Whenever a new game comes out, obviously I want to play it at the best settings on my 4K monitor using the best hardware within reach. Soon after this need for excess is sated though, I'll consider the other end of the gaming spectrum—our $400 gaming PC (opens in new tab) that doesn't even have a discrete graphics card.
A good PC game will look awesome on the most extreme of hardware, but a great game will be able to scale the settings back enough to run on far more affordable hardware, while still essentially offering up the same gaming experience.
Resident Evil Village (opens in new tab) is a pretty great game in that respect.
RE8 can look awesome with all the settings turned up and ray tracing turned on. There's plenty of settings to fiddle with, and the performance is healthy even on more moderate hardware, as Jacob found in our Resident Evil Village performance analysis (opens in new tab). If you've got reasonably up to date hardware, then you're in for a pretty scary treat.
What about on our $400 gaming PC? Well, the good news is that you can play it, at decent framerates as well, although in order to do that you're going to have to fight with Resi's slightly odd settings interface to drop the resolution down to 720p first. I say strange because each time you select a new resolution, it switches to it and then pops up a confirmation box—so it can take a while to dial things back down to 720p, given that it'll probably start at 1080p.
You can play at 1080p if you wish, and as far as settings are concerned, it's simply a case of hitting the Presets button and then selecting either the Prioritize performance or Balanced to enjoy the experience. Balanced does improve the visuals a bit, although I found it a bit unresponsive at 1080p on the Ryzen 5 3400G, with an average of 24fps and a 0.1% low of 20fps. If you're dead set on gaming at 1080p, then performance is the way to go, as you'll hit 34fps on average, with 0.1% lows of 27fps.
|Prioritize Performance||Avg (fps)||Min (fps, 0.1% lows)|
Resident Evil Village isn't a competitive shooter, and for the most part, those kind of framerates are fine for exploring the beautiful environments the game offers up. It can be a touch sluggish in combat though, which is why 720p is probably a better bet. Using Prioritize performance you're looking at 54fps on average, with lows down at 43fps. It feels much smoother and you can actually react and fight properly, as opposed to trying to guess where the monsters are going to be. Balanced drops the framerate down a bit, and the visual improvement isn't quite so obvious, so I'd stick with performance here.
In case you are wondering, our $400 setup can't really handle the Prioritized graphics or Max settings at either 720p or 1080p due to a lack of memory. Because the 3400G shares the system memory with the graphics core, you can quickly butt up against the machine's 8GB limit. When you do run out of memory, RE8 has a tendency to simply freeze. If this happens to you, then Ctrl + Alt + Del is your friend and will allow you to resurrect your machine so that you can change the settings and continue on your way.
So there you have it, Resident Evil Village runs a little shy of 60fps on our $400 PC at 720p at the Prioritized performance settings. And it still looks pretty good at the same time. Yeah it's not pretty as it can look—and no, there's no support for ray tracing at this price point—but it's still a decent experience and a really pretty decent game.