God of War’s Use of FSR Shows Technology Needs to Improve
God of the warComing to PC comes with a decent number of PC-exclusive features. The game comes with support for ultrawide monitors, Nvidia Reflex, and even an option to delimit its frame rate. But the most important, God of the war supports Nvidia and AMD scaling techniques, Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and Fidelity FX Super Resolution (FSR), respectively.
With an AMD RX 5700 built into my rig, I just had to see how AMD’s DLSS competitor performs in a modern game, a game where gamers will want to squeeze as many frames per second as possible. . Instead of gaining more frames at the cost of some visual fidelity, I found an extremely crude implementation of AMD’s upscaling technology that makes little difference where it counts.
All the pain, no gain
While AMD FSRs is Team Red’s competitor to DLSS, the two are not equal. Simply put, DLSS uses a series of frames to create a scaled image. FSR, however, only uses what is on screen, applying a sharpening filter to make it look like a higher resolution image. The result for FSR is an output that has more shimmer and ghosting.
God of the warThe FSR implementation has all of these issues, and more. Through my testing, I’ve found that the performance achieved by enabling FSR can be, in some cases, entirely negligible, while compromising the game’s normally stellar visuals.
FSR in God of the war comes in four flavors: Performance, Balanced, Quality and Ultra Quality. Performance, naturally, is all about making the game as smooth as possible, at the expense of most of the game’s visual fidelity. Ultra Quality, on the other hand, has little impact on the game’s visuals, but offers a slight improvement in performance at best.
I tested God of the warhigh quality with FSR enabled in two different areas. The first was inside a cave just across the bridge from Tyr’s temple, the main focus of the game. This interior setting serves as a decent representation of the various caves players will explore on their journey as Kratos. , and should describe the kind of frame rate boost they can expect.
Indoors, FSR can deliver considerable frame-per-second (fps) increases, although gamers will have to sacrifice some of God of the wargorgeous visuals. Without scaling technology. the game would run around 62fps and 63fps which is fine, but could be so much better. Setting FSR to quality shows the potential gains and all the downsides that come with this scaling technology. My frame rate hit 109fps, providing a silky smooth experience.
This is also where the first drawback of FSR in God of the war jump up. Setting the scaling technology to something other than Ultra Quality makes almost all objects in the environment look “muddy”. This effect is most evident in the glowing blue runes on the wall in front of Kratos, as well as the decorated part of the floor directly in front of him. FSR immediately causes both of them to lose their definition, not to mention Kratos himself. Sure, the game runs better, but it’s not worth the big drop in visual quality.
However, that all changes when you upgrade FSR to Ultra Quality. Visual degradations at this setting are barely noticeable, especially during instant play, and it improves performance significantly, bringing my frame rate to 80fps.
Not worth the frames
The FSR performance boost indoors when set to Ultra Quality is, unfortunately, the only time the scaling technology is actually worth using. My second test area was outside Tyr’s temple, looking at it from the bridge. This is a demanding area of the game, running in the mid to high 50fps range with no FSR on my computer.
Enabling the scaling technology revealed surprising results. In contrast to the performance improvements seen inside the cave, I saw negligible frame rate increases in every FSR setting in this environment. Sure, my frame rate would hit 60, but that’s only an increase of about five or six frames per second. Considering how many God of the war takes place in outdoor environments, it’s not worth keeping FSR even at Uultra Quality while you venture out.
Needless to say, FSR’s other settings aren’t nearly as good. They retain the same performance boost but blur the game’s visuals even more. On the Performance setting, the battered statue of Tyr atop his temple loses all of its sharpness, turning into an odd amalgamation of green and gold shapes.
For AMD, FSR is displayed in God of the war is spectacularly underwhelming, virtually destroying the game’s visuals at its lowest setting and only worth using in extremely specific scenarios. Although upscaling technology can be widely used, unlike Nvidia’s DLSS, this case is very similar to Deathloop’s. In this game, details are pretty much wiped out when FSR is on. Sadly, God of the war is in the same boat, meaning anyone with an Nvidia GPU will likely have a lot more fun running the game.