Next week sees the release of Marvel’s Avengers, quite possibly the biggest game that developer Crystal Dynamics has ever made. The studio established itself with the excellent reimagining of Tomb Raider over a trilogy of games, crafting not only a new narrative arc for Lara Croft but also pushing what PC and consoles were capable of with some truly bleeding edge technology in each game.
Billy Crystal Dynamics’ latest game then, goes even further on the visual front as it juggles not only multiple characters but a Destiny-style collection of levels and gameplay. There’s a lot of action going on at any time, that’s being handled in Tomb Raider’s Foundation Engine. And on PC, that action looks incredible.
Console gamers will have a while to go before they can benefit from the same visual touches that their PC brethren will experience from next week, but the recent betas were a good example of what their free next-gen upgrades could look like. I delved back into the beta last weekend, with some top-notch PC hardware powering my experiment. Asus recently sent me a reviewi unit of the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 notebook, which is an absolute beast under the hood.
You’ve got an Intel Core i9 processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super (Max-Q) GPU, 32GB of memory, and a 2TB solid-state drive to work with here. Theoretically, that means that you can run pretty much anything currently available, even Crysis and DOTA 2, on it and at maximum settings without having to worry too much about performance chugging.
So what does Marvel’s Avengers look like then? How does that game run, when pushed to its limits? Very well! And also sort of not really during more taxing moments. I’d installed a 19GB high resolution texture pack into the open beta that was available, and there was admittedly a lot to love and loathe with the experience. What’s worth mentioning here is that drivers for the game had not yet arrived, while features such as dynamic resolution and AMD contrast adaptive sharpening didn’t help smooth the frame-rate out during more hectic battle scenes.
I’ve still got hope that post-launch, support and a fresh patch will up the visual ante of what the game is possible of on a next-gen level because when it hits the right notes, it is something to behold. Characters look amazing, the small details on them pop beautifully and once again Crystal Dynamics has showcased that it is an absolute master of crafting corridor sequences while mayhem erupts around you. There’s a shine on Iron Man’s armour that is dazzling, Hulk’s body ripples with barely contained gamma rage muscles and I’m an absolute sucker for seeing actual stitch lines on a costume.
It’s also fascinating to see just how much of an upgrade is possible, especially with next-gen around the corner. At the moment, base PS4 and Xbox One dynamically scale the game at between 1080p and 720p depending on the demand of the action at any given time, which results in images having a less than desirable muddiness to them. It looks especially bad on vanilla Xbox One from what I’ve seen online, and somehow even worse when multiplayer is added.
Contrasted on PC, the image is a thousand leagues apart from current-gen consoles. It’s going to be fascinating to see just how much of the experience scales up on next-gen consoles, because Avengers is nothing short of demanding on PC, even when it has top-tier hardware to play with. It’s not true 4K just yet either due to the dynamic resolution scaling and seeing the frame-rate dip is disheartening, but I’m still hopeful that we’ll see something beautiful emerge in the weeks to come after launch.
Last Updated: August 27, 2020