Elden Ring is finally out. The game hyped so much that it was destined not to fail, well, unless you’re Cyberpunk 2077 but we don’t talk about that. The game released around the world yesterday and delighted players with its vast and immersive open world and somehow even more impressive combat mechanics than previous Souls games. It seemed like critics and players alike were having a blast with it.
However, while the game was running pretty smoothly on consoles, it wasn’t running great on PC. See, Elden Ring is a true next-gen title that is trying to cater to all audiences which means it hasn’t set its hardware requirements too high. The game is optimized for budget-oriented hardware as well. But, as things turned out, optimizing for an impossibly wide range of hardware configurations can bring its own drawbacks.
Elden Ring’s plague
Due to FromSoftware‘s attempt at making the game accessible to as many computers as possible, they have essentially taken on a situation more difficult than if they were to just leave these players behind. Over the weekend, reports started coming out that Elden Ring is facing serious performance issues on PC to the point where they aren’t just minor inconveniences anymore.
Digital Foundry’s first impressions of the game revealed that upon facing new enemies, the PC version of Elden Ring suffers from micro-stutters of up to 250 milliseconds. On top of that, there are even more severe frame drops when you’re traversing a large area in the open world with the framerate dipping from 60FPS down to 40FPS. This happens several times in a minute.
Almost all GPUs, including my GTX 1660 Super, struggle when going outside into the beautiful horizon but runs fine indoors. This is likely due to the game using DirectX 12 which has been known to produce aggressive stutters and fluctuations in modern games as it takes a different approach to memory management. Elden Ring is locked at 60FPS and used V-Sync by default which cannot be turned off so this is even more annoying.
Digital Foundry mentions that variable refresh rate technologies like G-Sync and FreeSync alleviate the issues to some degree but that’s not how it should be as not everyone has access to those, especially when the console version of Elden Ring faces no such problems.
All of this has led to Elden Ring getting review-bombed on Steam. Now, review-bombing is an unfortunate by-product of the modern gaming landscape that’s more toxic than helpful but in this, there’s at least some rationale behind it. Players frustrated by the game’s continuous performance issues haven’t grown numb to them but instead have taken to Steam to ensure that the developer hears their crestfallen voices loud and clear.
lol, all the reviews for elden ring got deleted on steam pic.twitter.com/404n9JmYMa
— Garin (@garinl) February 25, 2022
And heard their voices, Bandai Namco has. Apart from the Steam reviews magically disappearing into thin air, the publisher has formally apologized for the severe performance issues on PC and has said that a patch is in the works to address the perpetual stuttering and other weak areas. No ETA on when the patch will actually drop so right now, you can only hope that your experience isn’t marred by these inconveniences.
Regarding the phenomenon of frame rate and other performance-related issues during gameplay. We will be constantly working to improve the game so that it can be played comfortably on various PC environments and platforms. For the PC version, updating your graphics card drivers to the latest version may significantly improve performance.
But the thing is, even hope can’t save you this time. Digital Foundry’s review has made it abundantly clear that Elden Ring’s stuttering issues are so significant that the PC version of the game is simply not recommendable. That is big coming from arguably the most renowned technical experts in gaming out there and certainly paints Elden Ring in a bad light.
It remains to be seen what Bandai Namco does about this situation as the day-one patch that updated the game to version 1.02 did not address these issues one bit. This is even more strange when you take into account that FromSoftware’s last two games, Dark Souls III and Sekiro were the best versions of the game across all platforms. No one saw a flatline like this coming and now we only wish that the issues get resolved as soon as possible.