Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Performance Analysis

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Settings

The settings allow for all the usual modifications that you’d find in any recent Frostbite 3-based game. You have access to the usual AA, filtering, resolution scaling and quality settings that have a somewhat large difference between them. For this they’ve added a “Hyper” preset above the typical “Ultra” which we use here today for our tests. This just means a higher dose of SSO, better ambient occlusion, even better quality models and better textures than even we might expect on Ultra. They may be scaling it a bit more, however, for a larger variety of systems.

 

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

Naturally we’ll take a look at 1080P first, as that’s the lowest resolution that we might see in the wild. Certainly it supports a wide swathe of resolutions in all manner of aspect ratios, but 1080P is normal.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

When compared to the other most recent example of Frostbite, Star Wars: Battlefront, it seems to be a lot more resource intensive. Even the mighty Titan X struggles to keep it over 100FPS when running around the City of Glass. That said, it’s somewhat clear that VRAM above 2GB is appreciated here. The 2GB cards have a clear gap between those that have more. Furthermore, it otherwise is more than playable down to an R9 380X or GTX 970. They provide plenty of horsepower and frames to make it enjoyable. 1440P may be a different matter altogether. Lighting is quite intensive to compute, as are shadows.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

When we up the resolution just a bit we see framerates decrease as we’d expect. One might wonder if the 4GB of RAM on the Fiji-based cards is a bottleneck, however the more efficient use of VRAM leads the faster throughput to be quite useful here. In other words, it’s not when programmed for. My personal preference would favor at least a Fury or GTX 980 in order to have a smooth parkour experience. But if you’re less sensitive, even the GTX 970 could do. There’s quite the gap between the R9 380X and that GTX 970, however.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

4K presents us with a bit of a problem for single GPUs. That is, even the Titan X isn’t necessarily playable. The experience isn’t nearly as smooth as you might expect. That and while it looks phenomenal, the FPS-genre, especially one which has you running smoothly from point to point, almost requires a near constant 60FPS to be enjoyable.

What can we conclude?

They’ve really increased the quality of lighting by impressive amounts. The way in which it interacts with nearly anything, and the tiled based deferred rendering of lighting, makes it a gorgeous game. The problem is that it takes a lot of resources to do so. They’ve also upped their tessellation game with far more complex  looking features as a result. This means the game looks phenomenal, gorgeous because of the more realistic lighting. The increased poly-counts and massive city also make for a game that requires massive power to play.

You’ll need at least an R9 380X at 1080P, a GTX 970 or R9 390X at 1440P or an R9 Fury or a GTX Titan X at 4K. It’s best to go into mGPU territory here, and thankfully the Frostbite 3 engine is great at handling multiple GPUs, not something that every game seems to enjoy. The takeaway? This game can be fun on near any piece of hardware. Just have the above for the best results.