Gears Tactics PC Review: VRS, Performance, Engine Analysis + More


Dec 12, 2018
A PC real-time strategy game with triple-A production values and brand new DirectX 12 features? Gears Tactics delivers and Alex Battaglia has the full tech review. Oh, and a max 20 per cent performance increase from variable rate shading? We've got the full lowdown.

  • cutscenes run in realtime and at whatever your hardware can handle
  • high quality everything in-game
  • based on the same UE4 build made for Gears 5
  • uses planar reflections since the camera is always top down; screen space reflections typically break in these situations
  • first DX12 game to use variable rate shading (Wolfenstein had it before)
  • max settings with VRS off to on increases performance by 13%
  • off to performance setting increases by 21%
  • VRS is more aggressive here than in Wolfenstein
  • surfaces in direct sunlight and has internal surface variation has a noticeable degraded quality, more in performance mode
  • dynamic resolution scaling scales the WHOLE image, VRS scales PARTS of the image while maintaining native overall resolution
  • UI elements are aliased with VRS, but not with DRS (but are blurrier)
  • planar reflections are full resolution with VRS and are sharper, DRS has a soft, filtered look
  • can combine DRS and VRS but you'll get the worst of both worlds (but better performance)
  • Alex prefers DRS over VRS due to the screen not being as dynamic as a first person shooter or racing game
  • could use a VRS setting below "on"
  • "how many graphics settings you want?" "yes"
  • better benchmark than Gears 5 (is such a thing even possible?), has a frame graph during the bench
  • Alex's settings recommendations are similar to Gears 5
  • DRS on, no insane settings (not called insane now), planar reflections off, glossy reflections off, SSR at high, shadows to high, AO to high
  • planar reflections off boost perf by 17%
  • glossy reflection off boost perf by 11%
  • SSR from ultra to high boost perf by 3%
  • Ultra shadows are 4096^2, high is 1/4 the size, 9% diff
  • AO at high boost perf by 5%
  • optimized settings boost perf by 70% in worst case situations
  • 8GB vram or less, blanket high texture settings to avoid stutter
  • Ultra to High textures saves 2GB+ of vram
  • optimized settings at 1440p on midrange systems (RX580/GTX1060) nets AMD with a 7% lead, both dips below 60fps in cutscene
  • 580 loses to 1060 in gameplay
  • benchmark has AI, runs slightly different each time
  • using DRS, 1060 would have higher res in gameplay
  • Alex likes the game (he's a fan of RTS)