Fallout 4 High Resolution Texture Pack Review

Bethesda has released its official High Resolution Texture Pack DLC for Fallout 4. We will look at performance impact, VRAM capacity usage levels, and compare image quality to see if this High Resolution Texture Pack might be worthy of your bandwidth in actually improving the gameplay experience.

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Conclusion

Well there you have it, we have spent last week diving into the Fallout 4 High Resolution Texture Pack DLC looking at performance and image quality. First things first, this DLC is free, at no cost to you.

Bethesda has taken the time to develop a high resolution texture pack for PC gamer’s to improve the PC gaming experience. This type of behavior must be commended and encouraged from game developers. It shows what is capable on the PC versus consoles and shows that the game developers actually care about the PC gaming experience and want to improve that experience. It comes to you monetarily free, the only cost is hard drive space and Internet bandwidth. We want more game developers to pick up this practice. There is no reason texture quality should be subpar on the PC with modern graphics cards in today’s games.

Performance

We tested performance on four video cards today, the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X, AMD Radeon RX 480, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, and GeForce GTX 1060. Our conclusion is simple based on the data, the High Resolution Texture Pack did not negatively influence framerate performance. The High Resolution Texture Pack will not drain precious gaming performance away from your video card in this game. If you were concerned about framerates dipping to severely low minimum FPS in this game with the High Resolution Texture Pack you were worrying for nothing. We saw no indication of that whatsoever.

With most video cards tested the game was also smooth as butter, with no hitching, or stutter, or pausing. This was on the 8GB GTX 1080, 8GB RX 480, and 6GB GTX 1060. The dedicated VRAM capacities on these video cards were enough to allow the game to run smoothly.

The only one card we felt some stutter and hitching on as we played was the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X with 4GB of dedicated VRAM on board. This simply wasn’t enough for smooth gameplay, even with its use of Dynamic RAM. Nothing beats the speed of local VRAM. We therefore would make an educated guess and suggest that other video cards with 4GB of local VRAM might also encounter this stutter or hitching loading new assets in the game as you move through it.

We would suggest a 4GB video card may not be the best option for the High Resolution Texture Pack. Based on our testing, we feel a video card with 6GB and up is suited best to run the High Resolution Texture Pack with absolute smoothness. This is not to say the game was unplayable on the Radeon R9 Fury X, it was playable, let’s make that clear, only that some may find that stutter or hitching to be annoying while playing. The Fury X worked, but it was far from "the best" experience.

What this all boils down to is that you won’t lose framerate performance in this game using the High Resolution Texture Pack. You might be affected by some smoothness issues if you have a 4GB video card however. Video cards from 6GB and upwards should not have any smoothness issues.

We also want to emphasize that hard drive performance can help with the high resolution texture map, especially with lower amounts of VRAM. Your hard drive will simply be accesses more to load these large texture assets. An SSD is optimal. A spinning disk may experience longer pausing or hitching as it loads data slower.

Image Quality

We have seen a lot of user feedback, and other reviews, on the Internet in regards to image quality improvements being subpar with the High Resolution Texture Pack. Hopefully we have helped dispel some of the issues and quirks you might encounter trying to experience the better image quality. We know that distance to the texture can affect the benefit of the high resolution texture pack, and quite frankly this seems like common sense to us.

When we are looking at certain textures a bit closer we have found some drastic differences. We showed you many materials today where there is greater detail added, greater depth, and better clarity and sharpness. There are indeed some textures that have big sweeping image quality improvements. It is also true there are others that are much more subtle.

The amount of image quality improvement is like a gradient. Certain textures have large changes, others are simply more clarity, more sharpness to them. There are some, like the roads for example, that are very subtle indeed. In fact we would have liked to have seen bigger changes and improvements made to the road textures. Out of all the textures these are very subtle, and that’s looking at these up-close.

Simply put if you are looking at the right textures, at the right distance, you will see improvements. Keep in mind not all textures have been changed though, so you will still find unaltered textures in the game. When it comes down to the image quality impact we feel it is well balanced. Anything greater would have likely affected framerates. It feels like Bethesda wanted to balance image quality improvements and still maintain the same performance in the game. It has succeeded at that.


The Bottom Line

At the end of the day I’d rather play Fallout 4 with the High Resolution Texture Pack installed than without. If you have a good graphics card there is no reason not to. You will experience the best textures Bethesda has to offer on the PC. The texture quality will be superior to the base game in several areas, not all, but for the most part it will be there. It doesn’t impact performance, so we only lose hard drive space. The High Resolution Texture Pack improves the visual experience thus improving the gameplay experience as a whole. As a PC gamer this is what we want.

Kudos to Bethesda for providing this free High Resolution Texture Pack for the PC gamer. We hope other game developers follow suit as well. A lot of people pay a lot of money for their graphics cards, it is great to be able to use those to the fullest if possible.

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