Assassin's Creed Unity Performance Video Card Review

Assassin's Creed Unity is out, wrapped in a tortilla of bugs and garnished with graphical glitches, the fourth patch to this game has been released with some new beta drivers. We will look at performance and find out what it takes to enjoy this game on the PC. A cold beer, or two, will certainly help.

Introduction

If there is one game this year that takes the reward for the buggiest and most broken game at launch, it would have to be Assassin's Creed Unity. Assassin's Creed Unity is developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by, you guessed it, Ubisoft. Assassin's Creed Unity was released on November 11th, 2014. It is a historical action-adventure game in third person taking place in Paris during the French Revolution.

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Outpacing even Watch Dogs in terms of game breaking game mechanics, and graphical issues, Assassin's Creed Unity takes it to a whole new level. Assassin's Creed Unity currently has a low 70 Metascore and a very low 2.4 user score.

Ubisoft forums are full of threads about this game, with plenty of issues reported from day one, to this very day four patches later. You can also read our own forum thread which will give you an idea about the major issues associated with the game. It is impossible to list every single bug and issue the game has, but some of the major issues are poor performance, stuttering, disappearing textures and geometry, clipping issues, major NPC issues, crashing, instability, pop-in, and many game mechanic issues. This is but a small listing of the problems you will find within this game, even after the 1.4.0 patch that was just recently released.

Famed game reviewer TotalBiscuit has had a lot to say about the nature of this game, and he is not alone in complaints from gamers in regards to the status of this game. Some have gone as far as to bring up the topic of suing Ubisoft over this game. To imagine that a game can be released so horribly that this thought process has even occurred is incredibly disappointing and damaging to your reputation Unfortunately, Ubisoft has released several games this fall which have been subpar at launch, and this one just happens to be the worse of the bunch.

This game was released six weeks ago on November 11th, over the course of that time no less than four patches have been released so far, and there are more to come. The patches aren't small in scale by any means, the latest 1.4.0 patch was a 5.4GB download. At this rate, you might as well be playing a completely different game. Even with four very large patches under its belt, the game still has some major bugs, performance issues and for some people has made the game even worse than it was before. We are seeing reports that the latest patch has actually made performance and graphical and stability issues, worse.


The Patches

Please note that we are testing this game on the latest patch 1.4.0 released December 19th on the PC. This patch was actually delayed a week also, and yet people are still having issues after the patch. This patch changes a lot about performance and image quality in this game. Under the graphics category this patch fixes issues with TXAA, PCSS shadows, textures on NPCs, textures using MSAA and TXAA. This patch also fixes some collision and mesh issues, textures missing, and has implemented multiple optimizations and fixes to help performance.

Prior to this fourth patch, 1.4.0, there was patch 3 (1.3.0) which as you will see here has a ton of fixes, over 300! Prior to patch 3 was patch 2, which as you can see here also contained some major bug fixes.

The point here is that each patch has fixed some major issues which shouldn't have been there in the first place. Also, each patch has been huge in file size and scope, patch 3 with over 300 fixes and patch 4 at a whopping 5.4GB in size. It's almost like downloading a new game all over again. It shows just how broken this game is.

For us, this patch has helped performance and image quality. We are also using the latest NVIDIA beta drivers, which have also helped performance in this game for us.

Game Engine and Graphics

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The game engine being used is AnvilNext. This game once again has a heavy hand of NVIDIA GameWorks technologies in use to help improve the graphics quality.

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NVIDIA's PCSS Soft Shadows are used in this game to provide more precise shadows that will look more blurry the farther away and sharper the closer the shadow is. These shadows actually look quite nice, and when it's possible to run with PCSS shadows these do look great. In this game though, PCSS shadows cause a very large performance drain we will show you.

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NVIDIA plug-and-play tessellation is also supposedly used in this game to provide tessellation to surfaces such as the ground, and roof tops. The problem is, as of right now the technology is not in the game. There is a note that at game launch tessellation will come later in a patch. Well, four patches later there is still no mention of tessellation. The game has been out six weeks, and where is the tessellation?

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NVIDIA's HBAO+ is also included to provide more precise ambient occlusion. In this game, HBAO+ does not cause a huge performance drain so you can run it without performance issues.

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TXAA is also included to improve anti-aliasing image quality. In this game though, there is just one TXAA option called "TXAA." There are no 2X TXAA or 4X TXAA options unfortunately.


Test Setup

We are using our standard review setup as shown here. For all video cards tested we are using the latest drivers. AMD GPU video cards are using Catalyst 14.12 WHQL Omega driver. NVIDIA GPUs are using GeForce 347.09 Beta.