The new Saints Row launches tomorrow and so far the reviews are decidedly mixed. While much of the criticism is leveled at the game’s writing and design, the folks at Digital Foundry also take issue with the game’s tech on next-gen consoles. While Saints Row offers an unusual number of visual modes on Xbox Series X and PS5, it seems almost none of them perform very well, and the Xbox Series S version of the game is particularly disappointing. You can check out Digital Foundry’s full overview below, provided you have around 20 minutes to spare.
As mentioned, Saints Row offers a surprisingly extensive array of visual modes on Xbox Series X and PS5 – five in total, with the option to turn ray-traced ambient occlusion on or off in two of them (essentially boosting the number of modes to seven). Here are your options…
- 1080p Max Framerate
- 1080p Ultra Quality (with RTAO on or off)
- 1440p High Framerate
- 1440p High Quality (with RTAO on or off)
- 2160p 4K
The resolution and settings for each mode are the same across Xbox Series X and PS5 and target 60fps. In an odd move, there isn’t any sort of dynamic resolution in play, with each mode offering exactly what’s promised on the tin – a locked, native 1080p, 1440p, or 4K image. Unfortunately, the game's performance is all over the place as a result.
For the 1080p modes, Max Framerate usually sticks the 60fps landing, although it can drop to the mid-to-low 50s during certain sections. 1080p Ultra Quality drops to the low 50s more frequently, while switching on ray tracing will drop you into the 40s – not a great result for a game running at only 1080p. For the 1440p modes, High Framerate drops into the low-to-mid 50s can happen, while 1440p High Quality can drop into the 40s or high-30s with RTAO turned on. Finally, 4K mode can drop you all way down into the 20s and requires some pretty hefty sacrifices in terms of draw distance, shadow quality, and geometry. Interestingly, while the Xbox Series X and PS5 are generally neck-and-neck with RTAO off, the PS5 performs around 5 frames better on average with it turned on.
On the subject of the Xbox Series S, as we’re increasingly seeing from multiple devs, it seems Volition did the bare minimum for the budget console. You only get one visual mode, the equivalent of the XSX/PS5 1080p Max Framerate mode, except there are additional clawbacks in terms of visual quality and the game can drop into the 30fps range. So yeah, sorry S owners, you get the short end again.
Saints Row launches on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, and Stadia tomorrow (August 23).