Gotham Knights PC: Can Its Severe Problems Explain Poor Console Performance?

Gotham Knights PC: Can Its Severe Problems Explain Poor Console Performance?

Gotham Knights 30 FPS Cap and performance woes on consoles have been dominating the headlines and we at DF have yet to even talk about the PC version many have been worried that Gotham Knights are the first game in a trend of games that will Target 30fps on console and that will dominate the rest of the console generation so this article will look specifically at the PC version to help identify what is wrong here and whether or not this fear is Justified the PC version with its adjustable settings and our ability to switch out Hardware allows us to pick apart the issues separate them and get a better idea of what is actually at the heart of these issues that the game has and when we do so we should be able to answer the question of whether or not.

Gotham Knights PC: Can Its Severe Problems Explain Poor Console Performance?

Gotham Knights 30 FPS is indeed a Harbinger for the rest of the console generation so let me get right into it here in this analysis by talking about Gotham Knights biggest issue and that is its CPU performance to get to the heart of the CPU issues this game has I tested the game on my mid-spec review PC with the ubiquitous ryzen 5 3600 since that CPU released in July of 2019 has been one of the most popular PC CPUs due to its price-performance ratio in last generation titles that have six scores and 12 threads 32 megabytes of L3 cache and typically runs around 4 gigahertz all core while gaming.

In the  Gotham Knights game there is the right-hand corner with River tuner statistics server showing a four gigahertz readout on each core it was a quality CPU when it was released and it's why we recommended it speaking of which the 3600 is an interesting comparison point to the PlayStation 5's CPU and the Xbox series X CPU as well as when you put them side by side we can see a lot of similarities but also some differences the 3600 is worse in some areas like core count but better in others like L3 cache.

The frequency the similarities though allow for good insights into console performance usually for the purposes of this airticle I also paired it up with an RTX 2060 super but the GPU I paired it up with is actually rather irrelevant as Gotham Knights is going to be holy CPU limited this is the most important issue in Gotham Knights and it's easy to demonstrate check out the scene here at 1440p bounce mode without Ray tracing and V Sync off on that mid-spec PC.

On the left we have the lowest settings in the game and on the right we have the highest settings in the game the difference in performance between them from highest to lowest is 10 the reason for such a low percentage difference in performance is because the game is CPU limited if we look at GPU utilization we can see that very well where both versions of the scene are far below 100 GPU utilization when a GPU on a PC is below the high 90s in percentage points of utilization.

It typically means that the game is CPU limited we can prove that as well as changing out the GPU there we have the RTX 2060 super on the left in this scene and the RTX 3080 on the right and they are both performing the same basically due to the ryzen 5 3600 limiting their performance the CPU limitation means that most of the settings in the game menu will not at all help with performance for most users.

In this game, the CPU is limiting performance not the GPU and most of these settings affect GPU performance so motion blur Shadow resolution or effects quality are all GPU performance toggles there are only two traditional settings in my experience that affect the cpu's performance The View distance and the environmental detail settings both of these increase performance in the scene from highest to Low by about four to five percent and collectively get us around that 10 performance back when they're both set to low.

It is important to note that the PlayStation 5 version of the game and by extension the Xbox series X version run the view distance setting at low we can see this via looking looking at the distant detail in the scene and seeing how the missing detail in the scene corresponds with the PC low setting based on the fact that these settings affect CPU performance on PC.

I can safely say that the developers turned these down on Console as they were trying to improve CPU performance there the only other setting that affects CPU performance is Ray tracing and it does so by a lot if we turn that on in this scene, we can see that Ray  tracing affects CPU performance more significantly than every other setting combined and negatively affected performance in this static scene by around 15 percent of PlayStation 5 and series X has Ray tracing set to on so they definitely have that burden on their CPUs.

The CPU limits in Gotham Knights are also funnily enough reflected in the default settings the game starts with when you start the game up for the first time it auto detects and defaults a certain group of settings important to note is that the last two settings after Auto detection will be the same regardless of your PC's low environmental detail and medium dra distance those settings will be the same.

If you're on a core I9 12900k with an RTX 4090 like I'm showing here or if you're on something mid-spec like ryzen 5 3600 with an RTX 2060 super the fact that these are the auto detected settings regardless of your PC shows that the devs are trying to put these two settings forward as the default experience are these Auto detectedsettings at all acceptable inperformance when using these default settings plus the ray tracing.

I was flabbergasted by the performance I saw in the game's intro and not by the traditional performance but by something that happens regardless of the settings you have based upon the intro to this game on PC I can safely say that the publisher put out this game on launch day without a high priority that theplayer's first gameplay experience would be good.

Basically the entire opening of the game is filled to the brim with Dreadful and incessant Shader compilation stutter nearly every new thing done seen or experienced is accompanied by Massive frame time spikes that are in excess of 200 milliseconds at times for example in the game's opening just as the camera is turned to look at the various characters each character you look at causes one of these stutters so each swing of the camera to a new character is responsible for a large stutter on screen.

Now imagine that for every cutscene in the game's intro and all the gameplay in the game's intro at times the stutter length that I recorded at various moments reached hilarious Heights and I honestly refuse to believe that anyone responsible for publishing this game thought this was an acceptable first time user experience these stutters I'm showcasing will be the first time experience of playing Gotham Knights on every PC regardless of PC settings whether or not Ray tracing is on or off.

There's a massive RTX 49d core I9 12900k monster PC and it is stuttering just as often as a mid-spec PC due to Shader compilation the only way the intro does not stutter is if it is played more than once and the second time the intro will be played the stutters will not be there because the shaders needed for the graphics will have already been compiled so that's why the recording on the right there for example does not showcase the stutters that we are seeing on the left that is my second time playing through the intro on that configuration that is not a realistic expectation though a player shouldn't have to play the game a second time for it to run better that is an extremely poor first user experience. But if we ignore that Shader cop stutter on PC we can see the CPU limitations beyond that stutter and it is really readily apparent the ryzen 5 3600 with Ray tracing on.

The default settings has variable performance below 60fps and crucially we can see that the GPU is almost never saturated in these situations in spite of the mid-range nature of the RTI X 2060 super the ryzen 5 3600 is paired with we can still see that the GPU is at around 50 to 60 percent utilization usually the CPU is just limiting performance so much here this is why I believe the console versions of this game do not have a 60 FPS mode as with.

The settings they are using for example with having Ray tracing on that would mean the unlocked performance would see extremely uneven frame rates below 60fps like we're seeing here on the ryzen 5 3600 this is really obvious when driving through the game on the motorcycle the ryzen 5 3600 goes from a near 60 FPS in moments while on the motorcycle down into the 20s at its worst with high frame time spikes which look and manifest like visual stutter.

I think the ryzen 5 3600 is a good analog for the console CPUs like the one found in the PlayStation 5 here due to some testing I did where I limited the game to 30 FPS on PC and approximated the PlayStation 5 settings when doing so we can see that the ryzen 5 3600 manifests frame rate dips in the exact moments that the frame rate dips occur on the console version and the frame rate numbers in those moments are extremely similar the dips Below 30fps on PlayStation 5 here align with the same dips measured on the ryzen 5 3600.

I think those are coming from areas of the city where streaming occurs all of a sudden a new grid section of the city is entered perhaps and new assets are drawn causing these dips in performance that line up perfectly between the platforms rarely ever do I see such a perfect alignment between PC and console in performance and really there's only one dip on PlayStation 5 in the opening sequence that does not align with what I saw on PC that is going through the under passage here on Playstation 5.

Steadily dips performance downward until it reaches a low in the mid 20s at this section here this doesn't happen on the ryzen 5 3600 PC and it's to the one dip that does not line up if I were at a gas it's because it is not a CPU bottleneck in this moment on the PlayStation 5 but rather some other bottleneck occurring perhaps the GPU is limiting performance there regardless of that I think the dips lining up so perfectly between this CPU and the PlayStation 5 show that the bottleneck moments are primarily CPU related.

But what about turning off Ray tracing to help lighten the CPU load as I showed earlier it is the setting that has the greatest effect on CPU performance when doing so I've seen that performance can be massively upticked on this game on PC bringing in the more mundane sequences to a solid 60 FPS where they were CPU limited before but it is not enough for the game's main open world sections.

The bike traversal for example still consistently performs very far below 60fps the performance is uplifted with Ray tracing being set to off almost by 25 but the CPU is most definitely the bottleneck still if we look at the GPU utilization the GPU is essentially barely being touched at all and the frame rates are below 60 FPS due to that ryzen 5 3600 significantly we can also see that those areas of streaming where the frame rate poignantly drops is the exact same with or without Ray tracing set to off.

It is just that the Baseline for performance is not now higher with Ray tracing set to off given how I demonstrated that the ryzen 5 3600 lines up almost perfectly with the PlayStation 5's performance tips I think we can rule out the possibility of a performance mode being possible on consoles for this game even with Ray tracing set to off and the CPU related settings tuned down a similarly performing PC CPU cannot manage to hit a consistent 60fps.

So I imagine the same thing would happen if PlayStation 5 had a performance mode with Ray tracing set to off I think the next logical question from here is whether or not this performance is Justified on a mid-spec PC like this or on consoles I will leave the aesthetic question aside.

I'm going to look at this from a utilization perspective based upon CPU utilization Gotham Knights appears not to be saturating many threaded processors that indicates usually that the game is limited by single core performance take a look at the CPU utilization here when biking around on the ryzen 5 3600 it is dipping into the 30s and even lower with large frame time spikes yet we can see that the CPU in that moment is not being pegged as fully utilized there are some threads with higher utilization numbers 70 or above but we do not see the full chip being utilized and that being.

The cause of the issue this is in stark contrast to other games on PC that our CPU limited on a ryzen 5 3600 below 60fps take Marvel Spider-Man with Ray tracing set to on when that game is CPU limited on that CPU and the frame rate is below 60fps we can see that nearly the entire CPU is being utilized in that moment whereas Gotham knights in comparison has very low utilization in such similar moments both are not performing well at the moment of recording both are below 60fps but we can at least fathom why Spider-Man is performing the way it is what about watchdog's Legion yep much.

The same case there the 3600 is completely loaded while being CPU limited below 60fps with Ray tracing in that title as well and lastly what about cyberpunk well much the same story there basically full utilization on the 3600 from the outsider's perspective full utilization looks a lot more Justified than not full utilization the CPU is the primary culprit of performance woes on PC and based upon the comparison I made it also appears to be that way on console and changing the settings really doesn't do much to make it that much better.

But still there are more issues here another issue on both platforms is improper frame pacing from a poor frame rate cap on PlayStation 5 for example or Xbox series s or X even in moments when the system is not being stressed at all just doing nothing the frame times will be erratic there will be frame time spikes up to 50 milliseconds followed by spikes in the opposite direction down to 16 milliseconds the overall average frame rate will be 30 but the frames making up that 30 FPS are not properly paced this leads to a stuttering looking appearance as those 50 milliseconds frame time spikes really stand out.

I can replicate this issue on PC by using the in-game 30fps cap that produces the exact same uneven frame time behavior that we see on Console based upon my experience with Unreal Engine 4 this is the actual usual default behavior of the in-engine frame rate cap external ones like nvidia's half refresh rate vsync for example do not have this issue at all and offer a perfectly paced 30 FPS in comparison which makes the game much easier on the eyes it is a simple fix on PC from a user perspective but this is a fix that the console players will have no control over and it is just another reason why Gotham Knights looks the way it does.

So what have we learned in this airticle for one Gotham Knight's frame rate is most often going to be limited by the CPU on PC regardless of whatever your PC is somehow the game's design and the open world makes this the case this Behavior appears to extend to consoles like the PlayStation 5 where I was able to show that dips on a similarly spec'd CPU line up with the dips that we see on Playstation 5.

We also learned that turning off and down settings reclaims performance but not enough to make 60 FPS possible on a mid-spec PC so I imagine the performance mode on console is out of the question I then tried to answer whether or not this performance is justified by looking at CPU utilization that painted the picture of under utilization in comparison to the other titles that are heavy on the CPU and lastly we've seen that there are other issues that plague the game the frame rate cap is not working properly which makes the game look look and perform worse than it arguably should and on PC.

We've also seen that the first play experience is extremely poor due to Shader compilation stutter and that last issue of Shader compilation stutter was the proverbial nail in the coffin for me on a technical level I do not think this game represents some impending 30 FPS Doom as we're seeing on Console rather the issues of Shader compilation stutter and the FPS cap being poor point to the fact that we're just looking at something that is unpolished here we are not looking at a game that prioritized the visual smoothness of the player experience so no.

I do not think Gotham Knights represents an impending 30 FPS Doom coming to this console generation near you rather it appears to be an unpolished game with an open world that is CPU limited by single threaded performance that single threaded CPU performance in the open world I think is less fixable than the other issues I talked about the frame rate cap can be fixed as I've shown on PC and Shader capital relation can be fixed as well based upon other titles and I hope Warner Brothers looks to remedy those issues on console and PC in the near future but that is Enough from me.

Related Post:

Fix Gotham Knights Low FPS & Stuttering On PC

Fix Gotham Knights Not Launching, Crashing, Freezing & Black Screen issue on PC




Post a Comment