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Shadow Warrior 2 Performance Analysis

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Once more in Shadow Warrior 2, this time looking at how it performs across some different GPUs I have around. All of them are NVIDIA-based and some support the Multi-Res Shading Shadow Warrior 2 supports, and unlike when I played the game to review it, I did experiment with that setting. If you are interested in what I think about the game, that review is where you want to look. This is just a look at how a GTX 770, GTX 980, and GTX 1080 can handle the game.

Naturally there is more to performance than the GPU, so here are my other specs, which are constant throughout the tests:

  • Processor: AMD A10-5800K @ 4.40 GHz (44.0x100)
  • Cooling: Corsair H110
  • Motherboard: ASUS F2A85-M PRO
  • Graphics Drivers: GeForce 376.19 WHQL
  • 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
  • Monitor Resolution: 2048x1152

When I swapped in the GTX 980, my CPU's overclock got reset, but I simply put that back to where it was and no other settings appeared to have changed. Also, it is worth noting that I did these tests on version of the game, but since I did them, version has released. Unfortunately I have not had the time to return to the game to try redoing these tests, as even now I am taking time away from another project to write this. (It is nice to be busy though.)

To test the performance, I first set the graphics options and then ran around, killing enemies in two areas of the game. One is a more rural setting, with trees, caves, and the occasional building, while the other is a sci-fi city of the future that has a lot of bloom in some places. Typically I made a loop or two around these areas and observed how the gameplay felt and would check the framerate counter in the corner, thanks to the Steam Overlay. Also, while I do have MSI Afterburner installed I only use it for a custom, more aggressive fan profile and not any overclocking.

Time to get to the GPUs then!


GTX 770 Performance:

My GTX 770 has 2 GB of VRAM and uses EVGA's ACX cooling. The key thing here is that 2 GB of VRAM, which limits me to the High setting for texture resolution. The next option up, Ultra, requires 4 GB of VRAM, so I did not use that. I also had certain options disabled because I do not like how they look in games, in general. These options are Motion Blur, Depth of Field, Chromatic Aberration, and Film Grain. Actually Film Grain visually does not bother me, but I turned it off at the start because I wanted to capture video and the noise such an option can add to frames does not always play nicely with h.264 encoded videos.

Since the textures could only be set to High, I started at the High preset and started running around. I was happy with the performance here, but decided to do two things. One was to disable Screen Space Reflections. These can add a lot to the visuals of the game, but they also cut performance significantly. The GTX 770 was able to reach 60 FPS quite well without SSR enabled, and the moment I turned it on the framerate dropped to about 50 FPS. While 50 FPS is still a playable framerate, that is what the option can cost you.

The second thing I decided to do, remembering how well the GTX 770 served me when it was my primary GPU, was to kick the game up to Ultra settings, while keeping textures on High. It actually did not come as a surprise to me that it was still able to handle the game at these settings about as well as it was handling the High preset. Not surprisingly, Screen Space Reflections again pulled the framerate down to around 50 FPS as a max, while without it I was seeing it hit 60 FPS as a max. That max was less common with the Ultra settings than the High settings, but there were still times it reached there.

With High Textures and Ultra settings, the GTX 770 was able to provide a smooth and very playable experience, which is not too bad for a GPU released three years ago.

  1. Shadow Warrior 2 Performance Analysis - Introduction and GTX 770
  2. Shadow Warrior 2 Performance Analysis - GTX 980 and GTX 1080
  3. Shadow Warrior 2 Performance Analysis - Conclusion
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