Assassins Creed Syndicate releases on PC in a matter of hours. Following on from last years AC Unity PC performance problems, Ubisoft really have their work cut out to pull the PC gaming audience back onside. So with regards to our fellow PC gamers, a lot is riding on this years Assassins Creed title release for Ubi.
I decided to wade into the top end of AC Syndicate's PC performance arena, to see if a beast of a PC can tackle this year's time travelling attack ninja. The video I have below shows the first ever syndicate PC performance, using our MSI GTX 980 ti Gaming 6G graphics card, running at low and Ultra graphics settings, showing you what you can expect from a top end gaming rig that comes into contact with AC Syndicate.
Also check out our other AC Syndicate coverage: Low End PC AC Syndicate Benchmarks, Assassins Creed Syndicate Low And Ultra Comparison Screens
The Assassins Creed Syndicate PC Performance Low vs Ultra graphics comparison was carried out at 1920x1080 screen resolution on an Intel i7 5820K, Nvidia MSI GTX 980 ti Gaming 6G, 16 GB Memory PC.
Assassins Creed Syndicate Graphics Settings Options
As you can see in the graphics setting menu part of the video there are just a handful of key graphics options that you can adjust. AC Syndicate offers four presets to help you quickly select a graphics setting for you, but be warned that changing these will normally require a reload of the entire game, and the ubisoft intro splash screens are not skippable by default.
Graphic Preset: Low, Medium, High, V.High, Ultra
After that we have Environment Quality. It will affect small objects and vegetation display distance. Use higher quality to see small objects and detailed vegetation even from far distances. Naturally you can lower the quality of the environment to increase game performance, but decrease the distance and visual quality of the vegetation.
The next graphics option is Textures Quality. There are three choices here. Low, Medium and High. It will affect the detail and size of image textures used. It is pretty resource intensive with even Low Texture quality requiring 2GB VRAM from your GPU. Medium requests 3GB VRAM and High is after 4GB graphics card VRAM for AC syndicate.
After that we have the Shadows Quality graphics setting. If you adjust this option it will affect the shadow distance, shadow map and shadow filtering. The options on offer are Low, Medium, High, PCSS, PCSS Ultra.
At Low Settings shadows from distant objects are not shown, do not use edge filters and the shadow map has a small size. At Medium Setting all shadows are switched on but use low quality filters. The shadow map is medium sized. Under the High Setting we get a large shadow map and high quality filter. The PCSS option creates realistic shadows that are sharp and darkest at the source of the object casting the shadow and get softer the further away from that object the shadow gets. To better mimic real shadows. PCSS Ultra further increases on the quality of the shadow map used and shadow quality.
Ambient Occlusion, a lighting technique that adds self shadowing of objects, is the next AC syndicate PC graphics setting we can adjust. Our choices are to turn it Off altogether, use SSAO to enable one of the most common approaches to this lighting enhancement, HBAO+ which adds realistic ambient occlusion shadowing and shading around objects and surfaces that occlude light. or you can opt for HBAO+ Ultra that enhances the previous option and especially focuses on shadowing characters and layered geometry.
Your final graphics option is the classic Anti-Aliasing. Often this is a bit of a crap shoot when it comes to modern games. Everyone seems to be convinced that a particular version of AA is a bit better for them. And thats cool as it gives us options to customise the gaming experience for our own computers and personal visual preference. AA is used to soften the edge of the game objects, instead of seeing all the jagged edges of polygons everywhere anti-aliasing helps get rid of those jaggies. AC Syndicate lets you turn this option Off, or use FXAA, or MSAA, or TXAA. TXAA is described as a film style AA technique designed specifically to reduce temporal aliasing, crawling and flickering seen in motion when playing games.
I was surprised by the first part of that AC Syndicate PC performance analysis video, where you can see that it is on Ultra setting and the GTX 980 ti was being pushed down to around 38 frames per second, while Jacob ran around inside the industrial forge. However, that was probably one of the heaviest hitting sections we saw during the first hour or play as the rest of the video shows.
In terms of visuals vs performance, Syndicate looks good, even on low, but it is still quite a resource hog, with a suggested minimum requirement of 2GB VRAM. Consequently over the next day or so we will create some more performance analysis videos and news reports that explore that. To see if Syndicate, while using much weaker hardware, is actually playable with low end PCs and to see what sort of experience people with mid range PCs are likely to get. Also keep your eyes out for the AC Syndicate review that will be along shortly. Please subscribe to our PC benchmark youtube channel for all the benchmark videos like this one.