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Quantum Break on PC is classically broken

Question asked by kingfish on Apr 11, 2016
Latest reply on Apr 12, 2016 by kingfish

" gamers seem to have gotten another raw deal on this Universal Windows Platform title."'


Some of the game’s problems are issues we’ve never seen in a PC title before, as Eurogamer details. These include:

It can’t match a monitor’s stated refresh rate. The game appears to top out at roughly 5/6 of a 60Hz refresh rate, no matter which detail levels or settings you use. Eurogamer couldn’t break 50 FPS on a 60Hz monitor, even when using a GTX Titan X or AMD GPU, even at 720p and lowest detail settings. I’ve heard of game engines being locked to a flat refresh rate before, but a game engine that’s stuck at 5/6 of one? That’s new, and simply using a faster monitor isn’t a solution. A 120 or 144Hz display will run more quickly, but Eurogamer notes: “[Y]ou can’t achieve a level of performance that results in consistent, level frame-times. As far as we can tell, a judder-free experience is impossible at the moment without a patch from Remedy.”

Frame rate caps don’t work: Locking the frame rate at 30 FPS doesn’t actually result in a smooth 30 FPS experience. Instead, frame rate judder remains a significant issue — one that’s magnified by the fact that the frames are being displayed for comparatively longer periods of time. In a standard Win32 application, this could be fixed through the frame rate controls available through the Nvidia Control Panel or AMD’s Radeon Software, but since this is a Windows Store title with fullscreen borderless mode, those options don’t exist.

The list goes on from there. Image quality is terrible because there’s no option to actually play the game in native 1080p. Gamers are instead being handed 720p upscale, just like the Xbox One. The game’s use of streaming means that it must be installed to an SSD (Eurogamer’s emphasis, not ours). There are LOD issues, draw distance problems, and the game somehow manages to crash Nvidia’s driver on a regular basis. The Radeon R9 390 is, according to Eurogamer, a full 50% faster than the GTX 970.

Gears of Wear, Redux

When Gears of War Ultimate Edition shipped last month, we noted that the game was sofundamentally broken in so many ways, it was impossible to recommend it. Then, we at least had some idea where the problems were — GoW is an early Unreal Engine 3 game that was “updated” for DirectX 12 while keeping the vast majority of the original source code intact. It performed terribly on AMD cards at launch and less-than perfectly on Nvidia hardware, and while later patches have reportedly improved the situation, it still isn’t very good.

Now we have Quantum Break — a game built on a brand-new Northlight Engine and designed explicitly for the Xbox One and Windows 10. The situation isn’t quite as bad of Gears of War, but the rampant driver crashing and terrible performance on Nvidia hardware suggest Quantum Break either didn’t go through proper testing on PCs or is yet another example of a terrible console port. Given that some of these issues are present on both AMD and Nvidia hardware, it’s impossible to disentangle what’s caused by poor game code, what’s driven by the broken Universal Windows Platform, and what might be caused by problems in the drivers both AMD and Nvidia have released.