Just Cause 3’s Performance Isn’t Great, Seems Worst On Xbox

Just Cause 3’s Performance Isn’t Great, Seems Worst On Xbox

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:

Or this one by hugh_jas:

(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.


  • I know the article is mostly about the XB1 version, but for PC users reading:

    If you have an Nvidia card, GeForce Experience’s automatic settings for the game do a world of difference. When I first loaded the game I was getting 30-50 FPS (which was perfectly playable). After I exited I looked at GFE to see what recommendations it made. It looked like it actually increased settings higher than I already had them, but when I loaded the game again I was getting a smooth 60 FPS even during busy scenes. I have no idea what setting it toggled or if it’s even one that was available in the in-game menu, but it made a huge difference.

    Also for Nvidia users, the game-ready drivers for this game are out today. Make sure you update, it should provide further performance improvements.

    For AMD users, there’s a beta driver available that fixes a lot of issues like terrain pop-in.

    • Just Cause 3 doesn’t come up in supported games. I’ve been getting around 40-60 @1440p. A more stable FPS would be awesome.

      Nevermind its download the new driver now XD

      • You might need to refresh the games list, I had to do that manually but after I did it appeared. I was able to get the GFE settings enabled before the game-ready driver came out today.

      • GW2 isn’t at all demanding, supersampling is a good option to improve graphical quality. If you’re not interested in it, just click the spanner icon and change the resolution to your preferred value.

        More generally, GFE settings have always been spot on for me (780Ti). It’s not like there’s any trust involved, you just enable it, load the game, see how it performs and if you don’t like it you can turn it off again.

        • GW2 isnt demanding if there’s no players around and nothing is happening. The instant you get into larger fights, the CPU and GPU demand spikes up.

          • I can’t really comment on anything but my own experience. I haven’t had any frame drops in crowded areas with supersampling enabled, it’s always been 60+. But as I mentioned, if you don’t want it, it’s just a dropdown in the GFE settings for that game. You can change it and still use automatic optimisation.

  • Played it on PS4 for about 3-4 hours straight last night and didnt encounter any issues at all, besides the odd loading screen popping up every so often between cutscenes, but I think I’m so used to annoyingly loading screens this year, what with loady games like bloodborne and fallout, they seemed negligible….

    • I was the same with JC3 until I had to repeat challenges multiple times to get the 5 gears. Some of the load times between ~30 second attempts is crazy.

  • Well, I’ve been playing it on the xbone… and I haven’t seen it chug quite as bad as in that first video from NX Gamer.
    Though I did install the patch yesterday… and I had needed to do a complete restart of my console (unrelated to the game).
    I will say however that the frame rate has dipped a little in particularly hectic moments… but eh, I’m a long time console player. I’m used to that.

    Initial loading times have only been around 2-3 minutes… not awful… certainly seen far worse from games that aren’t loading a massive game world.

    Probably my biggest complaint is the loading times after death. Still not ages… but just long enough to become an irritation if you’re doing a difficult mission.

  • I wish I could play it – I preloaded it on Monday but the unpacking was taking an AGE! Steam was estimating between 1 hour a 1 year(?!) to complete it. So I cancelled the installation, deleted the preload and started from scratch. That was at 9pm last night, it was still going at 6 this morning. I’m on BP cable and have a whole crapload of disk space. Steam just didn’t want to cooperate for some reason.

    The HDD is only about 6 months old but Steam reported a couple of write errors – I hope it isn’t dying!

  • This just reinforces how much the traditional publisher model is out-dated and broken. To get proper, rigorous testing, you need the product out in the wild being tested by 1,000’s if not 10,000’s of people. Having such a restrictive QA and testing regime as houses like Square do, means the game only gets tested on maybe 100…

    In any case, I have it running on my PC, but I only managed to get 30 minutes of actual gameplay before going to bed last night. It feels good… but yeh, there are stutters and stuff happening.. need more time in game to get a better approximation though.

    I did have a crash about 3 minutes into the game at first, then I updated to the Beta drivers for AMD and it didn’t crash and felt a bit smoother too. Another gripe I have is the loading screen right at the beginning of the game and the forced “Online Login” that seems to take way too long for such a simple thing. Double dipping on the DRM (Steam login plus a Square authentication in-game) is poor form in my opinion. After the login, then you get another loading screen after that, then finally the main menu. Estimate at least 2, maybe 3, minutes just to get to the main menu.

    I have the game installed on SSD with 12GB ram and AMD Phenom II 1090T 3.8GHz.. so really.. it shouldn’t be taking 2 to 3 minutes to get to the main menu…

    • I think that’s probably more the case with online games rather than single player experiences like this one, though. I guess it may be a different situation on PC just because of the near-infinite possible combinations of hardware that it has to content with. But consoles are a known quantity, a stationary target – they just need to optimize it for one hardware configuration per platform. I’d be very surprised if they weren’t aware of the performance issues on consoles when they pushed it out the door.

    • i think loading steam in offline mode fixes that, but i just wait that same time. I have it installed on an old WD black HD and takes the same time so its definitely not your PC 🙁

  • I was on the fence with this, but I think I’ll leave it a while for some patches and then think about it then.

    Decision to hold off made easier by the fact that I picked up MGS 5 on the PS store for under $50 last night, so that’ll keep me busy for a while anyway 😀

  • Put this on my christmas wish list, so hopefully some of the issues will be ironed out before I get to play it.

  • with every setting as high as it goes at 1080p 95% of the time i sit at 60fps with my 970.

    Only a couple times has it dipped down to 35-40fps im rather happy with its performance.

  • dunno why there has to be an FPS story on every single game

    more particles and FX, moving viewpoint and poylgons being thrown about the joint is gonna lower fps no matter what video card or system you have

    its logical

    consoles are just weak

  • Yeah, got a few solid hours in on the xbox last night. Frame rate seemed fine to me, no noticable dips, but the load times were doing my head in. Trying to do challenegs, and get them 100% requires a few restarts, with a load of a couple of minutes between each, I was spending more time on the load screens then i was in the actual challenge. I’d understand if I was loading a new game, but just restarting a mission should be a matter of seconds, not minutes. I gave up on a few simply because I couldn’t be assed waiting for it to load again

    Still, even with the load times its still a great game. Is just fun, blowing shit up and gliding around on the parachute/wingsuit will keep me entertained for many hours 🙂

  • There was loads of this about Fallout 4 prior to release as well, citing constant slowdown as a problem. I think i’ve had it once when i was underground and there was green gas everywhere.

  • Sounds like Kirk needs to learn how to keep his PC in working order. Game runs just fine on my end @1440.

  • Ok so not only am I very dismayed by the fact that the ps4 demolishes the xbone ( my first choice of console since 360 ) in terms of raw power ( seriously Microsoft, how did u let that happen, I cry myself to sleep some nights now you know ) , but I’m just a little perturbed by what we’re seeing here.
    Has this generation of consoles failed us? They’re only 2 years in and it seems that the devs are having a tough time coding in all the great new graphics while simultaneously having all their open world malarkey humming away in the background….unless you’re cd projekt red of course, but i digress.

    In fallout 4 the other night,I was trying to zoom in and watch two knights walk towards me through some thick clouds of smoke while a chopper flew overhead , and it brought me back to my raving days of strobe lights and smoke machines.

    Can they handle the new games and experiences I want? How r the 3 dimensional oculus rift etc. games going to run? I guess what I’m really saying is:
    Will this generation of consoles have a markedly smaller time span in comparison to the previous one?

    I’d have to say yes. They have seemingly taken an eon to provide us with truly startling content that we expect from a generational leap. 4k televisions are becoming more affordable every day -my fiancée wants one, even though I tell her there’s not much that will really use those extra pixels yet – and consumers will want that from their consoles sooner rather than later.

    I don’t know. The last generation of consoles took a while to really wow the consumers too, and it always takes time to properly harness the internal architecture of these things. Also up until now a lot of games were being developed simultaneously on both last and current gen, presumably this could lead to less resources and focus on making this generation the absolute best it can be.

    It’s just that I waited 8 freaking years for my xbox one, and it’s not what I expected at all, even though at the same I love it. I wouldn’t wait another 8 years for the next one is what I’m saying. And no ps4 fanboys, yours isn’t the Droid I’m looking for either.

    Move along. Move along.

    Tl ; Dr
    these new consoles are great, but underwhelming, and this console generation will be much shorter than the last.

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