Microsoft’s push into PC gaming continues to hit speed bumps with the Windows 10 launch of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.
The remake of Epic Games’ hit shooter from 2006 suffers from several confirmed issues at launch. As Forbes’ Jason Evangelho reports with in-depth testing and videos, the game produces unplayable framerates at high settings on AMD Radeon R9 Fury, R9 Nano, R9 Fury X, and R9 380 graphics cards, as well as image artifacting. Evangelho says he’s confirmed the issues with other tech writers, and Microsoft says the problems should be fixed “quickly in an upcoming update.” In the meantime, an official post on the Gears of War forum suggests turning off Ambient Occlusion completely on Radeon graphics cards.
Update: WCCFTech ran into the same issues in its testing, calling the game "ultimately broken on PC" in its write-up.
Users of Nvidia G-Sync monitors may also experiencing framerate issues with Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Microsoft says. These may be resolved by unlocking the frame rate in the game’s settings menu, but if not, users will just have to disable G-Sync completely for now. Laptops with discrete Nvidia graphics cards may also fail to switch over from integrated graphics when the game starts, so users must manually switch to the GPU before playing until Nvidia addresses the issue with a software update.
Some reviewers have also noted general performance issues in their time with the game. HardcoreGamer, for instance, reports worse-than-usual pop-in with environment textures, which seem to cycle from highest to lowest resolution before slowly returning back to high resolution again. Examiner, meanwhile, reports suffering from extremely muddy textures at high graphics settings. Microsoft hasn’t confirmed these problems.
Why this matters: In fairness to Microsoft (and sadly for PC gamers), these sorts of launch issues are all too common for console ports. Last fall, for instance, Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III launched with stuttering and stability problems, and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Unity became a laughingstock for its performance atrocities the year before. Warner Bros. has also released its share of PC port stinkers, including Mortal Kombat X and a version of Batman: Arkham Knight so sloppy the publisher offered full refunds.
Still, the issues facing Gears of War: Ultimate Edition mar a launch that otherwise includes a couple of milestones. This is the first major PC game launch with DirectX 12 support, and the first time Microsoft has ported one of its key franchise games as a Windows Store exclusive. (The game is not available through other PC distribution platforms such as Steam.) Combined with numerous other drawbacks inherent to Windows Store game purchases—from a lack of mods and macros to missing dual graphics card support—Microsoft isn’t making a great first impression.