List of games that are used to benchmark graphic cards. Return to Graphic Card Hierarchy Chart: NVIDIA GeForce vs AMD Radeon vs Intel GPU
Assassin’s Creed 3
Assassin’s Creed III, published in 2012, sees series protagonist Desmond Miles relive the memories of his 18th century ancestor Ratonhnhaké:ton (aka. Connor), giving you an experience many fans craved: that of an assassin in colonial America during the American Revolution. Based on a rehashed AnvilNext game engine using DirectX 11 and Havok CPU physics, Assassin’s Creed III is the most graphics-intensive member of the franchise, depicting North American landscapes in great detail.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity
The latest entry to Ubisoft’s smash-hit stealth sandbox franchise, Assassin’s Creed Unity introduces cooperative multiplayer gameplay in which up to four players can cruise through missions and explore the open-world, giving you innovating new ways to approach a mission. Spanning several settings such as the French Revolution and the Nazi occupation of France, the game springs up some stunning visual details and is one of the most resource-heavy games in the market today. Based on Ubisoft’s latest AnvilNext engine, it takes advantage of DirectX 11. The release has been plagued by loads of bugs and performance issues, making this game’s launch the most problematic one in recent history.
Batman: Arkham Origins
Predating its story-line by five years, when the caped crusader is still in his second year as Gotham’s dark knight and many of the super-villains defeated in the other Arkham titles still on the loose, the third installment to the Batman: Arkham series by Rocksteady Studios, Arkham Origins, as its name might suggest, is a prequel to even Arkham Asylum. This game’s sandbox environment fuses elements of the other two titles in the series together. Batman: Arkham Origins is a testament to the longevity and modular nature of Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 as the game maxes out its entire current feature set. It takes advantage of DirectX 11 and should tax modern GPUs nicely.
Arguably one of the most anticipated online shooters of recent times, Battlefield 3 is the latest addition to some of the most engaging online multiplayer shooter franchises. It combines infantry combat with mechanized warfare and includes transport vehicles, armored personnel carriers, main battle tanks, attack helicopters, and combat aircrafts—pretty much everything that goes into today’s battlefields. Its infantry combat is coupled with role-playing elements, which makes the experience all the more engaging. It also has a single-player campaign that adds a few gigabytes to its installer. Behind all this is a spanking new game engine by EA-DICE called Frostbite 2. It makes use of every possible feature DirectX 11 has to offer, including hardware tessellation and new lighting effects, to deliver some of the most captivating visuals gamers have ever had access to. Not playing this game on the PC is a grave injustice to what’s in store. Faster PCs are rewarded with better visuals.
The latest smash-hit in EA’s online multiplayer shooter franchise, Battlefield 4 is the crème de la crème of modern games designed with a focus on the PC platform. Its single-player campaign is like a forgettable ride at a small-town fair, but the multiplayer component greatly adds to gameplay and includes a return of the commander mode, “Levolution”, Battlescreen, and the welcome addition of naval warfare. Based on a polished Frostbite 3 engine from DICE, Battlefield 4 takes advantage of not just DirectX 11, but also DirectX 11.1 on compatible GPUs. It’s the first game to ship with 64-bit binaries by default.
An early frontrunner for 2013 “Game of the Year,” Bioshock: Infinite pulls gamers out of the depths of Rapture and into the heights of Columbia, a bustling metropolis of the early 20th century that floats in the sky, with buildings and localities that are interconnected through bridges and cable cars. The shooter is renowned amongst critics for some genuine innovation in gameplay mechanics, the proper handling of NPCs, and a story that will linger long after you’ve finished the game. Based on a retrofitted Unreal Engine 3, Bioshock Infinite takes advantage of the DirectX 11 API and should tax most GPUs moderately.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
The latest installment of Activision’s Call of Duty Series is developed by Sledgehammer Games, who, as the maker of COD:MW 3, has had experience with the series. In this scripted first-person shooter set decades into the future, private military corporations and their contractors sell world peace. You get to battle futuristic armies all over the world to uncover your employer’s plans for world domination. You get to battle drones, robots with futuristic firearms, self-guiding grenades, and gadgets straight out of a summer blockbuster. Sledgehammer claims to have built a new game engine from the ground up, with improved visuals, animation, and sound effects. The game takes advantage of DirectX 11.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is 2012’s annual dose of the franchise. Refreshingly, it places our gun-wielding protagonists in a near-future setting where military arsenal has become a little too smart for our comfort, and has fallen into the wrong hands. Black Ops 2 is a Treyarch development and does, as such, beat Infinity Ward’s productions in visual detail. It uses a new game engine that has been optimized around the capabilities of DirectX 11 hardware, which makes it stress such hardware properly.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is Techland’s latest video game in the Call of Juarez Series. You play as Silas Greaves, a bounty hunter taking credits for killing notorious western outlaws like Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy, Jesse James, and others. The game is a typical, linear first-person shooter, but offers a talent tree, fast paced action, and one-on-one duels with special game mechanics. Its competitive pricing and entertaining gameplay made the game an instant success. Techland is using the fifth version of their Chrome Engine. It has full support for DirectX 11 and advanced lighting effects. We tested using the highest details settings available.
Civilization: Beyond Earth
The Civilization Series needs no introduction as everybody knows this turn-based strategy game in which you have to ensure your people thrive while crushing enemies all the same. Civilization: Beyond Earth takes this concept into space: The colonists you sent off at the end of Civilization V have finally reached a planet and are now establishing their presence on it. Settlers from competing factions are also settling in, and there are some alien lifeforms on the planet as well. While the game doesn’t introduce any revolutionary new concepts, it’s welcome new food for lovers of the genre. Firaxis hasn’t designed a completely new engine for Civilization: Beyond Earth, but has refined the engine of Civilization V. The engine is now DirectX 11 only, with a special version for AMD Mantle available. Using the DirectX build, we tested a late-game scene at the highest details setting with almost all tiles occupied by units or buildings.
After the tremendous success of Far Cry, the German game studio Crytek released their shooter Crysis in 2007. The game was by far the most hyped and anticipated game in 2007, and forums were full of “Can my system run Crysis?” threads because of its high hardware requirements. Just like in Far Cry, the plot evolves on a small island with a thick and richly detailed jungle world. A lot of attention has been given to small details like accurate physics. When you, for example, fire on a tree trunk, it will shatter and the tree will fall over and leave a stump behind, and enemies in a car can be stopped by shooting the tire of the car. The game graphics are, even for today, top notch, yet the game still runs well on most computers.
Set decades after the events of Crysis 2, you wake up in a stasis pod to find long lost friend and squadmate “Psycho,” who explains how C.E.L.L has virtually taken over the world by monopolizing energy production in Crysis 3. The game lets you take the Crysis trilogy to its logical conclusion by putting a stop to C.E.L.L and an alien armada in a final and epic battle. Based on a refined CryEngine 3 that supports DirectX 11 out of the box, Crysis 3 is easily one of the most visually stunning games ever made. You are handsomely rewarded for having fast hardware, but mainstream GPUs aren’t left out in the lurch. At least that’s the idea.
Dead Rising 3
Dead Rising 3 takes you into a city completely overrun by zombies after a viral outbreak. You quickly team up with survivors to uncover what really happened. Hordes of zombies are in your way, and you get to take them down with anything that can shoot, is blunt or sharp, or can explode. Throughout the game, you will find blueprints to weapons you can manufacture by using commonly available parts found all over the city, which will turn you into an unstoppable zombie killing machine – or simply run zombies over with one of many available vehicles. Capcom Vancouver is using their own proprietary engine called Forge. It is optimized to handle the zombie hordes you will encounter in Dead Rising 3’s open world environment. Due to the deferred renderer, multisample Antialiasing is not available.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third addition to the franchise, follows the events of its supplementary novels Dragon Age: Asunder and The Masked Empire. This high-fantasy action-RPG offers a bigger open-world to explore than its previous games and advances the story-line from Dragon Age II. It is based on the Frostbite 3 engine from EA-DICE and gives you visually stunning environments you won’t get to see in other games running this engine. The game takes advantage of DirectX 11.1 and Mantle. We tested it in DirectX mode.
Far Cry 4
2014’s most anticipated shooter, Far Cry 4 takes us to the Himalayan country of Kyrat (based loosely on Nepal or Bhutan, with Indian influences), where our protagonist is abducted by a mysterious local warlord and turned into an errand boy. It may sound all too similar to Far Cry 3, but the game’s mountainous and snowy jungle setting is a huge departure from the tropical-island setting of its predecessor, giving you some genuinely new gameplay elements, such as vertical combat. Based on the latest version of the Dunia 2 engine, Far Cry 4 takes advantage of DirectX 11 and is extremely resource-heavy.
GRID 2 is a racing game developed by Codemasters. Featuring prominent real-world locations like Paris, Chicago, and Dubai, there is also a wide selection of cars. These range from muscle cars to luxury supercars, like the McLaren F1. In-game, you will experience a mix of arcade and simulation paired with stunning graphics and flashbacks to get you back on the road quickly. GRID 2 is the first Codemasters game that uses the new EGO 3.0 engine. It has full support for DirectX 11, Global Illumination (using DirectCompute), and other great visual effects. We played on the highest settings available. The game also includes a separate binary (which we used) with support for the AVX instruction set found on modern CPUs.
Metro: Last Light
Metro: Last Light is the sequel to Metro 2033. Published by Ukrainian game studio 4A Games, it is set in the same post-apocalyptic future as its predecessor, where mankind tries to survive in the underground of Moscow’s Metro. The story takes you through claustrophobic tunnels where you fight both humans and mutants. Each step takes you closer toward revealing a dark future and the possibility to prevent it. Just like in the last title, the 4A Engine is used. It fully supports DirectX 11, Tessellation, and PhysX. We tested at the highest details with PhysX turned off.
Ryse takes you back to the days of old Rome, during which you play a centurion who turns out to become a leader of the feared Roman Legion. During your rise of power, you fight in such remote locations as barbarian-inhabited Britain and through several richly detailed city scenarios. Using combo attacks, you can take enemies down in various bloody ways. Crytek’s latest CryEngine 4 powers this title with some of the best visuals ever encountered in a PC game. The game is 64-bit only and requires DirectX 11. Using the latest in rendering technology, CryEngine offers ultra-realistic vegetation and water rendering. It obviously supports Tessellation and high-quality real-time lighting. We tested with details set to the maximum, but without anti-aliasing, which isn’t available.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
The Lord of the Rings universe is legendary, and you get to be a part of it. Set in the time between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor takes you into an open world dominated by the struggle between the forces of good and evil. Talion, your character, is garrisoned near the Black Gate which is run over by Sauron’s orc army. Through the plot, you battle orc leaders of various ranks. Killing a high-ranked general will lead to unrest amongst his followers, and one of these followers will eventually rise to replace his dead master to avenge his death. Monolith is using the latest version of their LithTech Juper EX engine – previous iterations have been used in the F.E.A.R. Series, for example. The game uses DirectX 11 with Tessellation and such modern rendering techniques as Order Independent Transparency. We used the in-game benchmark for our performance testing.
One of the oldest and most engaging game franchises, Tomb Raider deserves to be reimagined to fully make use of the current generation of gaming hardware. The newest Tomb Raider game takes us back to the beginnings of Lara Croft, the agile and resourceful explorer we’ve grown to adore and respect. Based on a customized CrystalEngine by Crystal Dynamics, the new Tomb Raider takes advantage of DirectX 11 and DirectCompute to create not only stunning tropical environments, but also some character realism by using AMD TressFX technology. In the interest of fairness, we disabled TressFX in our testing.
Watch Dogs has been one of the most anticipated titles in 2014. In this open world, third person title, you follow a hacker who’s trying to solve the death of his niece through Chicago. You will also fight ctOS, a city wide computer network that controls almost all of the city’s technology and information, but also provides you with ways to solve mission objectives through surveillance and hacking. The game uses Ubisoft’s new Disrupt engine, which has its roots in AnvilNext (Assassin’s Creed series) and Dunia (Far Cry series). Having been released on next-gen consoles first, the game will use loads of video memory with Ultra Textures enabled, along with DirectX 11, tessellation, and advanced shader and lighting effects. We tested with the game set to Ultra, but left anti-aliasing disabled.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
The latest installment in the epic Wolfenstein series takes you to an alternate universe of the 1960s in which the Germans won World War II and are now dominating the planet with their advanced technology. Like previous games of the franchise, you play in the first person perspective, leading a lone hero fighting a counter-offensive against the Nazis. Wolfenstein: The New Order uses OpenGL and is based on the Id Tech 5 engine, which was seen in Rage. Id Tech 5 pioneered Virtual Texturing, which ensures that textures don’t get reused and are incredibly sharp – unless you take a really close look. Virtual Texturing, however, increases level file size immensely and causes texture pop-ins on lower-end systems. Another major drawback of the engine is that it is limited to 60 FPS. We tested the game with details set to Ultra and removed the 60 FPS limit.