Killer Instinct Engine Specifics
The game engine used is an internal proprietary one that has been recently updated to take better advantage of the Xbox One and the PC. They’ve added in a new dynamic lighting system, far better and higher resolution textures, a very nice reflection technology and they’ve completely overhauled every level and character in the game. More polygons, a healthy dose of ambient occlusion and a tremendous amount of great, interactive lighting help to make the characters, and levels, come alive. Since this is a DirectX 12 game, we had to use Action! in order to record the FPS, as it’s currently the only utility that allows us to do so.
The settings are not so varied and don’t include many options for customization besides the very basic to turn on or off the various features. That’s it, and certainly a bit disappointing. The game itself, though, is a far cry better than it was originally. And it’s decidedly fun as well.
1080P is too easy for everyone involved
At 1080P we see that no card has trouble at all in keeping very well near the 60FPS target that seems to be the golden standard. More than that, the Titan X and the Fury X are positively speed demons. This, with full effects on, is a sight to behold. And it’s fast. Anything, from a GTX 960 or R7 370 on up are more than playable. The requirements are low, though it’s still quite gorgeous of a game.
1440P is still quite strong
Even here we see that all cards are still quite playable. It isn’t quite ideal with the GTX 960 or the R7 370, but a GTX 970 class or higher is more than capable. What’s interesting is that the Fury X is still able to maintain a lead, despite it’s lower available VRAM. This game, and likely asynchronous compute and the superior scheduling of DirectX 12 certainly seem to favor the GCN architecture of AMD.
2160P is fairly tough
The cards with less VRAM certainly take a dip, though anything with 4GB and higher seem to do just fine. The 970 is even slightly playable, if a bit slower. If you’re sensitive to such lower frame rates it might be a problem, otherwise it’s actually still doable. AMD GPUs seem to be doing very strong here, again likely due to the inherent advantages of DirectX 12 and the GCN architecture. The Fury X has maintained quite the lead over the entire series of tests.
What does this all mean?
It isn’t the best looking game, nor is it seemingly the most popular of games in the fighting genre, but Killer Instinct is still a fun and enjoyable game to romp through. That’s the point of gaming, isn’t it? Despite that, the new lighting system and updated textures are great in the background. With fast action, it’s difficult to really notice any lack of fidelity compared to other games. It’s actually quite nice. They really nailed the lighting.
Initially we had problems running this game, and benchmarking it. The existence of a framerate cap tied to monitor refresh-rate made it a very difficult game to test. You just couldn’t go faster than 60FPS at 4K, if that were possible. It was, however, a stable game and does run quite smooth despite all the negative feedback from the majority of the first-generation Windows Store games. It’s nice to see that, at the very least, Killer Instinct didn’t have widespread issues. And after a few updates it runs very fast on just about anything. AMD takes the crown for being faster, overall.