What you need to know
- The Remnant 2 community has been voicing its opinions on the game's performance and the apparent design of it to be reliant on upscaling technology.
- The developers have previously confirmed to us that their intention is for Remnant 2 to be played with one of the three upscalers on.
- Opinions are inflamed somewhat further by disappointing performance from a game that doesn't boast particularly outrageous visuals.
Despite being a good game at its core, Remnant 2 has had a bit of a rocky launch in some corners. Indeed, unless you were playing on a top tier NVIDIA or AMD graphics card, you noticed gremlins immediately. In some cases, horsepower hides all. It definitely wasn't hidden from me, someone who had to pass off the review to a colleague because of the issues I was facing.
The Remnant 2 community is currently up in arms about one such part of this — the necessity to be running an upscaler to enjoy the game at all.
A developer has said as much on Reddit, and I've been told the same. My issues were specifically Intel Arc related (and a beta fix has already been offered for these) but in the same email thread, I was told the game was designed to be played with an upscaler. This is alarming and definitely doesn't want to become a trend.
I simply cannot play Remnant 2 on my Intel Arc A770 without XeSS enabled. And even then, I'm limited to 1080p at medium settings and if I turn it up to performance settings, I can go to about 72 FPS. Not horrible, and it's a perfectly enjoyable experience, but on a card capable of playing more visually demanding games at 1440p, it's still a bit disappointing.
Our pals over at Tom's Hardware have highlighted some other hardware combinations that indicate the scope of the issue.
"To hit 60 fps at 1080p ultra settings — a configuration modern 60-class cards can achieve with most titles — Owned had to jump up from the RTX 2060 to an RTX 3080 12GB. To get a similar performance at 1440p (let alone 4K), Owen had to jump even higher — to Nvidia's current flagship GPU, the RTX 4090."
I've spent time with the RTX 4090 and the only time it was ever flummoxed in my experience was with Gotham Knights, a game that was just terribly optimized. Truly awful (hopefully it's improved in the months since). That graphics card can play the most visually demanding games without breaking a sweat. That should indicate that the issues aren't really with our hardware.
I know less than nothing about game development, so I certainly won't be joining in the chorus from places like Reddit that Remnant 2 is lazy. Lots of people have worked very hard on this game, and ultimately there's a lot to love about it. But it's crystal clear that something isn't as we'd hope when it comes to how well it performs. And if you put on a cynical hat, you could easily suggest that the mandatory upscaler requirement is hiding something.
Upscalers such as DLSS, FSR and XeSS are generally to help make performance better without sacrificing too much in terms of image quality. They can help gamers on weaker hardware play more demanding games, and in cases with tech like ray tracing, replenish the lost frame rate that comes as a result of the added GPU demand. What they're not traditionally supposed to be is a get out of jail free card to make a game playable.
I'd be lying if I wasn't alarmed by this in Remnant 2, and I'm clearly not alone. I can't offer any technical knowhow as to why, but I really hope it doesn't become the norm. Graphics cards are getting increasingly expensive. If this kind of thing becomes more common, those on older and lower-end hardware could soon find themselves priced out of playing games. And nobody wins then.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine