Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima’s much-acclaimed and somewhat nonsensical post-pandemic package delivery program — excuse me, I mean game — is coming to PC, with a bevy of enhancements from both AMD and Nvidia. The game supports a variety of graphics settings, including support for 16:9 and 21:9 resolutions, maximum frame rate targets between 30 and 240fps, and settings that often offer more detail than the PS4 version of the game.
More importantly, though, it looks like Death Stranding offers excellent performance, in part thanks to support for features such as AMD’s FidelityFX CAS and Nvidia’s DLSS 2.0. The game’s spec sheets are modest — owning a midrange gaming rig, or even a relatively low-end system won’t prevent you from playing Death Stranding.
(Note: All of the images in this story were provided by either 505 Games or Nvidia; both companies are keeping a tight lock on things until the game formally ships on July 14.)
THG and Ars Technica have performance write-ups. The latter tested a 2016 Alienware laptop with a GTX 1060, similar to my own, and found that the system is capable of 60fps at 1440p if you activate AMD’s FidelityFX CAS and use 1440p (ironically, 1440p runs faster than 1080p, according to their testing). Death Stranding also includes a few missions with ties to the Half-Life and Portal universe — these are described as nice tie-ins, but not being worth the price of purchase in and of themselves.
According to Ars, while DLSS 2.0 improves performance on the RTX 2060 Super, AMD’s FidelityFX CAS apparently improves performance more, with better visual fidelity. This is not to imply DLSS 2.0 performs poorly: THG notes that using DLSS 2.0 can boost a desktop RTX 2060 up to 77fps, well above the 60fps threshold.
One interesting difference is THG and Ars award different winners in terms of overall image quality. When describing AMD’s FidelityFX, THG writes: “[T]he sharpening and upscaling causes some visible shimmer. It’s not terrible, and it’s a way to boost framerates that some people will undoubtedly appreciate, but the effect was certainly noticeable when moving around.” Here’s Ars: “FidelityFX CAS preserves a slight bit more detail in the game’s particle and rain systems, which ranges from a shoulder-shrug of, ‘yeah, AMD is a little better’ most of the time to a head-nod of, ‘okay, AMD wins this round’ in rare moments.” Ars takes note of several places where DLSS still struggles with rendering, where AMD FidelityFX renders things perfectly.
The visual assets released for this preview are under tight lockdown, but the Nvidia-provided DLSS screenshots look fairly good. While Ars does give the nod to FidelityFX, it also states: “DLSS preserved an astonishing amount of detail while also applying TAA-like anti-aliasing.” There are two settings available — quality and performance, with performance being best for hitting 4K and 60fps, while quality dials back the emphasis on speed and improves the overall rendering. With DLSS or Radeon FX, an RTX 2060 Super can hit 60fps at 4K with minimal adjustments to quality.
Apparently, Death Stranding is a game that benefits from playing at 60fps given its emphasis on balance and careful control, so grabbing the game on PC may be a better way to perceive it compared with the lower frame rates generally available on the PS4. It’s taken eight months to bring the PC version out, but it looks like the additional time will be well worth the wait.
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