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.


Game Settings

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You will see here we are testing with the latest 1.4.0 patch released December 19th.

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Under the graphics options you can globally set all options based on this setting. The options are "Low," "Medium," "High," "Very High," and "Ultra High." Turning on "Ultra High" also sets MSAA at 4X MSAA, which will be unplayable in this game on every video card. Therefore, you will end up manually customizing your graphics settings anyway in order to set AA to FXAA so you have enough performance to play.

We found that we had to set and restart the game about 3 times to get all the graphics options to stick. For some reason, we would set these the first time, and restart, but these would go back to a "custom" setting. We had to set these yet again, and restart and then these stuck the second time. We restarted a third time just to make sure these were really set. So you may have chosen graphics options in the game that aren't set, make sure you reboot a couple of times to make sure these stick.

We also found the menu very laggy to sort through. Showing only a few options on screen at once was not very intuitive.

There is a VSYNC and refresh rate setting. We found that it defaulted to 30Hz quite often, for no reason. We had to constantly reset it back to 60Hz and make sure VSYNC was off each time.

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An option you may be changing for performance reasons is the shadow option. Soft Shadows are the highest option, which are the NVIDIA PCSS shadows, but you can select a lower "High" shadows option which brings performance up a lot. Soft Shadows works on AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.

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HBAO+ can also be selected on AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. The lesser option is SSAO, but HBAO+ doesn't affect performance much so for high-end cards you can leave the better option of HBAO+ enabled.

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TXAA is supported only on NVIDIA GPUs. There is no 2X or 4X option, only this one "TXAA" option shown. We don't know what level it is, only that it is TXAA. This is disappointing that the game doesn't have a 2X and 4X option, because this current level is more demanding in performance than 4X MSAA is.

You can also select between 2X, 4X and 8X MSAA, but MSAA takes a large dump on performance, unneededly so. There is thankfully an FXAA option, which is going to be the preferred option for performance and IQ.

You can also manually decrease the Environment Quality and Texture quality lower. If you need more performance, tuning Environment Quality to Medium helps a lot, but there is a big decrease in image quality. There is also a bloom setting, this does affect performance at higher resolutions by a few FPS.

How we Tested

Our run-through takes place at the beginning, running through a few battle scenes and combat. All the effects in the game are displayed during our run-through, with some environmental fog and smoke, fires, objects burning, water splashes, extreme lighting and the game's combat system.