Nearly a month on from its launch, Lords of the Fallen is a visually beautiful Soulslike that is nonetheless held again by ongoing technical points on console – and that is a disgrace. In any case, this 2023 sequence reboot is a uncommon breed of next-gen challenge designed only for PlayStation 5, Xbox Sequence X, S and PC. Added to that, the sport is constructed on Unreal Engine 5 with a heavy use of its Nanite and Lumen applied sciences. Developer Hexworks goes all-out right here in its world-building and the UE5 options enable for intricately detailed gothic environments, lit by a hybrid ray-traced international illumination method. Add in a realm-switching mechanic – within the custom of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver – and it is sensible that the sport’s ambition is probably past the scope of a last-gen console launch.
In truth primarily based on the proof right this moment, it is a huge ask even on right this moment’s machines. Regardless of its technical achievements, Lords of the Fallen’s launch has not been a easy one – and even after nearly a month’s price of patches on the console entrance, the sport stays flawed as of model 1.1.293 (and even in our re-test of v1.1.310 as of publishing this text right this moment) with clear frame-rate drops and points in picture high quality.
With this in thoughts, it is time to lastly deal with the PS5, Sequence X and Sequence S variations in flip, every absolutely patched up. A heads up that there are two modes included on each console, as is the development lately: a 60fps efficiency mode and 30fps high quality mode – and we’ll be evaluating each. Particularly although, there’s a lot to be mentioned for the sport’s supply of 60fps gameplay – with Sequence S particularly popping out worse for put on.
Let’s begin with the Xbox Sequence S, the place Lords of the Fallen’s points are actually exhausting to disregard in its present state. Even within the 60fps efficiency mode, the sport fails to hit that prime goal more often than not – regardless of operating at a dynamic 720p decision with drops to 432p at lowest. I’ve seen 40-60fps readouts all through the primary tutorial parts of the sport, earlier than dropping to the mid-20s (!) within the first correct boss battle in opposition to Pieta. It is right here, notably as soon as Pieta begins summoning swords from the heavens, that we see the decision go to its lowest worth of 432p on Sequence S, simply 60 p.c of 720p. With such a low base pixel depend to work with, the upscaler struggles and movie high quality in movement is commonly fairly poor.
This Pieta battle is the worst case I’ve encountered thus far, as a repeatable state of affairs. If there’s a silver lining, it is that Sequence S does really handle to hit 60fps a few of the time – in enclosed, smaller dungeons. The larger situation is the frame-time supply, with frame-rates at factors dropping abruptly to trigger a visual hitch mid-combat. In excessive circumstances, it is even attainable for Sequence S to repeatedly run beneath 10fps as we transfer between main areas.
All of this appllies as of the most recent replace, 1.1.293, the place these efficiency hang-ups are nonetheless an issue. After giving the Sequence S machine an entire reboot, and organising a brand-new character it isn’t lengthy earlier than efficiency crashes to the only frame-rate digits. Taking part in for barely half an hour, I noticed a heavy lurch right down to 5fps for an excellent stretch, simply earlier than the Pieta boss battle. Extra crucially although, the frame-time studying exhibits stutters in extra of 320ms – making the sport close to unattainable to manage for seconds at a time. These hang-ups are admittedly much less widespread than they have been at launch, but it surely occurs usually sufficient to be a serious playability situation.
It is price noting that on-line play is disabled for all testing – ruling out networking rivalry, so it is almost definitely that it is a reminiscence or CPU bottleneck situation. The upside is that Hexworks’ efforts to optimise the sport are ongoing, with patch notes usually stating reminiscence useage enhancements on console. For now nevertheless, the lurches in frame-rate throughout traversal and people mid-20s readings through the Pieta boss battle are one thing to be cautious of on Sequence S.
Subsequent alongside is Sequence X, which presents some excellent news to begin: in virtually each space the place Sequence S drops into the 40s, Sequence X pushes a extra strong 60fps studying. The necessary tutorial bit, and the ruined village past it, are all usually at 60 – although later stress factors just like the Pieta boss battle and Skyrest hub pull Sequence X right down to the 40fps area. Once more it is fast motion, plus the extra advanced geometry of the Umbral realm, that cues larger lurches. On common, the standard studying on Sequence X traits in the direction of 60fps a minimum of – whereas its efficiency mode’s decision is a dynamic 1152p, dropping to 648p lowest in GPU-taxing areas. Larger resolutions are attainable too – and we noticed one 1215p pattern when wanting on the sky – however that is the commonest vary.
Sadly, there is a catch: hitching and efficiency hang-ups are a problem on Sequence X as nicely, notably in fast traversal. These drops aren’t as frequent as on Sequence S and it seems to take much more play-time to achieve the identical low, single-digit ranges. Nonetheless, it is unattainable to disregard when it occurs. To maintain the take a look at honest, once more I began a contemporary new character on my Sequence X run and performed for 2 hours with out vital points. Finally although, the sport choked up – with efficiency dropping all the best way right down to 1fps after an prolonged dash the world over. It is worse than any stretch I had on Sequence S, although, I believe it is attainable to hit an analogous breaking level given sufficient time. As a fast repair, closing and restarting the app from the Xbox menu clears this sustained sub-10fps efficiency utterly, and the journey resumed at nearer to 60fps once more.
That apart, and in any other case, the frame-rate on Sequence X’s efficiency mode usually rests at 60fps, with drops into the 40s.
Sticking to efficiency testing, let’s examine PS5 in motion. Each PS5 and Sequence X are equivalent in visible setup, so once more it is an 1152p dynamic decision with 648p because the decrease bounds right here. Body-rates are additionally usually a match for Sequence X: that’s to say usually it is at 60fps, however areas just like the Skyrest Hub and Pilgrim’s Perch ultimately drop us into the 40s and 50s. The upside to enjoying on PS5 is that hitching is drastically lowered in comparison with the Xbox machines – and likewise I’ve but to expertise any related sub-10fps hang-ups. As a disclaimer, it isn’t been attainable to check everything of the sport – and PS5 might very feasibly have points afterward. Thus far a minimum of, the obvious frame-time spikes are in response to traversal or realm-switching – spiking us to round 70ms – however I’ve but to see any code purple conditions on a par with Sequence S or X.
In addition to the 60fps efficiency mode, there’s additionally a 30fps high quality mode on each console. As you’d anticipate, this selection flattens out the peaks and valleys of the efficiency mode to a principally straight 30fps replace, the catch being that it runs with uneven frame-pacing. These fluctuations in frame-time, between 16-50ms are apparent sufficient that I would advocate the 60fps efficiency mode total. Regardless of its boosts in decision, the wavering frame-times imply the standard mode would not really feel notably easy in movement.
Speaking on the visible benefits with the standard mode, PS5 and Sequence X get a lift to a dynamic 1620p, with drops to 1296p at lowest. It is a clearly seen improve, and the upper pixel depend permits every machine to reconstruct a extra convincing 4K picture (by way of AMD’s FSR2 or Unreal’s TAAU, that are each obtainable on PC). Sequence S can be enhanced in its high quality mode with a dynamic 972p picture, although visibility nonetheless suffers on Sequence S when it drops to its 648p decrease finish on this mode. Additionally, all three consoles nonetheless exhibit hitches and hang-ups at factors with this 30fps cap in place. It is not solely downside solved – particularly throughout fast traversal the place hitches flare up most – although these points do a minimum of appear to be partially disguised by the 30fps cap.
There are just a few different upsides to operating at 30fps too, together with boosts to world shadow high quality, notably noticeable on sun-cast shadows, whereas volumetric lighting runs at the next decision, decreasing stair-stepping throughout streaks of sunshine. Display house reflections (SSR) additionally see an analogous enhance in high quality, clearing up the mirror picture in puddles. There are uncommon upgrades in shadow and geometry LODs too, however out of all of those, it is actually the decision enhance and clearer shadows that make the distinction. As a side-note, movement blur, chromatic aberration and movie grain are toggleable within the menus, which is useful for Digital Foundry comparisons and antifans of those results.
The ultimate query then: how do the consoles examine? Taking the 60fps efficiency mode for example, there’s little to separate Sequence X and PS5 visually. At launch PS5 was lacking grass – inexplicably – however on the most recent construct it has been reintroduced and the premium consoles are actually on par. Even the decision vary is a match between the 2, on every mode. Let’s name this a draw.
It is the comparisons with Sequence S which can be extra revealing. At peak we’re hitting 720p, with 432p as the acute lowest determine as talked about earlier, and even after reconstruction this ends in a few of the muddiest picture high quality I’ve seen on the platform. Essentially, that is the value we have now to pay for a 4TF console to push an identical function set to PS5 and Sequence X. We get Nanite, Lumen and the choice to render it out at 60fps, however the turnout shouldn’t be all the time flattering on fashionable shows.
Compared with Sequence X’s personal efficiency mode, Sequence S struggles to match up in picture high quality. It additionally takes a visual reduce in settings elsewhere, with lower-quality volumetric results, decrease texture high quality and even lower-grade geometry cave formations. Mixed with the low decision picture and efficiency struggles, it is clear that the Sequence S model’s push for 60fps is not a profitable one proper now.
Regardless of a number of patches being logged to its title already, the Lords of the Fallen reboot sadly nonetheless has loads of points on console. It is a disgrace although, given it ekes out lovely outcomes from Unreal Engine 5’s tech. This recreation is unusually bold for a Soulslike when it comes to visuals and mechanics, and UE5’s nanite specifically paves the best way for 2 beautifully-detailed worlds rendered in parallel. Proper now although this is not sufficient to redeem the hang-ups, hitches and sub-60fps frame-rates we’re seeing. It is nonetheless a compromised expertise on PS5 and Sequence X right this moment, and as soon as once more Xbox Sequence S finds itself out of its depth in trying to steadiness efficiency with visible high quality.