Featured image credit: Respawn Entertainment
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Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a 2019 action-adventure game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. The game itself is not related to the Star Wars: Jedi Knight series, and as such has no predecessors, however, it is set in Star Wars universe, and its plot is considered to be a part of the Star Wars canon. The game received generally favorable reviews from critics, and has managed to sell more than eight million copies worldwide by the January 2020.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is visually very impressive game, as it meticulously follows Star Wars aesthetics. In this article we are going to examine game’s system performance, and offer graphics settings optimization guide for owners of AMD Radeon RX 580 and other Tier 4 graphics cards such as Radeon RX 5500 XT or GeForce GTX 1650 Super.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is powered by the latest iteration of Unreal Engine 4. Unlike other games powered by this engine, such as ARK: Survival Evolved or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, this game is much more optimized in terms of system performance. However, many players reported frequent in-game stuttering problems, as well as plethora of bugs, but none of this problems break the game’s mechanics in any way or seriously undermine gameplay experience. Overall the game should work fine on most systems, and hitting 60 FPS with mainstream graphics cards shouldn’t be a difficult task. In order to examine game’s performance, we have used our standard benchmark PC rig with the following components:
Testing Rig Specifications
In order to measure how many frames per second can our system achieve, we have used MSI Afterburner tool (ver. 4.6.1) and RivaTuner Statistics Server (ver. 7.2.2). Since Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order doesn’t have a built-in benchmark tool, our benchmark consisted of running the same arbitrary sequence for 60 seconds and then logging the data with the programs we have mentioned above.
Since Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order offers variety of adjustable graphics settings with which you might not be familiar with, there are three image quality presets at your disposal to easily switch to: Medium, High and Epic. Here you can see our average FPS results for 1080p resolution at each of the mentioned presets:
As you can see, our Radeon RX 580 didn’t have too much trouble achieving 60 FPS on average, even with Epic settings preset turned on. However, the 1% Low results were a bit underwhelming. The overall frame rates weren’t very consistent, and they fluctuated a lot between 30 and 70 FPS. There was a lot of stuttering, and rendering certain visual effects (such as lightsaber sparkling, or explosions) decreased FPS a lot. The card did manage to pull out those 60 FPS on average, but frequent dips and stutters resulted in 1% Low results being well below variable refresh range of our FreeSync capable monitor.
System performance with High graphics preset was much more stable and enjoyable. Average FPS floated around 67 FPS area, while the 1% Low results never went below 50 FPS. The overall image quality looked nearly identical to the one with Epic settings on, however, there was noticeably less blur and some visual effects weren’t as flashy as before.
Lowering all graphics settings to Medium preset did improve performance, but overall image quality became less impressive. If you own a Tier 4 graphics card, then don’t use Medium preset settings, as your card will easily provide better visuals with higher settings on. At Medium preset there aren’t any post-processing effects, as well as other visual effects. Object geometry is practically the same, but textures are less sharp, and on some objects, like rocks, they might look a bit pixelated. This preset might be most useful for owners of Tier 5 graphics cards or latest Ryzen APUs.
Playing this game in resolutions higher than 1080p with Tier 4 graphics card is pointless. At 1440p our RX 580 struggled to maintain stable 40 FPS, while at 4K resolution, the card couldn’t render more than 25 frames per second at any point. Testing this game in 4K revealed that our 1% Low results were nearly identical as our average results, which means that our Intel Core i7-4770 processor is still good a CPU, and that 4K gaming depends more on GPU power rather than CPU’s capabilities.
After examining overall image quality presets, we proceeded further with the analysis of all graphics settings in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. This phase of analysis consisted of running the game at ultra preset, but with each separate image quality setting disabled or maximally lowered. After we acquired the results with each graphical setting off, we had the ability to compare them with the results while they were on. Thus we had a chance to determine performance impact of each of the graphics settings on overall frame rate. As a baseline we used ultra quality preset. Here are the results:
In the above chart we can see that turning off most of the graphical settings won’t improve overall frame rates very much. For example, lowering antialiasing and view distance had no real-world effect on system performance, while lowering texture quality and visual effects contributed with barely noticeable improvements. If we try to translate our data into relative measures, here is what we get:
Like in many modern games, post processing has the most significant impact on system performance in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Turning down post processing will improve overall frame rates by 15%, however, we strongly recommend not doing that, as it will degrade game’s visuals a lot. Instead of that, set post processing to High. We determined that at Ultra setting post processing feature causes unnecessary frame rate drops without any noticeable improvement in image quality. Setting this to High will improve your system performance significantly, at virtually no image fidelity expenses.
Another feature that impacts frame rate a lot in this game is shadow quality. If you have enough powerful graphics card, keep this setting at Ultra, otherwise lower it down to High. Shadows at Medium quality look quite bland, so we don’t recommend using this option. However, choosing between Ultra and High settings is all up to you.
Finally, enabling Dynamic Resolution Scaling will enormously improve system performance. In our case, it improved our frame rates by 58% compared to ultra quality preset. Although we are not fans of dynamic resolution scaling in video games, in this particular game, this option will do wonders.
What this setting basically does is that it dynamically changes resolution size in order to maintain desired FPS. This means that game will dynamically increase or decreased internal resolution in order to achieve best possible outcome, but at the expense of image quality. In certain situations this means that game might look more blurry, or less detailed, however, this might only be observable in graphically intense scenarios. In our particular case, we didn’t notice any visible change during our gameplay, so we strongly recommend enabling this option.
Recommended settings for Radeon RX 580 and other Tier 4 graphics card
If you own an AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card, here is our recommendation which settings should be enabled and which disabled in order to achieve optimal 60 FPS experience at 1080p resolution:
|Dynamic Resolution Scaling||On|
With the above settings we managed to achieve very enjoyable gameplay experience while retaining maximum image quality. During our tests, the game ran in between 60 and 90 FPS with the above settings, which we consider more than enough for good gaming experience. In some areas on planet Kashyyyk frame rates occasionally dropped below 60 FPS mark, however, that occurred in very few instances. Overall, we achieved silky smooth gameplay in combination with our FreeSync monitor, but occasional stutters did occur, which was more of Unreal Engine’s 4 problem, rather than our graphics card.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a refreshingly novel and exciting adventure game, which we had been anticipating for a long time. Game looks gorgeous, yet very simplistic. Aesthetics follow the spirit of Star Wars franchise, and Unreal Engine 4 contributes a lot in delivering that cinematic visual feeling.
The game runs fairly good on most mainstream systems, however, it could be more optimized. Frequent stutters caused by loading assets in the background are mostly caused due to bad coding, and not graphics card’s capabilities. Achieving 60 FPS with Tier 4 graphics cards is possible, provided that you only play the game in 1080p resolution, and with some configuration tweaks. For gaming in 1440p or 4K, it is best to upgrade to more powerful graphics card such as GeForce RTX 2060 or Radeon RX 5700.