Date: Monday , November 20, 2017
Need for Speed Payback was recently released on November 10th, 2017. This game was developed by Ghost Games and published by Electronic Arts. Ghost Games is an EA Studio and has developed the last two NFS titles: Need for Speed (2015) and Need for Speed Rivals (2013).
Need for Speed Payback is set in an open world environment and is focused on action driving. There are three playable characters with different sets of skills. The game does feature an offline single-player mode and new is a 24-hour day-night cycle.
Need for Speed Payback utilizes the Frostbite 3 game engine, same engine as used in Battlefield 1. Need for Speed 2015 PC version and even the 2013 Need for Speed Rivals also utilized the Frostbite 3 game engine. That said, Frostbite 3 is a modern graphics engine and is used in many other games and does look very good. The day and night cycle in the game work well and it looks very good, if lacking a little world object detail.
In the NFS series you’d have to go back to Need for Speed: The Run in 2011 to find a lesser game engine version, in that case Frostbite 2 engine. You can check out our look at Need for Speed: The Run in 2011 in our Performance and IQ article.
In terms of graphical support, we found an interesting addition that this game supports. Scouring through its data files we found an interesting DLL called "amd_ags_x64.dll." Looking up AMD AGS we discovered that this points to the fact that this game is using the AMD GPU Services (AGS) library. This library allows the game to query installed AMD GPUs software and hardware state information that is not normally exposed through standard graphics APIs.
This means AMD GPUs detected by this game are being utilized to their full software and hardware potential going beyond what DirectX API exposes. This also allows the explicit Crossfire API extension for multi-GPU. That’s just very cool.
The main graphics option lets you select full-screen or windows modes, the resolution, VSYNC, Motion Blur, and the overall graphics quality. The graphics quality option has options of: "Auto," "Low," "Medium," "High," "Ultra," and "Custom." Note that when you set "Ultra" Graphics Quality this is not the highest possible setting. There are three settings you can manually turn up higher if you select "Custom" under Graphics Quality.
This is the default "Ultra" Graphics Option setting. Note how Post Process Quality, Shadow Quality, and Vegetation Detail are still set to "High" under "Ultra" default quality setting. Those three options can manually be turned up to a higher "Ultra" setting.
Above you can now see those three settings turned up to "Ultra" representing the highest possible settings the game is capable of. We will test both "Ultra" and "Max" settings to find the performance difference in this article.
In terms of other graphics options note that Anti-Aliasing has the options of: "Off," "FXAA," and "TAA." The TAA option is the highest and best option in terms of image quality. It is a Temporal Based Shader Anti-Aliasing method.
Also note the option for Ambient Occlusion. The highest level selected when using "Ultra" settings is "AAO Full." There is also an "HBAO" option if you want to try a different form of AO. We will compare the performance between them. The higher quality is AAO Full.
Note that we have Patch 1 installed. The patch notes can be read above. You can see that there were a lot of fixes in this first patch. The game file version we are testing is 126.96.36.199432.
For our manual run-through we played a good amount into the game and got a fast car. We then opened her up in the open world driving and racing as fast as possible in areas we noticed where framerates dropped. Pay most attention to the minimum framerates, those areas were the most demanding and in a fast-paced game like this you want the minimums to stay as high as possible. It's not just the average framerate, but the minimum framerate you also want to maintain at a high level. Our run-through takes place during the day time with bright sun and direct shadows. We also did some drifting to kick up particles and crashed through plenty of world objects to stress performance as well while taking damage and we have very fast car speeds as well, in both city streets and highway.