It’s time to enter the Village
Resident Evil Village is here, and we have been given early access to the game before it officially launches on May 9th. This will be the first game in the series to launch on Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, and the first game in the series to feature ray tracing on PC.
Resident Evil Village is a sequel to Resident Evil 7, releasing a first-person title, a factor that really helps to push the horror aspects of the franchise. This will make the game play differently to Resident Evil 2/3’s recent remakes, though the core gameplay will remain similar.
Resident Evil Village utilises the latest version of Capcom’s RE Engine, fully adopting DirectX 12 on PC alongside DirectX 12 Ultimate features like Variable Rate Shading and DXR Ray Tracing. This combines with the RE Engine’s already extensive feature set to make Village the most technically advanced Resident Evil game to date.
The RE Engine has gained support for next-generation hardware features, but the game remains a cross-generation release. As such, the game must play well on both last-generation and current-generation console hardware, giving the game a 60 FPS framerate target on modern systems like Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. This is great news for PC gamers, as this allows Resident Evil Village to scale back to support older graphics cards and processors.
Early access to Resident Evil Village came to us via AMD, who wanted us to highlight the game’s performance and its use of DirectX 12 Ultimate technologies like Ray Tracing and Variable Rate Shading. AMD has no editorial control over our analysis and will not see it before it becomes available to the public. OC3D has received no payment for this analysis.
– CPU Performance
– Ray Tracing Showcase
– Variable Rate Shading – A Next-Gen Performance Enhancer,– Resolution Scaling and Interlacing – a handy performance scaling feature
– 1080p Performance (With/Without Ray Tracing)
– 1440p Performance (With/Without Ray Tracing)
– 4K Performance (With/Without Ray Tracing)
– Optimised Settings – Optimisation Tips,– Conclusion
Testing Methodology – Our New Test System,
With Resident Evil Village’s PC version, we will be using our new Games and Graphics Card test system, which is powered by AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X processor and PCIe 4.0 storage.
More information about this system is available here, where we have detailed why we have moved to Ryzen for our GPU and games testing.
CPU & Motherboard – AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Formula
There is a lot to consider when building a new games testing system. Will this system stand up to the test of time. Does this system contain the features that new games will require, and are we choosing the right CPU platform for the job?
With the next generation of consoles coming with Zen 2 processors and support for PCIe 4.0 storage, it was logical to choose a Ryzen-based test platform. When we built this system, none of Intel’s CPU offerings featured PCIe 4.0 support, and we could not build a new test system knowing that it will be outdated as soon as games start to utilise faster storage mediums.
With ASUS’ ROG X570 Crosshair VII Formula, we know that we have a motherboard that has capable VRMs to withstand the punishments that a hardware test system must face. With X570, we also know that we can upgrade to Zen 3/Ryzen 5000 should we ever need to.
Memory – Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB Series DDR4 @ 3600MHz
Having chosen a Ryzen processor for our new test systems, we needed capable memory modules which offered clock speed that would allow us to get the most out of our Ryzen processor.
3600MHz memory is the “sweet-spot” for Ryzen 3000 series processors, offering high levels of memory bandwidth while settings AMD’s Infinity Fabric speeds to optimal levels. With this speed in mind, we decided to opt for Corsair’s Dominator Platinum RGB series of DDR4 modules, as it offers us a great aesthetic, has modules that offer our optimal memory speeds and has relatively tight timings given its clock speeds.
SSD Storage – Corsair MP600 2TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD
As we mentioned previously, future games are going to require fast NVMe storage. Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will make fast SSD storage a baseline feature of new gaming systems.
PCIe 4.0 devices are an obvious choice for those who want SSDs with the most potential throughput, making Corsair’s MP600 SSD a great option for us. With 2TB of storage available to it, it offers us more than enough storage for even the largest of PC games. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare/Warzone will need a lot more 50GB upgrades before we would even dream of filling this SSD.
Case – Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB SE
When it comes to PC cases we require two things, a large case (to accommodate large GPUs) that’s easy to access and looks good on camera. When new graphics cards start to flood in, we need a case that can look good on video. Beyond that, when testing new graphics cards, we need an enclosure with a side panel that’s easy to take on and off, speeding up our testing procedures.
With these requirements in mind, Corsair’s Obsidian 500D RGB SE was a perfect fit. It is large enough to accommodate any graphics card without interfering with a front-mounted AIO liquid cooler, and it has a hinged side panel to make component switching fast and straightforward. For our use case, this chassis is perfect.
Power Supply – Corsair RM1000i
Your power supply is the most important part of any test system. There’s a reason why rule number 1 for PC building is no never cheap out on your power supply.
Over the years, we have used many test systems which have been powered by Corsair’s RMi series of power supplies, and the reasons behind that are simple. They are 80+ Gold rated, making them very power efficient, and we have never had an RMi power supply fail on us. If you read our PSU reviews, you will know that these units are solid performers.
Corsair Link is also a useful component of Corsair RMi series power supplies, as they allow us to see how much power the unit is using at any given time digitally.
We have also paired this unit with Corsair’s premium braided cables, which gives our test system a more premium look.
Cooling – Corsair iCUE H150i RGB Pro XT
While we are keeping our Ryzen 9 3950X at stock clock speeds, we do want to do what we can to keep it cool under load. We also want to do what we can to keep our system as quiet as possible. With this in mind, we have decided to use Corsair’s latest 360mm H150i series All-in-One Liquid Cooler.
With the iCUE H150i, we can control the units fans, pump and RGB lighting with the same software as our other system components and keep AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X cool with relative ease. When testing graphics cards, keeping other fan noise to a minimum is a must, as this allows us to properly judge the noise levels of specific graphics cards or other system components.
Full System Specifications
CPU Performance – Does Resident Evil Village need a high core count processor?
For our CPU testing, we utilised AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X processor and RX 6800 graphics card. We played through our Resident Evil Village benchmarking area with our processor set to utilise specific core counts. We found that Resident Evil Village doesn’t need a powerful processor to run through this testing, seeing minor performance benefits when we started using more than six CPU cores.
With Ray tracing enabled, we saw fewer benefits to using a huge number of CPU cores. The game offered similar performance when we used our 4 core, 4 thread CPU configuration when ray tracing is enabled/disabled. This shows that Resident Evil Village’s Ray Tracing has a relatively small impact on CPU performance.
Ray Tracing – A huge visual upgrade ,
Lighting is everything within a horror game, offering gamers, making Resident Evil Village’s Ray-traced Global Illumination feature a major add-on for this horror-focused entry for the series.
With Ray Traced Global Illumination, lighting accuracy can be increased across the game, making the game more immersive and realistic. Dark areas are now darker, and light bounces allow light sources to have a larger impact across many areas of the game. While the feature is an additive one, it definitely positively impacts Resident Evil’s graphical makeup.
(RT On VS RT Off)
Here, we can see an area where Ray Traced Global Illumination and Bounce lighting can completely change the look of an area, adding more shadows to the area to make this mansion courtyard appear more imposing. ,
(RT On VS RT Off)
In this area, we can see the warm effect of the fire’s light move across the room and bounce to areas that were previously untouched by light. This is a subtle effect, but it highlights the benefits of Resident Evil’s Ray Traced Global Illumination system.
Here we can see another area where ray-traced global illumination has a moderate impact on a scene but nonetheless improves its visual makeup.
Variable Rate Shading – A next-gen performance enhancer?
Variable Rate Shading is a vital part of the “Next-Generation” GPU feature set, coming as a critical part of Microsoft’s DirectX 12 Ultimate feature set. Variable Rate Shading is part of AMD’s RNDA 2 architecture, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series X, and Nvidia’s DirectX 12 Ultimate compliant hardware. But what does Variable Rate Shading (VRS) do?
Variable Rate Shading is an efficiency-enhancing technology, acting as a method for developers to simplify GPU workloads whenever higher precision calculations are not necessary. This saved GPU time can be used to increase your framerate on PC and increase the frametime budgets of developers on consoles. If used correctly, VRS can have a negligible impact on image quality; making a high-quality VRS implementation a free performance upgrade for PC gamers.
VRS in Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil Village has two VRS modes, a “Balanced” made and a “Prioritise Performance” mode. The balanced mode is the less aggressive form of VRS, offering us a 10% performance boost at 4K on our Radeon RX 6800 when ray tracing isn’t enabled.
In our experience, Resident Evil Village’s Balanced mode has a visual impact that is so minor that the setting is practically a “must-enable” for PC gamers with compatible hardware. However, Prioritise Performance mode is a lot more aggressive, having a notable impact on Resident Evil Village’s visuals while offering smaller framerate benefits over the game’s VRS Balanced mode.
However, it is worth noting that VRS is a setting that only works well when playing games at high resolutions, as this is where minor areas of lower quality rendering will be much less noticeable. At lower resolutions, VRS will have a lower performance impact and a larger chance of introducing more notable reductions in image quality.
But what if I turn Ray Tracing On?
Even with Ray Tracing turned on, Resident Evil Village’s VRS implementation can have a notable impact on the game’s performance. Average framerates increase from 70.1 to 76.9 FPS, a 9.7% increase in performance. This is enough to push the game’s 1st percentile framerate above 60 FPS, which is great news for those who want a locked 60 FPS gameplay experience.
VRS Image Quality Impact
No VRS VS VRS Balanced Mode
Let’s get one thing straight here, activating VRS will compromise a game’s image quality. The technology is designed to render parts of images with less precision, saving performance while trying to compromise on image quality as little as possible. With this in mind, VRS has a balancing act to play, as too much VRS will destroy a game’s image quality, but just enough VRS will deliver gamers and developers a performance boost with no major compromises.
Below we can see that Resident Evil Village’s Balanced VRS mode has a moderate impact on image quality at 4K, lowering image quality in some areas while keeping the image largely intact. Outside of back-to-back testing, it is hard to notice when VRS is enabled in Resident Evil Village, at least when Balanced mode is activated. That said, we would like to see a “Favor Quality” mode that offers a smaller framerate boost and fewer image degradations.
With our Radeon RX 6800, setting VRS to Balanced mode is enough to give us a 60+ FPS framerate at all times when ray tracing is enabled at 4K. Not bad.
VRS Prioritise Performance – Notable Quality Loss
Resident Evil Village’s Prioritise Performance mode for VRS takes VRS too far. For a minimal performance boost over Resident Evil Village’s VRS Balanced mode the game’s Prioritise Performance mode compromises Resident Evil Village’s image quality across vast areas of screenspace, introducing aliasing, blurriness and other downsides. This setting is not worth using, as lowering Resident Evil Village’s resolution scale presents gamers with better results, both in terms of performance and image quality.
Resolution Scaling and Interlacing – Great options for higher framerates,
In Resident Evil Village, two of the main ways to increase your system’s performance is to lower the game’s internal resolution. At 4K, resolution scaling (called Image Quality in RE: Village) and a feature called Interlacing can be used to deliver drastic performance uplifts for those that need it.
With our Radeon RX 6800 graphics card, a 0.9 Image Quality setting can enable 1st Percentile framerates that are above 60 FPS at 4K. That said, the same feat can be achieved without a resolution drop using VRS (see page 4).
Interlacing halves Resident Evil Village’s resolution in one axis and uses temporal reconstruction to fill in the gaps. At 4K, this feature creates a convincing faux-K image at a much higher framerate, though it does reduce in detail loss and increased aliasing. That said, the performance benefits are huge. Interlacing will help push a lot of systems to a stable 60 FPS, and offers users enough detail for the framerate boost to be seen as worthwhile by many gamers.
When interlacing is enabled, Resident Evil Village’s resolution is halved on one axis, forcing the game to rely on temporal information and reconstruction techniques to recreate a full resolution image. As such, screenshots do not properly showcase the visual impact of this setting. The interlacing part of this technique forces Resident Evil Village to render opposing lines of pixels with each frame, rendering every other like of pixels with each frame.
When Interlacing is enabled, Resident Evil Village showcases more noticeable aliasing and specular artefacts, neither of which can be seen in a screenshot. During gameplay, aliasing becomes more noticeable and some areas of the screen appear to shimmer when players stand still. These artefacts are not dealbreakers, but as a whole, native resolution rendering delivers superior results. That said, the performance gains of interlacing at 4K are colossal.
With most 4K games being super-demanding on PC hardware, resolution scaling has become a popular way to display many modern titles in a way that preserves near-native levels of image quality. That said, every resolution drop eliminates detail, making games appear blurrier as players seek higher framerates.
With Resident Evil Village, Resolution Scaling is called Image Quality, with 1.0 representing a 100% (native) resolution scale, 0.9 representing a 90% resolution scale and so on. With a 0.9 Image Quality setting, relatively little detail is lost, but at 0.7, a much larger quality gap emerges. Sadly, Resident Evil Village lacks a variable/dynamic image quality, allowing the game to offer higher resolutions in less demanding scenes. IE, allow gamers to specify a framerate target and allow the game’s internal resolution to scale as needed to maintain a solid framerate.
At 1080p, Resident Evil Village is almost too easy to run on PC, even when using the game’s Max (No RT) preset. Only our ageing RX 480 and GTX 1060 graphics cards struggle, and they both achieve average framerates that were well above 60 FPS.
Capcom has clearly designed Resident Evil Village to take advantage of modern graphics hardware, as AMD’s newer GPU architecture can be seen shooting past their predecessors in this chart. At launch, AMD’s RX 5500 XT was an RX 480/580 competitor, but in this case it leaves AMD’s RX 480 in the dust. Similarly, AMD’s RX 5700 is also able to surpass Nvidia’s GTX 1080 Ti.
Resident Evil Village is a game that has clearly been optimised for AMD’s latest GPU architecture, but that doesn’t mean that this game doesn’t run well on Nvidia. Even in 2021, older graphics cards like AMD’s RX 480 and Nvidia’s GTX 1060 can still run games at 1080p 60 FPS.
With Ray Tracing enabled, our Nvidia RTX 2060 FE suffered from strange performance issues, though Nvidia’s high-end GPU models performed as expected. While AMD’s RX 6800 delivers solid framerates, Nvidia’s RTX series competitors outperform their AMD counterpart. Even in an AMD-optimised game, Nvidia still offers excellent ray tracing performance.
Even at 1440p, Resident Evil Village is able to run well across a wide range of old and modern graphics cards, with AMD’s ageing RX Vega 56 offering a stable 60+ FPS experience when ray tracing is disabled. Not bad for a GPU from 2016. Nvidia’s RTX 2060 graphics card also features strong performance.
When ray tracing is enabled, Nvidia’s RTX 2060 suffers again from performance issues. All other DXR compatible graphics cards that we tested were able to achieve stable 60+ FPS performance, but Nvidia again wins the day here. That said, it is hard to call AMD’s performance poor here, as an average framerate of almost 95 FPS at 1440p isn’t bad.
4K gaming was practically unachievable a few years ago, at least without major compromises to graphics settings. With Resident Evil Village, Capcom has proven that great visuals at 4K need not come with an insane performance cost.
At 4K, our Radeon RX 6800 graphics card achieves an average framerate of 100 FPS with Resident Evil Village’s Max (no RT) preset. This really makes us hungry for a 120Hz VRR compatible OLED screen, especially given this game’s HDR and FreeSync Premium Pro support.
Even older cards like Nvidia’s GTX 1080 Ti offer great performance at 4K, requiring relatively few settings chances to achieve a solid 60 FPS framerate. Even AMD’s RX 5700 XT has an average framerate of over 60 FPS.
Again, Nvidia’s RTX equivalent graphics cards are able to best AMD’s RX 6800 when it comes to ray tracing performance, but VRS can close the gap. That said, Nvidia’s GPUs also support VRS, but we experienced stability and graphical issues when we used the feature on Nvidia’s RTX hardware. This bug may be eliminated with future game patches and Nvidia driver updates.
Optimised Settings – Which graphics options have the largest performance impact?
If your graphics card supports VRS, your fastest avenue to increased performance is by setting VRS to balanced mode. Beyond that, disabling Resident Evil’s FidelityFX CACAO and enabling the game’s standard Ambient can deliver a notable performance uplift. That said, AMD’s CACAO looks a lot better than the RE Engine’s standard AO implementation. Turning Ambient Occlusion off will result in a huge performance uplift for those that need it.
Unlike Resident Evil’s 2/3 remakes, Volumetric Lighting has little impact on Resident Evil Village’s performance, as the game makes practically no use of this feature. Screen Space Reflections also has a minor performance impact, with AMD claiming that this is due to Capcom’s integration of AMD’s FidelityFX SPD feature, which accelerates texture mapping and post-processing using asynchronous compute.
Most other graphics settings have a minor performance impact, though it is worth noting that these settings will have different performance impacts on older GPU architecture and lower-end graphics card.
Strangely, in our benchmarking area, most individual ray tracing settings had a small performance impact. Making us believe that enhanced ray tracing performance needs multiple settings changes to have a notable performance impact. Sadly, we have not had the time to test the hypothesis further.
Conclusion – A fantastic PC version
Resident Evil Village is a game that offers excellent visuals while delivering stable performance across a wide range of hardware. As a cross-generation game release, it makes brave steps into the next-generation toolbox with support for Ray Tracing and Variable Rate Shading while also offering great performance on older gaming systems.
With today’s GPU shortage in mind, it is great to see Resident Evil Village arrive as a game that can appear to users of new graphics hardware and the masses of PC gamers who cannot upgrade.
Even our ageing RX 480 and GTX 1060 graphics card can achieve 60+ FPS average framerates when playing Resident Evil Village at 1080p with the game Max Preset (this present does not include ray tracing). Even better is the fast the Resident Evil’s inclusion of Ray Tracing isn’t insanely demanding, so much so that AMD’s RX 6800 can keep this game at 4K 60+ FPS at max settings with VRS (balanced mode) enabled. Most Nvidia optimised titles need DLSS integration to make their ray tracing implementations usable.
CPU-wise, Resident Evil Village will run well on anything that has more than four strong cores. As a cross-generation title, Resident Evil Village needs to run on the low-power Jaguar cores within the last-generation consoles, making Village extremely easy to run on modern PC CPUs.
As a whole, Resident Evil Village is a game that runs remarkably well on both old and new PC hardware. That said, it is clear that this game has been designed with modern hardware in mind, as can be seen when comparing older AMD GPU architecture with their newer counterparts. A good example of this is AMD’s RX 5500 XT, which was seen as an RX 580/480 competitor at launch, but completely smashes those older graphics cards in RE: Village.
When it comes to performance, we have nothing to complain about with Resident Evil Village, outside of a few minor bugs when using Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards with VRS enabled and performance issues with Nvidia’s RTX 2060 when ray tracing was enabled. Hopefully, these issues will be addressed with driver updates and game patches.
When AMD gave us access to Resident Evil Village, they told us that their Radeon RX 6000 series was good enough for 1440p and 4K performance and that their FidelityFX suite has been used to enhance the game in several ways. Given the performance that we have seen today, I think we can honestly say that AMD’s words have been proven true on both accounts.
As always, AMD’s FidelityFX Contrast Adaptive Sharpening feature is used well, being a must-enable feature for all PC players. Beyond that, AMD’s FidelityFX CACAO (Ambient Occlusion) offers much stronger visuals than the RE Engine’s stock AO setting. It’s definitely a great feature for those without ray tracing compatible graphics cards.
One thing to note here is that Resident Evil Village’s Ray Tracing modes run very efficiently on PC, offering stable 4K performance on our RX 6800 without the need for an upscaling technology like DLSS. This is a good sign for the future of ray tracing on PCs and consoles, as developers are no longer brute-forcing ray tracing into their PC games.
Resident Evil Village runs incredibly well on PC, and if you are interested in this franchise, the game itself is definitely worth playing. I can’t wait to finish this game over the coming weeks, with ray tracing enabled!