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Gears of War 4 port analysis. The Gears of War franchise has an interesting history on PC. The first made it to PC in 2. Gears until now. These days Microsoft appears willing to give up Xbox exclusivity—but only if the PC version is a Windows 1. Windows Store. Oh, and there's that whole UWP business, the Universal Windows Platform that seems less about being universal and more about ensuring Microsoft maintains strict control.
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But if the Windows Store and UWP mean we can get all the latest Xbox games on PC as well, that might actually be a good thing, right? We've had Gears of War Ultimate, Quantum Break, Forza Horizon 3, and now Gears of War 4 all launch on both Xbox One and PC.
That may not be enough to wash away the sour taste Games for Windows left in our mouths, but it's a start. More importantly, however, Gears of War 4 includes a good built- in benchmark and it's a new Direct. X 1. 2 exclusive. If anyone can get Direct. X 1. 2 support right, it ought to be Microsoft. Let's see how the PC version of Gears of War stacks up against our standard checklist, cover the important settings, and find out what sort of performance you can expect with several hardware options.
After a shaky start with Gears of War Ultimate and Quantum Break, Microsoft has gone back and changed the way UWP games behave. For one, V- sync off and uncapped framerates are now options, and Gears of War 4 comes with a ton of graphics settings. I didn't personally try playing with a controller, and the default settings for most items worked fine. The game does support ultrawide resolutions, with a few caveats. The main menu, video cutscenes, and a few loading screens use 1.
Also, split- screen co- op currently runs at 1. It's not perfect support for 2. Instead, you press Home (which is noted in the bottom- right corner). I missed this at first because it was in a slightly unusual spot. For high- end PC gamers, also note that at present, Gears 4 doesn't support explicit or implicit multi- adapter modes. In other words, multi- GPU Cross.
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Fire and SLI aren't available, at least not yet. There's also an apparent bug of sorts where if you have an Nvidia SLI setup, having SLI enabled in the Nvidia control panel can actually reduce performance in single- GPU mode, so you'll want to (at least temporarily) turn it off. The Coalition is working with Nvidia to fix this. Just me and my pals. The one area where Gears of War 4 falls short is in mod support.
This goes back to the use of UWP, something it seems Microsoft is hellbent on promoting. UWP doesn't immediately strike me as a horrible thing, but the more you dig into the details, the more questionable it becomes. Game files for Gears 4 are locked down tight—you can't view any of them, including the INI files and the benchmark's HTML output. This has numerous ramifications, among them being modding support. Unless something changes, I don't expect to see any third party mods for Gears of War 4. As another example of UWP and what it means, Gears of War 4 is a monster of a game at 7. GB. The Windows Store tends to be slower on downloads compared to Steam—at least in my experience—and it took over two hours to download onto my main PC via a 1.
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Mbps connection. It should have been closer to an hour, but once downloaded, if I want it on a second PC, I can just copy the files over, right? None of the files have user read access, and from what I can tell, even if you somehow do manage to copy the files over to a second PC (I tried this with Gears of War Ultimate, which didn't totally lock me out of all the files), you'll still have to download everything from Microsoft again. This is definitely less customer friendly than Steam, Origin, UPlay, Go. G, or any other similar service I've used. I'd like to think that, if UWP is as bad as Tim. Sweeneysays, it will simply die off and fade away.
The problem is that even if that comes to pass, it leaves anyone who buys UWP games in an awkward position. Will there be a final patch to 'unlock' games before killing the service, or will Microsoft just kill the platform?
But if I'm truthful, I don't expect Microsoft to give up on UWP any time in the near future—they need a Windows alternative to the App Store and Google Play Store, and UWP is part of that strategy. And this alone may be enough to keep some people away from Gears of War 4 and other UWP games. But let's get back to Gears 4. A bullet sponge on fire. Graphics settings and impressions. I'm a newcomer to the Gears of War universe, so if you're interested in the whether the game is good or not, you can read about that in our review—I'm looking at the technical aspects of the port. Based on Unreal Engine 4, Gears 4 is an impressive looking game, with an almost overwhelming list of options to tweak.
What's really awesome is that each setting provides a description as well as input on its performance impact/requirements. These are labeled GPU, CPU, and VRAM, with ratings of none, minor, moderate, and major. This makes it much easier to drill down and tweak the settings if you're not getting the framerates you'd like, and I'd love to see all games provide such comprehensive explanations. Besides these 'Video' settings, Gears 4 has a few others in the 'Video – Advanced' menu. If the list feels overwhelming—and it very well might—you can stick to the presets. Many of the items only have a small impact on performance and the way the game looks, and they're mostly here for the people who want to tweak every little aspect.
I'm going to skip over most of the settings, since you can read Microsoft's descriptions as well as I can, and just focus on the main points of interest. Starting at the top of the settings list is the global 'default quality' preset, which tweaks nearly all of the settings below. There are four main options (low/med/high/ultra), along with an 'optimized' setting and 'custom'—the latter being something the game will automatically select as soon as you tweak any of the individual settings. Low quality disables most dynamic lighting effects. Medium quality is basically what the Xbox One uses. High quality gets nearly all the important features. Ultra quality only adds some subtle lighting differences.
Here you can see the four main quality presets. As usual, the low setting primarily reduces the quality of lighting—SSAO and other aspects are off—and texture quality is also clearly lower. Medium improves both of those aspects, making the whole world look better, though the range for shadowing is clearly limited. The high preset improves the shadowing range and texture quality yet again, and is a great target for more modest systems. High ends up being about 9. Checking out the individual settings, the top section (General Settings) is independent of the preset, with things like framerate caps, field of view, V- sync, and stats—which can be used to show your framerate. The main item of interest here is scaled resolution, which corresponds to what we'd normally see as display resolution—the game runs at your native display resolution, but everything is scaled either up/down.
This has a major impact on the GPU and VRAM, and you'll need at least 4. GB VRAM to even try running 4. K (a 3. GB GPU limited me to 3. GB VRAM open up even higher resolutions (2.
This is an interesting way of handling resolutions, and something I've seen in a few other games (e. Shadow of Mordor). If you go above 1.
I'm not sure it's the best way of doing things, but Gears does use it to provide an interesting feature called dynamic resolution scaling. Enabling this (in the 'Advanced' menu) allows the game to change the internal rendering resolution on- the- fly based on scene complexity, in order to maintain a smooth framerate, so in a heated battle it may scale back by up to 5. Remember me? The character and world texture settings list VRAM as a major element, with the GPU being a moderate consideration. The fastest GPU in the world will struggle if it runs out of VRAM, but slapping gobs of VRAM on a low- end card isn't usually helpful—you'd probably end up dropping quality and VRAM requirements to get higher frame rates. For Gears 4, you'll need at least 4. GB VRAM and probably 6.
GB if you want to use ultra textures everywhere, at least without occasional stuttering. The effects and lighting textures meanwhile only have a moderate VRAM requirement. Texture filtering (anisotropic filtering) used to be a demanding feature back in the day, but now you can usually run 1. AF even on low- end hardware without too much trouble.
Most of the Visual Settings section consists of items that won't really impact framerates. Antialiasing is in this group, as Gears 4 uses a post- process temporal AA solution that's virtually free, though it also tends to be less effective than true multi- sample AA. I personally like disabling motion blur, or at least decreasing the intensity, but you can choose what feels right. Some nice concept art. Under the Lighting and Shadows heading are several items that will have a significant impact on performance. Light shaft quality is one that you can turn down from ultra to medium with very little visual impact, though turning it off does disable a few effects.
Light scattering is also related to volumetric lighting and you might want to set it to medium to improve performance (or off if you're on a lower- end GPU). The two biggest items for improving performance are shadow quality and ambient occlusion quality, and both are used to create dynamic shadows. Turning these off can improve performance quite a bit, but at the cost of image quality. Moving to Advanced Visuals, screen space reflections is the big ticket item here. Like shadows, this relates to reflections of dynamic objects like your character. Depending on the scene, disabling the reflections can provide a significant boost to performance, and in most cases turning it down or off doesn't radically alter the gaming experience. You might also want to tweak the post process quality if you're looking for improved frame rates.