Ghost Recon Wildlands PC graphics, performance and 4K analysis – the PCGamesN tech review

The previous few months have seen Ubisoft in full swing, releasing sturdy PC variations of Watch Dogs 2 and For Honor. Quickly following the sword-swinger is the newest in the Ghost Recon sequence, Wildlands, and it’s a complete new problem for Ubi. It’s their largest open world ever; slightly than the tight avenue networks of Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed, Wildlands is about in an enormous rural sandbox. The sheer dimension of it places even Far Cry in the nook, however naturally this new route has us a bit of apprehensive. How will all of it fare on the performance aspect of issues? 

Our tech stories are written to give you the broadest image doable, specializing in {hardware} just like what the majority of gamers have put in of their machines. We check the sport on all graphical settings utilizing an i5 powered rig with 8GB of RAM, and attempt to hit 60 fps with 4 of the hottest graphics playing cards. Even in case your PC shouldn’t be similar to our check set ups, it’s best to nonetheless be capable to estimate the performance ranges you’ll be able to count on from your personal machine.

Graphics choices
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While we don’t rating the technical features out of ten right here at PCGamesN, I’d haven’t any hesitation about giving full marks to Wildlands for its graphics choices menus. Simply put: they’re the finest I’ve ever used. I famous in the For Honor tech review how useful its menu tooltips had been, which defined what turning on and off totally different settings would do. Wildlands goes one step additional and exhibits you the distinction; a screenshot will modify to exhibit the results of cranking up every of the totally different settings. For individuals who don’t reside and breathe tech, graphics menus can really feel like an inconceivable labyrinth. This novel strategy to them reduces any barrier to entry, and acts as a wonderful studying software. A sound understanding of graphics know-how picked up right here may be simply utilized in different video games.

Praise doesn’t cease at the presentation, both. Wildlands affords 5 presets (low, medium, excessive, very excessive, and extremely), and these are damaged down into 18 granular settings. Expect all the typical choices: draw distance, element, texture and shadow high quality, subsurface scattering, and bloom. There’s additionally two depth of subject choices, and adjustable vegetation ranges. Ambient Occlusion is obtainable in Ubi’s bespoke SSBC, and Nvidia’s top-of-the-range HBAO+. Antialiasing is available in the type of FXAA or Temporal AA.

To assist decide in case your possibility setup is perfect, a VRAM meter will present how far you’re pushing your graphics card, and a benchmarking check will present a reasonably detailed breakdown of how nicely your rig is coping.

Outside of graphic settings, Wildlands affords a strong choice of management menus together with keyboard re-mapping and adjustable mouse sensitivity for all types of motion (in autos, on foot .and many others). As Wildlands is multi-platform, controllers are absolutely supported. The video menu has choices for decision scaling and a body fee limiter, plus an adjustable FOV. It ought to be famous that this latter possibility is taken into account an ‘prolonged FOV’, and is available in values of 0 – 100%, slightly than an angle of levels. This is probably going as a consequence of Ghost Recon being third-person, however rising the worth nonetheless has a broadly comparable impact to that seen in FPS video games.

Graphics analysis

Tested on an Intel i5 6500k @3.2GHz, 8GB of RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060, Windows 10

For our graphics analysis we examine screenshots taken on the 4 commonplace presets of extremely, excessive, medium, and low. Wildlands additionally has a really excessive preset, which sits as a really comfortable mid-point between extremely and excessive. As with most fashionable video games you have to to restart your session or mission in the event you make adjustments to the texture high quality.

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Wildlands is one in all Ubisoft’s most detailed open-world video games, and the extremely graphics preset actually demonstrates this. Huge draw distances imply even far off mountains have spectacular element, and shut up terrain like muddy tracks and embedded stones look closely textured and tangible. Shadow work and lighting are spectacular, and vegetation seems each dense and detailed.

All this comes at a value, although. Far greater than any Ubisoft open world earlier than it, Wildlands suffers from frequent texture pop-in. It handles itself significantly better while you’re strolling round on foot, however the pace of autos means you journey quicker than the sport renders. The views granted at altitude due to the sport’s helicopters undergo equally.

On our i5/GTX 1060 check rig, extremely ran at a mean of 40 frames per second, and a minimal of 35 fps. Those are actually shut values, which means it’s a really constant body fee, but it surely’s not notably excessive. It’s apparent that the open world, with its multitude of vegetation and miles-long draw distance, is absolutely punishing on GPUs. Ultra feels prefer it’s been developed for actually top-of-the-line machines, which might clarify the inclusion of a really excessive preset that appears to be the analogue of extremely settings in different video games.

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The excessive preset retains a lot of the element of extremely, however there’s an apparent discount in high quality throughout the board. The lighting is considerably much less naturalistic, with harsh shadows and an total brightness to the colors that feels extra synthetic. Vegetation element has been decreased, which may be seen most clearly in the canopies of the bushes. Ground textures, whereas retaining the depth of element in mud tracks and stones, lacks the tessellation results as seen on extremely that make them look so tangible.

High nonetheless seems good total although, and is much much less punishing on mid-range {hardware}. You’ll see a mean of 72 fps and minimums of round 60 fps, making Wildlands a way more playable sport. By all means go for extremely in the event you’re packing a 1070 or higher, however these decrease settings provide optimum performance and agreeable visuals on a GTX 1060 or equal.

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There’s not an enormous distinction between excessive and medium, but it surely’s at these settings that you just see the draw distance fallbacks start. Look out to the horizon on this screenshot and you’ll see total bushes lacking, particularly on the uppermost ridge and round the foot of the rock formation. Vegetation as a complete is lowered in high quality; the leafy part to the backside proper seems a bit of like a cardboard prop in comparison with the lush construction as seen on excessive or above. Ground textures are additionally a fairly muddy, with the definition of the mud tracks exchanged for a chocolatey smear.

For these concessions you’ll be capable to hit 78 fps on common, with a minimal of 67 fps. It’s not an enormous acquire, however such outcomes would most likely be extra important on older {hardware} the place each additional body counts.

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Wildlands has the most stunning low-grade graphics I’ve seen in a very long time. Over the previous few years of PC video games low has all the time tended to look lots like medium presets, simply with unhealthy lighting and shadows. Often the lower-res textures aren’t so unhealthy as to make the sport look actively dated. Wildlands, on the different hand, seems like a sport from the late 2000s on low settings. Flat geography, undetailed and smeary textures, and a what seems to be no actual lighting mannequin in any respect makes all the things seem like operating on {hardware} two or three generations previous. Combined with all the jagged edges, Wildlands is ugly and then some on low.

Performance is the payoff although, and low will run on a 1060 at a mean of 110 fps, bottoming out at 88 fps. That’s fairly a leap over medium, but it surely’s one heck of a concession to make.

Aside from the pop-in points that Wildlands suffers just about all the time in the larger presets, its different downside is hangups. While not frequent, it’s not unusual for the sport to freeze for a number of seconds. This appears to usually occur when utilizing helicopters; the altitude means extra of the open world being on display screen at the identical time, and thus results in freezing. This may be trigger for frustration, as usually upon exiting a freeze the helicopter could have collided right into a mountainside or brought about another catastrophe. It’s not a frequent sufficient incidence to say Wildlands is definitely damaged (it solely occurred a few occasions over a day of testing, and I seen it in the beta too), but it surely’s value being conscious of.

Performance Benchmarks
To see how Ghost Recon Wildlands performs on numerous {hardware} setups, we now have examined the sport on 4 graphics playing cards; two from Nvidia, and two from AMD. We’ve sampled the hottest playing cards from the present and final era of GPUs to be able to provide the most helpful data.

All 4 playing cards had been examined at extremely settings, with each texture possibility up as excessive as they’ll go and each graphical impact turned on. For the check we used the sport’s benchmarking software, which makes use of scenes of varied complexity, together with wide-angle sweeping pictures and explosions.

In the graph beneath you’ll be able to see how all 4 playing cards carry out.

As talked about beforehand, Wildlands’ extremely settings appear developed with very high-end {hardware} in thoughts, and that exhibits when attempting to run the sport at highest settings on quite a lot of mid-range playing cards. None of our check playing cards achieved larger than 40 fps at extremely, however all however one in all them comfortably sat above 30 fps. Despite being half of the commonplace many PC avid gamers aspire to, 30 fps continues to be completely playable do you have to worth top-tier graphics over good performance.

Importantly, all playing cards carried out very persistently, with all however the AMD RX 470 reporting common and minimal body charges inside 5 – 6 digits of one another. This makes Wildlands easy, if not quick, at extremely.

It’s value noting you can yield large performance positive aspects for small concessions by downgrading from extremely to very excessive. The RX 470, for instance, jumps from a mean of 31 fps to 52 fps. We’d hope for a bit of extra, however contemplating the depth of element in Wildlands’ grass and tree-heavy world, it’s not a wholly shocking outcome.

How does Ghost Recon Wildlands run in 4K?
Wildlands runs solidly at 1080p, however what in the event you personal a 4K show? Our UHD check rig – rocking an i7 6700K CPU, an Nvidia GTX 1080, and displaying on an Acer Predator 4K monitor – copes, however solely simply. At an enormous 3840 x 2160 decision on extremely settings, Wildlands runs at a mean of 28 fps, and a minimal of twenty-two fps. That’s playable, however you’ll ideally be in search of at the very least a few additional frames.

This isn’t unsurprising contemplating the tax Wildlands places on mid-range {hardware} at 1080p. If you’re trying to play at 4K and don’t have high-end playing cards in SLI or Crossfire, it’s value dropping down a preset or two. However, taking part in at excessive at 4K isn’t going to be as spectacular as extremely at 1080p; with Wildlands the element actually is the star of the present. It’s most likely finest to compromise on decision on this state of affairs.

How to run Ghost Recons Wildlands at 60 fps
If you’re operating one in all the playing cards we’ve examined you’ll little doubt be making a choice proper now: do you go for the most lovely picture and make do with a decrease body fee, or accept nothing lower than 60 fps regardless of the graphical price? If you’re planning on doing the latter, we’ve bought tips about learn how to obtain the gold commonplace body fee on our choice of 4 check GPUs.

For a breakdown of learn how to run Ghost Recon Wildlands at 60 fps, see our settings information beneath.

Nvidia GTX 970
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On Nvidia’s last-gen {hardware} you’ll be able to hit 60 fps by choosing the excessive preset. Thankfully this gives a very constant outcome, which means there’s no must tweak the particular person choices to search out the good candy spot.

Nvidia GTX 1060
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For anybody with the present era GTX 1060, utilizing the very excessive preset will bag you a stable 60 fps. There’s no want to regulate something, as this preset appears tailored to hit the proper body charges on this stage of {hardware}.

AMD Radeon R9 380
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As the weakest last-gen card in our check, it’s comprehensible that the R9 380 would require the most concessions to hit 60 fps. And whereas my recommendation isn’t fairly ‘flip all the things off’, it’s not a lot larger than minimal settings. Start with the low preset, however then flip shadow high quality as much as medium and terrain to excessive. The bodily world and all the lighting results are what present Wildlands with its character, therefore why we’ve given these precedence. You’ll nonetheless find yourself with a tough wanting sport, however it is possible for you to to discover Bolivia at an honest body fee.

For a extra detailed breakdown, see our R9 380’s in-game graphics menus right here and right here.

AMD Radeon RX 470
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The current-gen RX 470, whereas not being fairly as beefy as a GTX 1060, doesn’t lag too far behind. Wildlands defaults to to the excessive preset with this card, but it surely doesn’t fairly hit 60 fps. To obtain these few additional frames, it’s value dropping the terrain element right down to low. This will make the bodily geography a bit of easier, however the total look is usually maintained by the prime quality textures and vegetation.

For a extra detailed breakdown, see our RX 470’s in-game graphics menus right here and right here.

With its enormous open world full of numerous bushes and leafy brush, it’s no enormous shock that Ghost Recon Wildlands is a really demanding sport on PC. If you’ve bought the high-end {hardware}, it can reward you with nice vistas and spectacular draw distances.

If your rig is constructed of parts that didn’t require you to remortgage your own home, although, you received’t be seeing Wildlands at its most lovely with out enduring a decrease framerate. But slightly than feeling like Wildlands is poorly optimised, it seems that the sport was designed with a number of budgets in thoughts. Ultra is clearly an enormous step above what you’d see on console, catering for actual PC fanatics, leaving the nonetheless spectacular very excessive preset as an answer for these with extra ‘smart’ machines.

Wildlands can also be extremely scalable. Vegetation is clearly one in all the useful resource hogs, and you’ll be able to cycle between a choice of element ranges in the graphics menus. Said menus are additionally extremely nicely designed and the finest I’ve ever seen in a PC sport.

Don’t count on a flawless expertise, although. The frequent pop-in at larger texture ranges is distracting, and close to sufficient inconceivable to fully eradicate with out both shopping for extra highly effective parts or settling for decrease texture resolutions. Occasional freezes are upsetting, however fortunately unusual. You must also count on just a few Bethesda-style open world bugs; whereas I’ve but to expertise any, I’ve seen a few hilarious movies on YouTube involving chairs that refuse to obey the legal guidelines of physics and characters who simply can’t keep inside automobiles.

Niggles apart although, Wildlands is predominantly easy crusing. If the PC is your platform of alternative I’d advocate you go for it, particularly in the event you’ve bought a high-end GPU that’s able to rendering the extremely preset in all its glory. Plus there’s that little factor referred to as ‘mouse management’, which I’ve heard is fairly helpful relating to tactical taking pictures…

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