Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes PC Technical Review



Company: Konami
Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Sean Ridgeley
Date: December 18th, 2014

Graphics options and visuals, performance

Graphics options, visuals

Ground Zeroes includes 12 graphics options, among them Windowed Borderless mode (incorrectly labeled Fullscreen Borderless), V Sync, Frame Rate (60 or 30 frames per second cap), Textures, Shadows, Lighting, SSAO, and various other quality settings. A respectable list, to be sure, though it's missing Antialiasing and Depth of Field (both tied up in the Screen Filtering option, along with other effects), Field of View, Fullscreen Borderless, and an option to disable the frame rate cap.

I don't hesitate to say GZ features easily some of the most impressive graphics on PC to date, which is more than I expected from a console-first title, and after Revengeance (which looked good, but didn't stand out). The great results here appear to be a testament to the power of the Fox engine, and what might be its more PC friendly architecture.

The highlights are extremely high resolution, slick texturing, superb, deep lighting and shadowing (aided well by SSAO), rich, detailed particle effects, great usage of bokeh depth of field and other depth of field techniques (although it turns on sometimes when it shouldn't), and quite likely the best facial rendering in gaming, alongside Dragon Age Inquisition (developer Kojima Productions knows it too, never wasting an opportunity to show off faces). The 'under the hood' techniques include Physically-Based Rendering (realistic, real-time reaction to lighting and shading), Subsurface Scattering (natural shading of skin), deferred rendering (more complex lighting), and more. All that combined with masterful, thrilling presentation makes the espionage a real joy to behold.

For power users, the game supports resolutions of up to 3840x2160.

Performance

I tested the game in the midst of switching back to a replacement R9 290X from a GTX 680, so impressions here will reflect both cards.

Frame rate suffers quite a bit on Very High (max) settings on the 680, dipping from the maximum 60 to about 50 and everywhere between in wide open areas and sometimes while running or in more closed areas. On the 290X, just a few frames per second are lost here and there. On all High settings, no frames are lost.

Stuttering is pretty prevalent on Very High settings using either card (a little more on the 680); dropping down to High, the game still looks great, while running butter smooth.