Monday, July 15, 2024

Elex 2 in the tech test – ComputerBase

Date:

Elex 2 by Piranha Bytes and with it another spiritual descendant of Gothic has been released. Testing of the PC version shows that the technology is unfortunately no longer up to date. Not only do the graphics have little to offer and cause problems, the demands on the graphics card are also too high (for that).

With Elex 2 another spiritual successor to Gothic has been released. The German development team Piranha Bytes wants to build on the virtues of the first part and improve the predecessor Elex (technical test) in all respects. There is again a large open world that does not reveal its secrets on its own, many disturbing conversations, an increasingly powerful main character, numerous factions and much more.

Technology is simply (too) getting old

The internal genome engine, which was successfully developed for the 2017 predecessor, is also part of the party. For Part 2, however, there was apparently little more than fine-tuning. Yes, Elex 2 looks better than its predecessor, but the differences are not huge. Game graphics in general have come a long way in the last four and a half years. Consequently, Elex 2 no longer looks good. Sometimes it’s even downright ugly.

Big issues abound: animations are stiff, faces look waxy and lack detail, there’s no camera movement in chat sequences, lighting barely pops, textures are lackluster at best, and that’s not all. that’s it.

One of the biggest problems can be attributed to the level of detail (LOD), because in the game even large objects appear out of nowhere, even from a medium distance, while others cheerfully and visibly change their level of detail. Also, some mostly large buildings or trees from a long distance like to lose all detail and shape and then are more reminiscent of the original Doom than a 2022 game.

Smoothing isn’t very helpful either, as it just can’t handle the situation with flickering. Even in Ultra HD, the vegetation flickers properly and things only get worse at lower resolutions.

In addition, there is – a lot can already be revealed – a staggeringly low frame rate. The aging DirectX 11 renderer just seems overwhelmed with the task, either with a generally low framerate or a presumably massive API or call throttling on Radeon GPUs, so lowering the resolution barely yields any performance because the GPU is very boring even in UHD. and it is not the bottleneck.

No one demands high-end graphics from a relatively small development team like Piranha Bytes. But what worked well for Elex in 2017 is not appropriate for Elex 2 in 2022. The weaknesses can no longer be ignored.

Let’s hope the developers don’t try the same engine again on Elex III without at least doing a massive rebuild. The zenith of internal technology appears to have been clearly passed.

There are also little bright spots.

But sometimes there are bright spots. Elex 2 can look reasonably good when the sun is good and you are in the right region. Sometimes that creates a good atmosphere. And some objects are also successful and fit well into the future fantasy world. Unfortunately, such scenes are too rare.

Not surprisingly, the Elex 2 dispenses with ray tracing and there’s no upsampling or upscaling in the form of AMD FSR or Nvidia DLSS.

Elex 2 offers a simple graphics menu on PC. There are various individual options as well as scaling up and down in the game. The rendering resolution can be changed in 10 percent increments between 50 and 200 percent compared to the set resolution.

And that is. There is no FPS limiter, and the game doesn’t even have graphical presets. You won’t find descriptions or sample screenshots of the individual options, or a VRAM utilization indicator. And otherwise, there’s nothing exciting about the graphics menu.

Instead, there are plenty of smoothing options on board. Elex 2 offers FXAA, SMAA, TFXAA, and TSMAA, but none of the options are good. TSMAA is still the best option, as blurring is low in this mode and flickering is more effectively prevented. “More effective” is still a long way from being “good.” In terms of performance, there are only minor differences between the four options.

The Elex 2 chart menu

The Elex 2 chart menu

The Elex 2 chart menu

The Elex 2 chart menu

The Elex 2 chart menu

The Elex 2 chart menu

The graphics options mainly affect the view range.

There are no graphics presets in Elex 2, but there are individual options. They mainly affect the range of vision in one way or another. For example, if you refrain from max details and instead set all options to “high”, you’ll get a simpler shadow display, and at a greater distance, no shadows will be displayed at all.

From now on it gets complicated. If you set all options to “Medium” (Ambient Occlusion to “Low”, “Medium” is not available in this case), you already have to accept a big loss of graphics quality. Even at medium visibility, many objects no longer cast shadows, some simply disappear entirely. The green of the trees already turns into a “mass of mud” in the middle distance and the same goes for some buildings. Some just look as ugly as the tower on the right side of the image. Why not: this is not a graphical error, but it should look like this!

Elex 2 Can Do Doom Graphics Too – There Are Nonsense Graphics Options

It gets really fun at low graphics details, because many buildings’ graphics rival Doom’s. So the 1993 first-person shooter, not the 2016 reboot. That changes when you get close to them, but that doesn’t make the situation any better. In addition, more shadows are missing and some objects show almost no detail at all.

Simply setting all graphics menu items to “Medium”, let alone “Low” is not an option in Elex 2. Instead it is recommended to leave the “Texture Quality” and “Object View Distance” items set to “High”, otherwise the game will display the ugly buildings. This barely affects the GPU anyway; the CPU is probably affected mainly by the options.

Maximum graphic details

Maximum graphic details

individual options

Individual options “High”

individual options

Individual options “Medium”

individual options

Individual options “Low”

Possible FPS gains are small

Not much performance can be gained from the Elex 2’s graphics options. At least if the graphics card is the limiting hardware. The Radeon RX 6800 XT in WQHD with all graphics options set to “High” instead of “Ultra” only achieves 4 percent more FPS, with the GeForce RTX 3080 it’s at least 9 percent. The “Medium” option level, which is no longer pretty to look at, brings in another 9 percent each and “Low” another 7 percent each. With Radeon, performance can be improved by a maximum of 20 percent, with GeForce it’s 26 percent. Unplayable only becomes playable in a few cases.

Graphics Detail Levels Compared – 2560 × 1440

    • Single Details Low

    • medium of individual details

    • High individual details

    • maximum details

    • Single Details Low

    • medium of individual details

    • High individual details

    • maximum details

Ebenezer Robbins
Ebenezer Robbins
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.

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