Assassin's Creed Odyssey performance guide: what you need at 60fps

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey performance guide: what you need at 60fps

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey performance guide: what you need at 60fps

Making a hardware-demanding game isn’t usually a great way to sell a lot of copies, but with each release, Ubisoft has managed to make Assassin’s Creed even more demanding. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the latest entry in a long line of games dating back to 2007, and the eleventh “main” game in the series — and that’s not counting the numerous console-only releases and spinoffs for mobile platforms. However, the last few games made some welcome improvements to the series, and could easily count as some of the better parts.

That’s the good news. bad news? Odyssey is easily one of the most demanding games of the year. You’ll need a powerful graphics card to hopefully break 60fps at 1080p or higher, and if you’re looking to max out your 144Hz gaming panel, you can pretty much forget about that. Even at low 1080p, running on the fastest CPUs and GPUs currently available, I got a little worse, and inconsistent frame rates helped to ruin the experience. Fire up the game on a mid-range PC with a GTX 1060 or RX 580 and you’ll drop to medium/high settings to get closer to 60fps.

If you’re after high frame rates, you’ll also need a beefy CPU this round, although many CPUs can hit 60fps. 1080p low typically requires more than a 4-core/8-thread CPU to hit triple digits, while only the i7-8700K and i9-9900K can break 100fps at 1080p high (this is only for the RTX 2080 Ti).

But don’t let those numbers scare you off, because 60fps is certainly not necessary to enjoy this Odyssey, and even 1080p medium quality (or high with some judicious tweaking) is pretty close to a steady 60fps on popular hardware like GTX 970 and above. We also got some results with extreme budget graphics solutions, such as Intel’s HD Graphics 630. At close to reasonable frame rates, you won’t get the pretty visuals out of the Odyssey, but you’ll still be able to play the game.

Words About Our Sponsors

As our partner for these detailed performance analyses, MSI provided the hardware we needed to test Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on a range of different AMD and Nvidia GPUs, as well as AMD and Intel platforms – see below for details. Thanks, MSI!

Let’s quickly talk about features. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey offers most of what we like to see, the only missing link is mod support. A few reshade mods exist, as well as some other minor tweaks, but without official mod support, you shouldn’t expect all sorts of game-changing tweaks.

Aside from this omission, the game works fine on widescreen, ultrawide, and even double aspect ratios — and everything else I’ve tried. You can adjust the FOV, but the range is limited to 85-115%. The keymaps and buttons are fully customizable, the controller works fine (though I prefer the mouse and keyboard), and it supports if you want to run at a locked frame rate – as well as a fully unlocked frame rate.

Why run at a locked frame rate? Because unless you have G-Sync or FreeSync set up, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has inconsistent frame rates and can cause micro-stuttering. I noticed this at launch and hoped the patch and updated drivers would get things going. So far, this hasn’t happened, which means that even though the average frame rate might be OK, the minimum frame rate could fluctuate wildly. If you’re bothered by microstutter(opens in a new tab), consider locking the framerate to see if that helps.

A super high-quality Assassin’s Creed Odyssey can even boot high-end PCs.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey System Requirements

Below are the minimum and recommended system requirements for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey listed by Ubisoft.

Minimum – 30fps low at 720p
operating system:
Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit only)
processor: Intel Core i5-2400 (4C/4T 3.1-3.4GHz) or AMD FX-6300 (6C/6T 3.5-3.8GHz)
memory: 8GB RAM
Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon R9 285 (2GB VRAM)
Direct connection: Version 11
Storage: 46GB free space

Recommended – 1080p at 30fps
operating system:
Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit only)
processor: Intel Core i7-3770 (4C/8T 3.4-3.9GHz), AMD FX-8350 (8C/8T 4.0-4.2GHz) or AMD Ryzen 5 1400 (4C/8T 3.2-3.4GHz)
memory: 8GB RAM
Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 (4GB VRAM)
Direct connection: Version 11
Storage: 46GB free space

4K recommended – 4k high 30fps
operating system:
Windows 10 (64-bit only)
processor: Intel Core i7-7700 (4C/8T 4.2-4.5GHz) or AMD Ryzen 7 1700X (8C/16T 3.4-3.8GHz)
memory: 16GB RAM
Graphics card: AMD Vega 64, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB VRAM)
Direct connection: Version 11
Storage: 46GB free space

That so many major publishers continue to push 30fps on PC with “recommended” settings speaks volumes — and honestly is sad. As a minimum threshold, of course I understand, but if you want the best gaming experience in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I highly recommend aiming for 60fps, or at least closer to 45fps. I appreciate that Ubisoft doesn’t recommend that at least the minimum settings require the latest CPUs and GPUs, you can certainly go below the above recommendations if you want. But overall, you need a fairly powerful gaming PC to handle the Odyssey.

Pics 1 of 9

1080p low preset

1080p medium preset

1080p high preset

1080p very high preset

1080p Ultra Preset

Graphics Setup, Part 1

Graphics Setup, Part 2

Display Settings, Part 1

Display Settings, Part 2

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Settings Overview

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey offers up to 14 graphics settings, as well as 5 presets (low, low, medium, high, very high and ultra), as well as other display elements such as resolution, FOV and aspect ratio. The list seems fairly comprehensive, but as I’ve seen in many other games lately, many settings cause little performance change, at least on the hardware I’ve tested. In fact, only one setting can improve performance by 20-25% relative to Ultra Preset, and more settings can improve performance by 2-5%.

The game includes a built-in benchmark that gives a good idea of ​​real-world performance based on my testing. I fully tested every setting using the ultra preset, but the one in question was at the minimum value. The Odyssey does carry the AMD Radeon/Ryzen branding, but that doesn’t seem to matter since Nvidia GPUs tend to have a substantial lead over their AMD counterparts.

Here’s a brief summary of the settings and how they affect performance, using two mid-range GPUs, an AMD RX 580 8GB and an Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB. These run on other high-end PCs (Core i7-8700K – see box below), but the GPU is the main bottleneck at 1080p with these cards.

pics 1 of 2

Swipe to see RX 580 8GB results

Swipe to see GTX 1060 6GB results

It’s worth noting that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will use up to 6GB of VRAM at highest quality (ultra preset), and more at higher resolutions. You can basically double the performance of the 1060 6GB and RX 580 8GB by downgrading from ultra low quality to low quality, and cards with 4GB or less of VRAM should stick to the high texture preset or performance will drop.

Let’s take a quick look at the various settings. One caveat here is that combined settings (via presets) obviously have a bigger impact than any single setting change. If you run 1060 6GB on the low preset as an example, it’s twice as fast as the ultra preset. But benchmarking at least 14 individual settings and calculating their product yields only a theoretical 60% improvement.

The 580 is similar, the low preset runs almost twice as fast, but the product of the individual settings shows only a 35% potential improvement. This might be a bug, but be aware that fine-tuning settings might not work as expected.

Antialiasing (<1%): There is no indication of which form of AA is used, but based on the negligible performance penalty it is safe to assume it is FXAA or the lightweight form of TAA.

Shadow (5%): Affects the quality of shadow maps, including soft shadows and the distance at which shadows become visible.

Environmental details (3%): Improve the quality of the environment. Lowering this setting can make the pop-up of higher quality models very noticeable, so I recommend keeping this setting as long as possible.

Environment texture detail (<2%): Use higher resolution textures for the environment, which requires more VRAM, although 6GB is enough for Ultra.

Terrain (1%): Adjust terrain details, including LOD scaling. If anything, it doesn’t seem to have much impact on performance.

clutter (2%): Increases the amount of “clutter” – more grass, small rocks, etc.

Fog (3%): Adjusts the amount of fog, which also affects things like divine light.

Water (-3%?): This should affect water detail, but turning it off consistently improved performance on both test GPUs.

Screen space reflections (4%): Change the quality of screen space reflections on wet surfaces and reflective objects.

Volume Cloud (20-25%): The single large setting that causes the biggest drop in performance, this only affects the quality of the sky and clouds. Clouds look really good, but you can turn it down without missing too much.

Character texture detail (1%): Use higher resolution textures for characters, which require more VRAM. However, it’s not as demanding as improving the quality of the environment textures.

Personality (<1%): Adjusts the character’s level of detail with minimal performance impact.

Ambient Occlusion (4%): Adjusts the object’s self-shadowing, but AMD seems to have a bug, as lowering it reduces performance (although AO shadows do disappear).

Depth of Field (1%): Enabling this feature will make distant areas appear slightly blurred, while setting it off will bring all areas into focus. Another minimal performance drop.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey requires a reboot to make most setting changes, and the dynamic weather makes it difficult to capture meaningful comparison screenshots. Weather – especially clouds and sunlight – can also have a considerable impact on performance, even in the built-in benchmarks.

One of the patches removed the possibility of rain during benchmarks, which helped, but heavier clouds still caused a 5-10% performance drop. For all benchmarks, I ran them multiple times (sometimes five or more!) just to get a sunny day with “best” performance. Also, due to the aforementioned oddities of tweaking individual settings—the RX 580’s performance dropped when several options were rejected—I stuck with the presets for the rest of my testing.

Tested Nvidia graphics cards

Tested AMD graphics cards

Tested laptops and desktops

MSI provided all the hardware for this test, including the latest GeForce RTX cards. All GPUs come with a modest factory overclock, which in most cases provides about a 5% increase in performance compared to the reference model.

My main testbed uses an MSI Z390 MEG Godlike (opens in new tab) motherboard and an overclocked Core i7-8700K (opens in new tab)

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Wilbert Wood
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