The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings PC Performance Analysis

By on May 25, 2011

CD Projekt RED’s much anticipated RPG has been here with us for a few days and it’s about time to see how The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings performs with modern-day PC’s. Before starting, let’s get one thing straight; The Witcher 2 is graphically the best PC game we’ve ever seen. At last, here is a game that beats Crysis’ graphics. Kudos to CD Projekt RED and we strongly suggest more gaming studios to follow the company’s example.

As always, we used an overclocked Q9650 (4.2Ghz) with 4GB DDR2 and a GTX295. Although Nvidia has included a SLI profile for this game, as we’ve previously stated that profile is bugged and doesn’t scale well. In order to take full advantage of our GPU, we used a custom SLI compatibility bit. This custom bit however introduces bleeding from various light sources. The game is still playable but we’d recommend SLI gamers to wait for a proper SLI profile, as Nvidia will soon address this issue. If you are impatient however, you can use the ‘0x02C04205′ bit via the Nvidia Inspector Tool.

The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings run great with custom ultra settings at 1080p. The only things we’ve disabled were the Ubersampling setting and the Cinematic DoF. With the custom SLI bit, the game stressed our GPU and both cores were being used to the fullest (98% GPU usage in both cores). As a result of that, we were GPU limited in a lot of situations. PC gamers will need a powerful GPU to max out CD Projekt RED’s RPG, especially if they want to enable the Ubersampling setting. Thankfully, the game run great and our minimum framerate was 40. We were averaging around 50fps and in case you’re wondering, the game is both CPU and GPU bound.

CD Projekt RED stated that you’ll need state-of-the-art CPU’s and GPU’s to enjoy the game to the fullest and they were right. The Witcher 2’s engine scales great with quadcores. The most CPU demanding scene is in Flotsam, when Loredo is ready to hang Dandelion and Zoltan. In that scene there are lots of NPC’s and the game becomes CPU bound. We witnessed the CPU usage and were happy with the results, as the engine scaled well. As we can see, three cores were used at around 70% and the last one was used around 50-60%. We tried to simulate a dualcore system by disabling two of our cores and we witnessed a 9fps performance hit. This clearly means that PC gamers can see some performance gains with four cores CPU’s. We’d love to see even better CPU utilization, but still. The Witcher 2’s engine is optimized for quadcores.

And how about the graphics? Are those requirements justified? Oh yes, they definitely are. The Witcher 2 looks amazing. CD Projekt RED used high resolution textures and some of them will immediately remind you of the ones used on various mods for Crysis. Characters are highly detailed and among the best we’ve ever seen. Both specular and normal maps are of high quality and the characters’ faces are photorealistic. If CD Projekt RED avoided some low-res textures in some armors and costumes and featured smoother facial expressions, we could easily be talking about CGI quality graphics. On top of that, the huge draw distance, the sun-shafts, the lovely lighting effects and the inclusion of some advanced techniques, like the Parallax Occlusion Mapping, are some of the strongest graphical features of The Witcher 2. Our only gripes are two: The inability to use any kind of AF (due to POM) and the characters’ animations and facial expressions. Let’s hope that there will be a modder that will be able to enable both POM and AF, like Xzero did for the first Crysis.

All in all, The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings performs great and looks lovely. The game is demanding but is easily justified. The game pushes the graphical boundaries and we are pleased with what CD Projekt RED managed to achieve. Crysis met his match. As simple as that. The Witcher 2 performs great and is both GPU and CPU bound. You’ll need a really powerful PC to max it out but thankfully, there are a lot of graphical options to lower if the game isn’t running smoothly for you.

So PC graphic whores, rejoice and enjoy CD Projekt RED’s latest offer. Long live Geralt, the White Wolf!

About David Scarpitta

I am a critical guy, and love to review and give my professional opinion on just about anything. Though have a love for tech/gaming and music alongside the cinema. You can catch me consulting and developing the net any day of the week.
  • R3v9191

    pretty sure Metro 2033 beat The Witcher 2 to the punch on beating Crysis graphically…