Elden Ring is a reminder that frame rate isn’t everything

The biggest PC game of 2022 has a serious technical flaw:

It is limited to 60 frames per second. Normally I would say that setting a frame rate ceiling is unacceptable for a modern blockbuster. It hurts not to use the full power of my RTX 3080 and my 3440×1440. 144Hz display on this amazing game. This blurs one of the biggest differences between us and those who play on consoles. Although my friends on PlayStation tell me that apparently, the only way to achieve a solid 60fps is in Elden Ring. To run the PS4 Pro version on PS5 .

But three weeks 12 million copies later this unacceptable sin of frame rate was adopted. Initial complaints about performance were drowned out by enthusiastic, overflowing accolades. What does it mean that we agonize over framerate (to the point that entire YouTube channels devote to studying it), but in the face of a great game, it doesn’t matter?

Elden Ring’s technical problems lie deeper than the framerate cap,

With a video options menu that doesn’t match what most PC gamers would consider standard. Notable omissions: no support for ultra-wide resolutions, no anisotropic filtering toggle, limited anti-aliasing options, and no choice to run Elden Ring on anything other than DX12. But a more serious and persistent problem for some players is stuttering. Frame drops, although somewhat mitigated after a couple of fixes, are still lingering for the player segment. Our Elden ring settings The review laments that even powerful PCs are not immune.

ABOVE: An example of Elden Ring stuttering that we observed at launch.

These issues didn’t escape the attention of players on launch day.

Elden Ring debuted to “mixed” reviews on Steam, weighed down by nearly 20,000 negative reviews in its first two days, most of which seemed to cite poor performance. “Struggling to maintain 60fps/1080p at 3080, severe stuttering and dropping to mid-20s, crashing four times within two hours of playtime,” a review on launch day complained. “The game is a gigantic celebration of stuttering,” wrote another. I saw the reviews coming in and got really excited. But unfortunately this game just does. Doesn’t work,” shared another.

History shows that PC gamers don’t like being treated as an afterthought.

Stuttering was also a problem during the launch of Deathloop last year. completely corrected one month after launch, it has a Metacritic user rating of 5.0. In the case of Elden Ring, the complaints on Steam seemed to evaporate as players delved deeper into the world between the lands. The dissatisfied reviewers mentioned above played Elden Ring for 83, 137 and 78 hours, respectively. They are not alone.

Graph showing reviews of Elden Ring on Steam by day, with decreasing red bars representing negative reviews.

Special care

Players have been fascinated by the depth and scope of Elden Ring, and this is one of the rare modern games that seems to have met or surpassed years of hype. This is evidenced by the Steam reviews, which give the highest rating, but still, acknowledge the high performance:

  • “Not ignoring performance issues, but this game is so good that despite that, I get 10 points from me.”
  • “The 60fps cap is bad but stable so you get used to it pretty quickly and with a couple of key remappings I really like it.”
  • “I play it at 900×600 on a laptop card at 1050 at 30fps and it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played.”
  • “Nearly perfect game that needs some performance improvement”
  • “Performance issues aside… Elden Ring is a master class in creating an open world and filling it with a bunch of cool stuff to fight and discover without overwhelming it with countless repetitive flag challenges that feel more like work than for entertainment.”

Elden Ring becomes an exception to one of the sacred rules of PC gaming

Because there is a precedent for Japanese games, with all due respect to the creativity of the country’s generations, that do not meet the current technical standards of PC gamers. Avid FromSoft fans knew there could be issues, but other recent titles from Japan round out the narrative: Square Enix RPG Nier Replicant, released last year at a 60fps lock but on Metacritic has a respectable 80fps. Sega’s Valkyria Chronicles also launched at 60fps in 2014. Dark Souls debut on PC in 2012, prompting these and other Japanese developers to use Steam.

One of the truisms I repeat to others about PC gamers is that they are unwilling to compromise.

But it’s clear that we don’t apply these values ​​uniformly,

And that each game is released in its own unique context. In 2017 and 2018, gamers fought the internet war for loot boxes, prompting governments around the world to act, but in some popular games, these systems still exist. The Epic Games Store, which at one point many considered an insult to the hobby itself, is enduring, with the announcement of new exclusives such as Darkest Dungeon 2 met with mixed excitement and muffled grumbling.

Maybe it’s because even a bad PC port isn’t an abomination today like it was ten years ago,

Because the PC version is no longer a rare, welcome event. The console war is over.Almost everything is now on PC. Those PC values ​​that were fiercely defended are no longer as diverse as ten years ago. Elden Ring demonstrates that PC gamers are not as fanatical and uncompromising in our beliefs as some corners of the hobby may seem to you. In the face of a unique experience, most of us will put aside our deep-seated beliefs about frame rate and how many knobs should be in the graphics menu and just play.

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