Which platform is best for Dying Light?

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The true Dying Light face off

As you’ve probably read by now, Dying Light is a pretty great game, if you block your eyes and ears to everything the story tries to through at you. That aside, the act of smashing zombie heads while leaping like a marsupial across rooftops and a heap of fun, and it helps that the city of Harran is a consistently gorgeous city to look at. But which platforms are best? 

The ever so awesome guys at Digital Foundry have dived deep into Techland’s latest title, scrounging around to see where (and how badly) it breaks on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Both console versions of the game run at a capped 30FPS, but the game occasionally dips a few frames lower during intense encounters. The resolutions are nearly identical, although the Xbox One scales down to 1536×1080, as opposed to the PS4’s standard 1920×1080. As such, textures will look a touch worse on the Xbox, although a reduction that small would be difficult to call.

However, the PS4 manages to come out tops in terms of overall average frame-rate, texture streaming and little to no screen tear, making it the undeniable winner in the console race this time. It’s interesting to see how different engines react on the hardware, as Assassin’s Creed Unity (another massive open-world title) fared better on Microsoft’s platform. But, as always, it’s advisable to go the PC route if you have the choice – although you’ll need to be very careful with the settings.

As I discovered during my review, Dying Light has a few issues with CPU usage in general. Digital Foundry experienced this as well, finding that the game likes to bottleneck after the first core of your CPU reaches its max usage. After this the game grinds to a crawl, with frame rate drops exceeding 30FPS in some cases. This seems to go hand-in-hand with the game’s view distance slider, which brings PCs to their knees when pushed to max. It is important to note that the lowest view distance setting on PC is still superior to both PS4 and Xbox One, and all in all you’ll be able to get a console experience with fairly modest hardware. Put if you’re pushing for max, you’re going to need to bring the hardware to back it up.

My personal experience with a GTX 970 and still extremely awesome i7 2770K was a bit of a mix. Most of the time the game run well above 60FPS, but there were numerous instances where the frame rate would inexplicably plummet. In some cases a full restart of the game was required, after which problems resolved. There has already been a small patch deployed, but I’m hoping for  Techland to address these issues very soon.

Because ultimately Dying Light is a gorgeous game, with some impressive lighting and model detail. If you’re going for the best, PC is most certainly the best option, but stick to PS4 if you’re forced to grab it on console.

Last Updated: February 2, 2015

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