Gears 5 launched earlier last week, but from tomorrow it’ll be available on Steam and to everyone who wasn’t a Game Pass subscriber. And if you’re looking at the PC version in particular, good news: it runs super well.
Gears 4 is already a super good Xbox-to-PC port as is, but The Coalition have outdone themselves with how well optimised Gears 5 is. Digital Foundry did a teardown of the game’s performance across the base Xbox and Xbox One, and the good news there is that you’ll get a solid, polished experience regardless of the console.
How well the game scales on PC is a real achievement, though. If you’ve got a properly high end rig — we’re talking i9-9900K, 3700X or 3900X with an RTX 2080 or higher kind of territory — there’s a ton of extra screen-space reflections and volumetrics available that offer a tangible, significant difference to the visual look. That’s not even factoring in the extra high-resolution texture pack that boosts up the character details and textures, particularly in close cut scenes.
But if you a more mid-range rig, the game is still solid as hell. AMD has an obvious advantage here mostly because Team Red already has a game-ready driver out, but also because The Coalition did a ton of work optimising the game for AMD’s older GCN architecture that the Xbox/Xbox One runs off. AMD cards can also enable asynchronous compute in the graphics menus, while NVIDIA cards cannot. There are a ton of individual options you can customise if you need to keep performance over that critical 60fps mark, too.
Digital Foundry’s findings here show that the biggest gap between AMD and Nvidia is at 1080p. Something worth noticing (and what cropped up a lot during my gameplay) is that the dynamic resolution options introduced a consistent stutter whenever the GPU is being maxed out, which crops up more when you’re playing at 1440p and 4K.
It’s a super good looking game, and it scales exceptionally well. That doesn’t mean Gears 5 is amazing or one of the best games this year, but it’s bloody well engineered.