Evolve Gameplay And Performance Review: A Humans Vs. Monsters Hunt

Graphics and Benchmarks

If you are familiar with the Crysis franchise, then you are familiar with what the Crytek Engine can do. Turtle Rock Studios used the Crytek Engine (4th generation) to develop Evolve and the results are great.

The game’s graphics are fantastic and visually appealing, featuring detailed character models for both hunters and monsters. When a fight breaks out between both parties, the visuals of explosions, lightning, lasers, and bullets creates quite the light show that is enhanced by the monster's various attacks that can also look spectacular.

Maps in Evolve are also impressive in their layout and varying biomes. The same goes for the selection of extraterrestrial beasts and avian scattered throughout the maps. Weather effects are also a nice touch, whether it is raining or it is snowing, which certainly adds another level of immersion to Evolve’s gameplay.

Suffice to say, the game’s visuals are fantastic. But we were curious as to how well the game performs on current generation midrange hardware.

It's not too late to turn back...is it?

Evolve Shot2
Oh snap...

To benchmark Evolve, the gaming rig we used to test it utilized an AMD Phenom II X4 965 processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and an AMD Radeon R9 280 which we then swapped out for an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780. The game’s settings were run at Very High quality mode at 1920x1080 resolution.

In order to record frame times and frames-per-second in a similar setting, we benchmarked both cards using the same map and similar strategies. The map we chose was Rendering Plant, which featured a fair assortment when it came to bodies of water, scalable rock formations, and plenty of fauna and flora. We played from the monster's perspective so that we could avoid the hunters, and any conflict, until we evolved to stage 3 and had one massive fight at the end of the match.

AMD 1920x1080 SMAA1TX Time Nvidia 1920x1080 SMAA1TX Time
Frametime Results - Click To Embiggen - GeForce GTX 780 - Right, Radeon R9 280 - Left

We used FRAPs to record the frames-per-second (FPS) and frametimes in the game, with some interesting results as you can see. If you look at the dotted lines going across the both graphs at 16.7ms and 33.3ms, you'll see how much time the GTX 780 (colored orange) and the Radeon R9 280 (colored blue) GPUs spend at or above 60 FPS (16.7ms) and 30 FPS (33.3ms).

As you can see, the NVIDIA card was more consistent in staying within the 60 FPS range compared to the AMD card. The 1% latency, which is the worst 1% of all results, for the NVIDIA card was 33 FPS, while the AMD's 1% latency was lower at 30 FPS.

Big 1280x720 SMAA 1TX 1

Big 1920x1080 SMAA 1TX 1

A similar picture is painted in regards to FPS. The GTX 780 averaged 63 FPS while the Radeon R9 280 averaged slightly lower at 61.8 FPS, while playing the game at Very High settings at 1920x1080 resolution, with Subpixel Morphological Antialiasing (SMAA) on, and V-Sync off. While playing the game, we didn't notice any discernible visual or performance differences during game matches using both cards.

Big 1280x720 No SMAA 1TX 1

Big 1920x1080 No SMAA 1TX 1

However, while we didn't notice any differences between the two cards while playing Evolve, the FRAPs results for the AMD card are interesting. As you can see in the graphs above, once SMAA was turned off for the 1920x1080 resolution playthrough, the difference between the GPU's average was 4.3 FPS. At the lower resolution of 1280x720, the Radeon R9 280 continued to post similar numbers, though slightly off, with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 even when SMAA was turned on or off. 

Considering the price difference, and specs, of the two cards, the AMD Radeon R9 280 was able to hold its own well against the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780, though the GeForce GTX 780 was clearly stronger overall.

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