XCOM 2 Performance Analysis

XCOM 2 Settings

The options are fairly vast, letting you control quite a lot. Some of the more demanding options are those relating to light. Subsurface scattering, screen space reflections and shadows all had a big impact on performance. For the test, we tested with everyone on the highest possible settings.


First up is of course 1080P, we’ll see if the minimum specification for GPU holds up to be true at this resolution.


As you can see, they weren’t kidding that the game requires a potent GPU. You don’t necessarily need a steady 60FPS for this to be enjoyable, but the smoothness that naturally comes from having a higher framerate helps the animations look more seamless. The Titan X is the clear winner, with the Fury X trailing not terribly far behind.


A GTX 970 or above is almost indubitably required for a good experience. It’s playable, though not the most enjoyable, on the R7 370 and GTX 960. The R9 380X is on the cusp of what might be acceptable, though that’s largely personal. In an FPS you may want much higher, here? It could be fun. Turn down the effects and it’ll be within the playable amount, however.


4K is very demanding. This increases the processing requirements are evident and the performance falls appreciably. Some might even say that the Titan X with it’s 29FPS average could be playable with everything on its highest. That may not be so for many, however. Lower the shadow quality to its lowest and you’ll enjoy 35FPS average on the Titan X with a much more smooth experience.

What can we conclude?

Though it’s a good looking game, it isn’t magnificent though it now performs at reasonable levels considering the amount of lighting and shadows that are being used in any given scene. Firaxis has optimized it fairly well thus far, but it seems as if we have a bit to go. Turning down the shadow quality helps tremendously, however.

The key is figuring out what minimum framerate is your personal threshold, because our eyes all differ. For me, a 60Hz monitor is generally fine and 30-40 is decent depending on the game. This genre is interesting because 60FPS isn’t really needed to make it feel good. For most people at least. Once you find your own preferences then you’ll be able to fine-tune for that easily.

We can conclude that XCOM 2 is hardware agnostic in that each card is placed within the exact category that we’d expect based on their respective prices. 1080P and 1440P is very playable with full settings on at least a GTX 970 or an R9 390X. More than that, the game is still more than playable and enjoyable this far out. It has replay value in spades.