Just Cause 3 launched yesterday, and while Kirk Hamilton enjoyed the open world blow ’em up, he hesitated to recommend it, due to performance issues. The PC version has problems, but it seems the Xbox One got the short end of the stick.
Here’s how Kirk described things in his review yesterday:
The early PC build that I played had some significant performance problems. I run a 4GB GTX970 GPU and a 3.5Ghz Intel i7 CPU, and have been unable to maintain a steady frame-rate in full screen mode no matter what settings I tweak. Running the game in windowed mode helps things, but only a bit: My experience has been significantly hampered by bugs, visual glitches, and performance hitches, along with several hard crashes to desktop. Nvidia will no doubt release an optimised driver to coincide with Just Cause 3’s retail release, but I don’t know how much that will improve things on the PC end. Meanwhile, I received a code for the PS4 version just today, so I can’t yet authoritatively speak to how the game runs on consoles. Early technical performance reports from people who’ve played the console versions are troubling, however. Given how mixed I am on Just Cause 3 in general, I’m not comfortable recommending the game until I’m sure of whether the final version will work properly. Should the performance of the game improve through driver updates and patches, I’ll update the review.
Kirk is currently playing the game with updated drivers — he’ll report back soon.
Kotaku hasn’t personally spent extensive hands-on time with the console versions of Just Cause 3, but it’s become routine for technical analysts to pick apart the different versions of multiplatform games as soon as they’re released.
It’s been known for a while that Just Cause 3 would run at a lowered 900p on Xbox One, but it’d been said both would run at 30 frames-per-second.
The first signs of worry came from a review of the Xbox One version, in which YouTube’s NX Gamer alleged loading times up to 15 minutes (!) during extended periods of play and frame rate drops to as low as 17 frames-per-second. Oof.
The problem? NX Gamer doesn’t showcase the supposedly awful loading times or any instance of the game dropping to 17 frames-per-second in his video. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but without proof, one report isn’t enough to go on.
He does, however, consistently show it dropping below 30 frames-per-second:
Fortunately, we have another analysis: the typically reliable folks at Digital Foundry. Here’s how they described the frame rate drops in on both consoles:
What’s clear is that neither version of Just Cause 3 is able to sustain a locked 30fps, but it is indeed the Xbox One release that offers a noticeably lower level of in-game fluidity. In our tests, we’ve compared both cut-scenes and gameplay, and our lowest recorded drop occurs on Xbox One, where a massive explosion sends us plummeting to 20fps, while PS4 plateaus to 24fps in entirely different circumstances – with CPU power the likely culprit for bottlenecked performance there.
They did, however, point out how it’s worse on Xbox One:
In between shoot-outs, both editions mostly hold at 30fps, but once things kick off, it’s clear that Microsoft’s machine struggles to a more noticeable extent. It’s a little disappointing that neither version of the game can stick to its target frame-rate – high tempo combat with lots of performance-sapping alpha transparencies cause issues on both machines – but it’s clear that PlayStation 4 has the edge in sustaining target performance more consistently. What’s particularly disappointing is that even in areas with little or nothing going on, Xbox One can still have issues – moving into a forest area and spinning around on the spot can cause the engine’s performance to drop to the mid-20s, while PlayStation 4 retains the lion’s share of its performance.
The bizarre “forest area and spinning around” they’re talking about is featured in their YouTube video analysis, which I’ve embedded at the appropriate moment. (If it doesn’t work for you, fast forward to the 2:02 mark in the video.)
Yeah, that’s not great.
Still, it’s not close to the dreaded 17 frames-per-second in the first report, and I can’t find much evidence of other people seeing the game performing that bad.
While perusing the game’s subreddit, I found this take by Majd777:
(Clever name, by the way.)
Another few users weighed in, confirming the game’s frame rate definitely fluctuates, but it hasn’t stopped them from continuing to play the game:
Your mileage may vary, of course.
Square Enix and Avalanche Software haven’t said anything about an upcoming patch for the game, nor did they respond to my requests for comment about the game’s frame rate. However, the game’s Twitter account is pointing people towards a support forum to air their complaints and problems, which presumably will be part of an update for the game, whenever that might come.