Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Origins 60fps updates are transformative on PS5 and Series X/S

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Origins 60fps updates are transformative on PS5 and Series X/S

Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey feature stunning open worlds based on Egyptian and Greek history, with fanatical attention to detail – and now it’s possible to experience these worlds on console at 60fps, twice the frame rate. images of the initial releases. Harnessing the power of new machines for smoother gameplay certainly sounds appealing, but with the massive scale and complexity of these titles, is stable 60fps really achievable?

Returning to test these 2017/2018 versions, Origins and Odyssey still impress visually. Lighting is beautifully saturated, with strong volume and excellent overall illumination, while cinematics feature solid depth of field that transitions into beautiful bokeh shapes, all aided by stable temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) which gives titles a crisp cinematic quality. Even against contemporary open-world titles, there’s not much to complain about – perhaps uneven texture work in places, but that’s a minor flaw on an otherwise flawless piece of work from the developers at Ubisoft. .

Our patch analysis video gives more details on the changes we’ve seen – and haven’t seen.

The 30 to 60 fps jump is the headline feature here, and it comes with surprising reliability. For the most part, the Series S, X, and PS5 hug that 60fps line just fine, with no dips or deviations. There are a few exceptions though, and oddly enough, most of them apply to all current-gen machines, from the mighty PS5 and Series X to the more constrained Series S.

The first performance issue is the real-time cutscenes of these games. Obviously only one frame is duplicated on each camera cut, producing a slight stutter. This was present in last-gen builds as well and is possibly intentional – showing a duplicate image to the player before A camera cut allows you to buffer an image in advance to generate the necessary information for TAA, so that the image after the camera cut can have a high quality AA instead of looking aliased. Judging by the results here, it’s not clear that’s what’s going on, as the images after the camera cuts look raw and take several frames to clean up properly. There are also more obvious issues, like the opening cutscene in Origins running at 50-55fps on all platforms – but I haven’t seen any other cutscenes in either game exhibiting this level of performance. .

Duplicate frames are displayed before camera cuts in cutscenes, manifesting as a small stutter.

ac origins screenshot

Despite the duplicate images on the cuts, the first images after a cut show a lack of detail.

Second, some assets do not update at 60fps. Some of the physics animations in Origins stand out – the cloth animations when riding camels work halfway, for example, as do the cloth animations for banners and some NPCs. The surface normal map on water in Origins also seems to half-update. We also see these kinds of issues in other 60fps fixes or system-level boosts, because some stuff is set to run at a certain refresh level in the stock code, and applying a tweak to increase the overall frame rate will not improve them. elements.

Third, the games’ pre-encoded cutscenes still run at 30fps, which contrasts with the 60fps refresh delivered elsewhere and takes you slightly out of the experience. Annoyingly, some of the pre-encoded cutscenes also run into some truly awful frame-pacing issues, producing an almost unbelievable level of stutter, although thankfully most of the cutscenes are real-time.

Finally, there are some occasional performance issues in combat. Odyssey’s opening sequence, which depicts a huge battle with several dozen characters, was the most obvious culprit in my testing. This is a demanding sequence that sometimes drops frames on all systems. Most fights elsewhere go off without a hitch, though it’s possible that larger fight sequences later in these titles will present similar issues.

Some pre-encoded cutscenes run with consistently incorrect frame timing.

Some pre-encoded cutscenes run with consistently incorrect frame timing.

There are also platform-specific issues. The Series S runs Odyssey’s real-time cutscenes at 30fps, for example, which is a bit odd considering the cutscenes in Origins are at 60fps. The Series X also generally suffers from a few more performance-related drops than other systems. I noticed a handful of occasions where the system suffered frame rate drops when other consoles didn’t, although this was mostly relegated to cutscenes and the gameplay was largely not affected.

Although this is a long list of minor issues, these are actually successful upgrades to 60 fps. Other than a few minor animation issues, the gameplay works very well and the cutscene annoyances are easy enough to ignore. Moment to moment, current-gen consoles now run both games at a solid 60fps – and that dramatically improves the feel of combat, which goes from a choppy 30fps on the latest-gen machines without any blurring of motion at 60 fps combat animations with much more time detail. Side by side, this is clearly a big update, and these titles benefit hugely from the framerate doubling.

While the 60fps update comes with some caveats, the results are solid – but have the visuals been changed at all? No. I’ve tested the games under a variety of conditions and the underlying visual settings appear identical to last-gen versions. No surprise there, but there are some interesting results in terms of visual clarity. These are patches for older versions of the game, after all, which limits how those versions work. Essentially, every current-gen machine inherits its resolution range from the last-gen code. All versions use dynamic resolution, but the top-end figure depends on the platform – and there’s a big discrepancy here.

The Series X achieves full 4K at most, hitting light content at 3840×2160, while the PS5 seems to hit 2880×1620 and the Series S hits 1920×1080. Series X is derived from One X, PS5 from PS4 Pro and Series S from Xbox One. These appear to be the maximum figures available on the latest-gen machines – the pre-patch PS4 version running on PS5 also only hits 1620p, for example. I managed to find a lower limit of 1440p on the Series X, 1152p on the PS5, and 792p on the Series S, although it’s likely that they could drop under certain circumstances. In general, the Series X mostly renders around 1728p, the PS5 is usually at 1440p or a bit below, and the Series S mostly hovers between 900p and 1008p. Cutscenes tend to feature lower resolutions than gameplay, especially in cutscenes that make heavy use of depth of field.

ac origins screenshot

The opening cinematic in Origins exhibits framerate drops on all current-gen machines.

In practice, the three consoles form a kind of neat progression, with a roughly equal difference in clarity as you move from version to version. Series S looks a little blurry, PS5 is more detailed and stable but still slightly rough, and Series X generally looks like 4K, with lots of fine detail. If I had to guess, I’d say that some of these differences probably stem from differences in this maximum resolution figure, since the TAA oversampling that seems to be in effect here works better when sampling in a higher resolution canvas.

The difference between the PS5 and Series X is a bit unusual – we’d generally expect the two machines to be a bit closer, but the much lower high-end resolution on PS5 somewhat undermines the effort.

For fans of the series, these new updates are a great excuse to revisit the worlds of Origins and Odyssey. Both games hold up very well, even now, and the 60fps bump greatly improves animation smoothness and gameplay response. While eighth-gen rendering paradigms are outdated at this point, I came away very happy with the experience on offer – and truly, these fixes come close to what you might expect from a full current-gen console release. .

Assassin’s Creed is an extremely popular series of games, and surely a new title is on the horizon, given AC Valhalla’s vintage. We hope this game takes full advantage of current-gen console technology, but for now these upgraded last-gen editions are satisfactorily improved. It’s a great opportunity to dive into some of the most compelling open worlds in video games.

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