Analysis of the Starfield update by Digital Foundry: a success despite the unstable 60 FPS | Xbox

Starfield yesterday welcomed a highly anticipated update for Xbox players, since it should notably allow them to enjoy 60 FPS on Xbox Series X in Bethesda’s latest game. This update was analyzed by Digital Foundry, and here is the experts’ verdict.

Two graphics modes for Starfield

There are now two graphics modes available to players. The first is a mode Graphics prioritizing graphic fidelity and blocked by default at 30 FPS, while the second is a mode Performance which aims for 60 FPS.

Overall, Digital Foundry indicates that the two graphics modes offer similar textures, but the mode Graphics features slightly more detailed terrain geometry, in addition to a slightly higher level of detail on distant objects.

The biggest difference between the two modes is the image resolution and cube mapsfound on reflective surfaces, which is higher in the mode Graphics. In this mode, the internal resolution of the image is 1440p, while the mode Performance opts for an internal resolution of 900p.

The image is then upscaled to 4K via FSR 2, with the flaws inherent to AMD’s technology. We therefore notice some artifacts and other flickers, especially in performance mode, but Digital Foundry claims that it is not too distracting.

Shadows are otherwise identical between the two modes, and Digital Foundry says the same appears to be true for crowd density.

Multiple frame rates available

In addition to offering two graphics modes, the new Starfield update offers players the ability to choose between multiple refresh rates. For those equipped with 60 Hz televisions, it is possible to choose between 30 and 60 FPS across the two graphics modes.

In the mode Performance, with the framerate set to 60 FPS, Starfield generally offers a stable frame rate, especially in interiors. Digital Foundry also points out that cities like Akila and New Atlantis are subject to significant and almost constant framerate fluctuations, with a frequency that generally oscillates between 30 and 40 FPS.

With the framerate set to 60 FPS in mode Graphicsthe game operates generally in the same way, with rather stable interiors, but even greater fluctuations in the big cities of the game due to the higher internal resolution of the image.

When the framerate is stuck at 30 FPS, the mode Graphics offers a generally stable gaming experience, as was the case when the game was released.

VRR and 40 Hz mode

If you have a 120 Hz compatible TV, you can also take advantage of a 40 Hz option by setting the refresh rate to 120 Hz in the console settings.

Overall, when the framerate is set to 40 FPS, the game struggles to maintain its framerate and fluctuations are more frequent, whether in the mode Performance as in the mode Graphics. We also benefit from an improvement in fluidity, but above all also in the responsiveness of the controller in hand compared to the 30 FPS mode at 60 Hz.

The good news is that players equipped with VRR compatible screens benefit from a smoother experience, especially when the game targets 60 FPS with a frame rate set to 120 Hz in the settings of the console. VRR in fact “erases” most of the harmful effects introduced by framerate fluctuations, such as jerks or tearing. It’s not perfect, but it’s one of the best setups currently available.

With a VRR and 120 Hz compatible screen, it is also possible to completely unlock the framerate and thus achieve an image rate oscillating between 90 and 100 FPS in certain situations, but this option is not necessarily recommended by Digital Foundry. It could also be useful if a more powerful console arrived on the market.

Stable 60 FPS “out of reach” on Xbox Series

Overall, the expert describes a “successful” update, which offers a wide range of options, but indicates that players must understand that stable 60 FPS is “out of reach” given the demands of the game:

Expectations should be measured as Starfield is a fairly demanding game for mid- and low-end CPUs, but as long as you understand that a stable 60 is out of reach, you can get a good experience with higher frame rates. students

Finally, remember that the Xbox Series S is not affected by this 60 FPS update and therefore does not have any new graphics options, which is quite disappointing for a big game from a first party Xbox studio.

Starfield is available on Xbox Series X|S and PC and further updates are already planned by Bethesda. Don’t hesitate to tell us what you think of this update, and in which mode you prefer to enjoy the game from now on.

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