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The Medium pushes PC hard – and even 1080p60 is off the table for high-end rigs

After spending some time with The Medium on Xbox Series consoles, we were eager to try out the game on PC. It’s an impressive title that at once pays homage to the survival horror titles of years gone by, while at the same time delivering some impressive – and technologically ambitious – new features. Bloober’s dual viewport rendering concept clearly presents a huge challenge to the graphics capabilities of Microsoft’s next-gen consoles, with even the mighty Series X employing dynamic resolution scaling that could see the title dip beneath a native 1080p – so how does the PC version deal with this and what are the extra features delivered to those with more powerful hardware? And to address the point raised by many PC users who’ve played the game – is it really ‘unoptimised’? And if performance is poor, can Nvidia’s remarkable DLSS AI upscaling technology turn it around?

In point of fact, Bloober employs both DXR-based hardware-accelerated ray tracing in The Medium and Nvidia DLSS comes along for the ride, principally in off-setting the additional cost in utilising RT features. But DLSS also improves upon native resolution image quality. In fact, in scenes we tested comparing Xbox Series X running at a higher native pixel-count to DLSS on PC, Nvidia’s AI upscaling managed to deliver palpably cleaner results. As an interesting side-not, The Medium is based on Unreal Engine 4, and so therefore it’s using its own temporal-based upscaling solution. It’s one of the best around, but DLSS is still delivering a significantly improved image, even in its performance mode, where a 4K image is reconstructed from native 1080p resolution.

After image quality, there’s the implementation of RT reflections, where Xbox renders these at a quarter of the current native resolution (remember that The Medium uses dynamic resolution scaling, with a very wide 900p to 2160p range). If there’s one criticism I have of the RT features on PC, it’s that there’s very little granularity in the settings – so reflections always render out at full resolution: a hefty 4x increase in resolution. Bloober also uses a console-specific form of RT reflections by biasing reflections to be more mirror-like, making them cheaper to render. This feature can be enabled on PC, it is a part of UE4, but you’ll need to use Unreal Engine Console Unlocker to access it. These are features available, easily tweakable, but I feel that the graphics menu option should open up these settings to the end user.

Read more

After spending some time with The Medium on Xbox Series consoles, we were eager to try out the game on PC. It’s an impressive title that at once pays homage to the survival horror titles of years gone by, while at the same time delivering some impressive – and technologically ambitious – new features. Bloober’s dual viewport rendering concept clearly presents a huge challenge to the graphics capabilities of Microsoft’s next-gen consoles, with even the mighty Series X employing dynamic resolution scaling that could see the title dip beneath a native 1080p – so how does the PC version deal with this and what are the extra features delivered to those with more powerful hardware? And to address the point raised by many PC users who’ve played the game – is it really ‘unoptimised’? And if performance is poor, can Nvidia’s remarkable DLSS AI upscaling technology turn it around?

In point of fact, Bloober employs both DXR-based hardware-accelerated ray tracing in The Medium and Nvidia DLSS comes along for the ride, principally in off-setting the additional cost in utilising RT features. But DLSS also improves upon native resolution image quality. In fact, in scenes we tested comparing Xbox Series X running at a higher native pixel-count to DLSS on PC, Nvidia’s AI upscaling managed to deliver palpably cleaner results. As an interesting side-not, The Medium is based on Unreal Engine 4, and so therefore it’s using its own temporal-based upscaling solution. It’s one of the best around, but DLSS is still delivering a significantly improved image, even in its performance mode, where a 4K image is reconstructed from native 1080p resolution.

After image quality, there’s the implementation of RT reflections, where Xbox renders these at a quarter of the current native resolution (remember that The Medium uses dynamic resolution scaling, with a very wide 900p to 2160p range). If there’s one criticism I have of the RT features on PC, it’s that there’s very little granularity in the settings – so reflections always render out at full resolution: a hefty 4x increase in resolution. Bloober also uses a console-specific form of RT reflections by biasing reflections to be more mirror-like, making them cheaper to render. This feature can be enabled on PC, it is a part of UE4, but you’ll need to use Unreal Engine Console Unlocker to access it. These are features available, easily tweakable, but I feel that the graphics menu option should open up these settings to the end user.

Read more

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