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Digital Foundry: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake - PS5/XSX/S Tech Review - UE5 Nanite/Lumen Come at a Heavy Cost

adamsapple

Or is it just one of Phil's balls in my throat?



Moving from Unreal Engine 3 to Unreal Engine 5, the latest remake of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons deploys the new engine's Nanite and Lumen technologies to good effect. On PS5, Xbox Series X and Series S, the outlook is respectable on its 30fps quality mode. However, the 60fps performance mode falls short, and proves a step too far in locking to the target - despite serious resolutions drops on Series S.

00:00 - Introduction
02:56 - Original versus Remake Comparison
07:08 - PS5 vs Series X/S Comparison (Quality Mode)
08:50 - PS5 vs Series X/S Comparison (Performance Mode)
10:04 - FPS Tests (Quality mode)
11:32 - FPS Tests (Performance mode)
14:08 - Verdict
 
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adamsapple

Or is it just one of Phil's balls in my throat?
- Built on Unreal Engine 5 features Nanite and Lumen
- All consoles have 2 modes, 30 FPS Quality and 60 FPS Performance

Features:
- Compared to the original (Built on UE3), everything is reworked from scratch
- Benefits of Nanite stick out the most during the cut-scenes
- Lumen lighting makes the biggest visual difference / leap from the original to the remake
- Character models completely redesigned, camera angles during scenes have been adjusted to highlight models as much as possible.
- New scenes added in places, some scenes are rendered out as video files

Graphics:
- Performance mode comes with drawbacks on all consoles

- Quality mode render DRS 1620p on PS5/Series X, typically 1440p, no other visual differences
- Series S: 454p to 720p DRS. Tends to rest at 720p most often.
- Visual quality on Series S is reduced with lower shadows, DoF, AO, foliage density etc

- Performance mode retains Lumen and Nanite
- SX and PS5 typically run at 1080p DRS and drop shadow quality but most other things retained
- Series S retains Lumen and Nanite as well but tends to stick to lower end of DRS more often (454p). Later, less-open chapters can stick to 720p on Series S as well.

Performance:
- 30 FPS quality mode is DF's preferred way of playing the game.
- On SX/PS5: Even frame pacing, no drops aside from one-off dip when the game auto saves
- Series S: Except one segment, retains locked 30 FPS in DF testing. Recommended mode here too

- 60 FPS mode is only really recommended if you have a VRR display.
- Game play in first town is between 35 ~ 60 FPS
- Series X generally has a 5, 6 FPS lead in stress areas (13% improvement) and VRR helps here
- Later Underground / indoor chapters can run at locked 60 on both,' but outdoor areas drop again

- Series S has worse average performance than both PS5/SX.
- Indoor dungeon areas run at 60 FPS here too, but the outdoor areas drop a lot, almost always below the VRR threshold.

Summary:
- No console manages to lock 60
- SX gives the best performance and VRR display owners might find value in the 60 FPS mode
- But in most cases, especially on Series S, the 30 FPS mode makes more sense.
- The game also launched in a buggy state with geometry and flickering bugs.
 
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Darsxx82

Member
More and more having a TV with VRR and 120hz saves the experience in many games. This definitely needs several patches to be enjoyed decently the 60fps mode.

P.S. XSX is definitely enjoying a good trend and evolution even though it is probably the one with the least optimization time and attention.
 
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adamsapple

Or is it just one of Phil's balls in my throat?
More and more having a TV with VRR and 120hz saves the experience in many games. This definitely needs several patches to be enjoyed decently the 60fps mode.

P.S. XSX is definitely enjoying a good trend and evolution even though it is probably the one with the least optimization time and attention.

I may be wrong but pretty much all the UE5 games released in the last year or two have a performance advantage on SX.
 

Gaiff

SBI’s Resident Gaslighter
454p on Series S. We're back to the N64 era boys. I know people love remakes but we didn't ask to remake the resolutions too.

Michael Jordan Lol GIF
 
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Gaiff

SBI’s Resident Gaslighter
The problem here is the weak sauce Xbox Series S, not the graphics engine.
Nah, I think not enough care was put into squeezing the juice out of these consoles. 1260p to 1620p in Quality Mode. Come on. Should have no issue reaching 4K/30 in a game with those visuals.

Then 1080p in Performance Mode and still drops to the 30s on the PS5.

That's just a shit job all around.

Probably Lumen just murdering performance. This would explain why in dimmer underground areas, the fps is much higher.
 
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Elysium44

Banned
The problem here is the weak sauce Xbox Series S, not the graphics engine.

It's relatively weak but not so weak it needs to run a game looking this unremarkable at feeble resolutions and even then still can't maintain 60fps. This gen is terrible.
 
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I may be wrong but pretty much all the UE5 games released in the last year or two have a performance advantage on SX.
Hey it's a little more nuanced than that I'd say. Robocop is currently the best played on PS5 (better image fidelity) and Immortals of Aveum developers actually increased image fidelity on PS5 (game is indeed quite sharper there) saying the hardware was more powerful for them, at the cost of framerate.
 

adamsapple

Or is it just one of Phil's balls in my throat?
Hey it's a little more nuanced than that I'd say. Robocop is currently the best played on PS5 (better image fidelity) and Immortals of Aveum developers actually increased image fidelity on PS5 (game is indeed quite sharper there) saying the hardware was more powerful for them, at the cost of framerate.

The cost of frame rate is pretty high though, both Robo and Immortals are 8, 10 FPS worse running on PS5 based on DF comparisons with the kind of visual differences you wouldn't even know if it wasn't for side by sides (eg road texture in Robo and a softer post process, albeit the same resolution, on Immortals).
 

Darsxx82

Member
I may be wrong but pretty much all the UE5 games released in the last year or two have a performance advantage on SX.
It certainly seems that XSX gets along well with UE5 beyond specific and curious situations. But I was referring to the trend since the end of the year in which the vast majority of console releases have had a "lucky" XSX version compared to the rest when it is supposedly the one that should have everything to lose. I think that should say a lot about its capabilities.

Personally I think Dragon Dogma 2 is going to be an interesting comparison because many circumstances are confronted at the same time and it is difficult to ensure which platform will be more or less fortunate even considering that PS5 is clearly the base development platform.
 
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SlimySnake

Flashless at the Golden Globes
Nah, I think not enough care was put into squeezing the juice out of these consoles. 1260p to 1620p in Quality Mode. Come on. Should have no issue reaching 4K/30 in a game with those visuals.

Then 1080p in Performance Mode and still drops to the 30s on the PS5.

That's just a shit job all around.

Probably Lumen just murdering performance. This would explain why in dimmer underground areas, the fps is much higher.
Thats the cost of nanite and lumen. If you want hardware based ray tracing and extremely high quality asssets, somethings gotta give.

The game's scale is small, but the engine still has to render all those expensive techniques.

I had no idea this game came out already. Thanks gaf. Will buy on Steam and report back.
 

Darsxx82

Member
Hey it's a little more nuanced than that I'd say. Robocop is currently the best played on PS5 (better image fidelity) and Immortals of Aveum developers actually increased image fidelity on PS5 (game is indeed quite sharper there) saying the hardware was more powerful for them, at the cost of framerate.

The resolution was increased in XSX as well (900p base now). The increase in resolution made the framerate worse in both, but XSX still maintains the advantage.

In Robocop the XSX version increased the resolution in quality mode since launch . What has not been solved is the texture problem on the ground in the street area.
 
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The resolution was increased in XSX as well (900p base now). The increase in resolution made the framerate worse in both, but XSX still maintains the advantage.

In Robocop the XSX version increased the resolution in quality mode. What has not been solved is the texture problem on the ground in the street area.
Sure it seems most of those UE5 games run a bit better on XSX. Interestingly none of them seem to actually use hardware RT. For instance the reflections used in Fortnite are software RT, because it's cheaper.
 

Mr Hyde

Member
I love remakes but this looks completely pointless and utterly unnecessary. I'm sticking to the original. Played it recently and it feels timeless.
 

Darsxx82

Member
Sure it seems most of those UE5 games run a bit better on XSX. Interestingly none of them seem to actually use hardware RT. For instance the reflections used in Fortnite are software RT, because it's cheaper.
Unfortunately I have the feeling that UE5 games on actual consoles using RT hardware will be reduced to an amount no larger than the fingers of one hand.... Maybe some more for PSPro.

Beyond Epic (Matrix demo) I only have hope in 3 or 4 Studios that use UE5 (The coalition, CDProjekt, Crystal Dinamics?? 🤔)
 
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SlimySnake

Flashless at the Golden Globes
The more I see of UE5 the more I hope devs avoid it like the plague

Not impressed.
To be fair, the game is running at a higher resolution than both the Matrix and the first UE5 demo in its 30 fps mode.

the graphics might not look as good but the tech behind the scenes is still very taxing and is performing as intended.

Lords of the Fallen and Robocop also run around 1440p in their 30 fps mode. 60 fps is just too much for these consoles when you are using next gen tech like lumen and nanite. UE5 is performing fine in the 30 fps modes.
 

Buggy Loop

Member


Yea I have no doubt about demos. I have doubts about devs making games with it.

How can we expect these peoples who don't bother sometimes to make a setting that changes a .hex argument to enable ultrawide to make something out of a powerful engine with heavy performance hit effects? I think this is the result we see. Robocop is almost the best UE5 example as of now which isn't a super high bar to set.
 

Elysium44

Banned
This is a good thing. It simply means the series s did not hold back the consoles. only people affected by this are the poor sods who bought the series s. hopefully they have learned their lesson going forward. you get what you pay for.

It's just a badly optimised game, it doesn't even run well on PC. Series S can run games much better looking than this, much better than this.
 
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Bojji

Gold Member
I just don’t see much of a point in having expensive solutions like Lumen and Ninite in a game with mostly static backgrounds and a static camera.

Yep, with game like that they could have baked lighting and it would look ok and perform MUCH better. But it takes time while lumen is just flipping the switch, too bad those consoles are too weak to use that lol.

Looks like ue5 feels really good on bigger GPUs and this is another game where we can see series x hardware advantage.
 
To be fair, the game is running at a higher resolution than both the Matrix and the first UE5 demo in its 30 fps mode.
Brothers moves at a snails pace, Slow camera pans, slow walking, slow everything. Whatever tech they were using just can't do it. slow,walk,crawl.
the Matrix demo had zooming around a big city. I'm a bit shocked to learn this is using that lumen and nanite stuff.
 

yamaci17

Member
i didnt play the original so that probably plays in my opinions but I personally like the way they handled cutscenes in the remake.

lumen and nanite is putting up good work here.
 

SKYF@ll

Member
In Robocop the XSX version increased the resolution in quality mode since launch . What has not been solved is the texture problem on the ground in the street area.
If you have time, could you please capture the latest images?
These are images of RoboCop before the update (quality mode).

XSX:Quality Mode(old)
robocop_roguecity-20267i3l.png

PS5:Quality Mode (old)
robocop_roguecity_202nvdsx.png
 

Darsxx82

Member
If you have time, could you please capture the latest images?
These are images of RoboCop before the update (quality mode).

XSX:Quality Mode(old)
robocop_roguecity-20267i3l.png

PS5:Quality Mode (old)
robocop_roguecity_202nvdsx.png
In XSX they have not yet fixed the texture problem in that area as of today. They have only increased the resolution in quality mode (or at least DRS). That is, you will continue to see the same thing as there but a little clearer.
 
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