution. The reason I want to mention it is that it is a whitelist of resolutions, so if you have a monitor with a non-standard resolution, as I do (2048x1152), the only way you can get the native resolution is by modifying a config file. Doing so however will disrupt some elements in the game. For example, the Rise of the Triad logo in the menus is rendered too large, so it covers some buttons, and the character selection buttons prior to entering a multiplayer match were hidden off screen. Of course these are issues most people will never encounter, but just in case you are not like most people, now you know what to expect.

Speaking of multiplayer, I will mention its performance here instead of in the gameplay section. Estimating the FPS in a multiplayer match, I would say it was most often in the 50s. Whether any lag was present, I cannot say with certainty because the players move so fast that we were already leaping around the map in the blink of an eye. This was less evident on the larger map I got to play on though.

As I normally mention it in the graphics setting, the sound has been updated to what you would find in any modern game. If your nostalgia is not satisfied with the rest of the game though, you can toggle an option to go back to the audio of the original game.


  1. Rise of the Triad: Introduction
  2. Rise of the Triad: Graphics
  3. Rise of the Triad: Story
  4. Rise of the Triad: Gameplay
  5. Rise of the Triad: Additional Gameplay Images
  6. Rise of the Triad: Conclusion
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