Sons of the Forest 1.0 makes a big performance upgrade on early access, with or without FSR 3

By admin Feb27,2024

Since I’m apparently on survival game duty for the rest of my days, and we’ve just had a firm reminder of how wobbly an early access launch can be, it seems like a good time to check in on that there Sons Of The Forest 1.0 release and see whether it’s felt the effects of its own early access polishing process.

It wouldn’t call the results a mirror shine – there’s still some stuttering in this build – but yes, Sons of the Forest is clearly in a better technical state than it was when I tested it back in February last year. Digging into the average framerates, it actually runs a fair bit faster on old and new hardware alike, and those without a DLSS-supporting Nvidia RTX graphics card can now claim a further performance boost from FSR 3. Even it’s just the upscaling part – the game’s lack of DirectX 12 support means that FSR 3’s frame generation component is, in turn, sadly absent.

Ah well, native-rez performance is still up on the initial early access build. Between 11% and 18% up, judging by my GPU testing. Armed with both the still-popular RTX 3070 and the GTX 1080 Ti, which was and still is listed among Sons of the Forest’s recommend PC specs, I fired up my old benchmarking save and set about measuring what a difference twelve months makes.

RTX 3070 performance

1.0 Early access
1440p Ultra, native TAA 79fps 71fps
1440p Ultra, DLSS Quality 89fps 77fps
1440p Ultra, DLSS Balanced 91fps 81fps
1440p Ultra, FSR 3 Quality 87fps Not available
1440p Ultra, FSR 3 Balanced 86fps Not available

On the younger, brawnier RTX 3070, Sons of the Forest has clearly fashioned itself a smoothness upgrade. One that grows further when DLSS is enabled, with the best-looking Quality setting running 16% quicker than it did in the earliest of early access days. Nvidia’s upscaler remains a smidge faster than the new FSR 3, too, especially as the latter’s Balanced mode is a single, strange frame per second behind Quality.

GTX 1080 Ti performance

1.0 Early access
1080p Ultra, TAA native 79fps 67fps
1080p Medium, TAA native 90fps 74fps
1080p Ultra, FSR 1.0, Dynamic Resolution target at 100 90fps 79fps
1080p Ultra, FSR 3 Quality 89fps Not available

The recommended GPU seems to benefit even more, gaining up to 22% more of those succulent frames when dropping from Ultra quality to Medium. There’s no DLSS support here, but we can glimpse the extent to which FSR 3’s upscaling improves on the original FSR 1.0: even when performance is almost identical, it’s on settings that drastically favour FSR 3. In terms of detailing, clarity, and closeness to native rendering, FSR 3’s Quality mode simply looks better than FSR 1.0 does on any of its Dynamic Resolution target options.

The lack of built-in frame generation is a shame, though when most modern PCs can likely run Sons of the Forest 1.0 at a decent pace, additional interpolated frames likely aren’t that helpful. You could always try AMD’s Fluid Motion Frames for a basic version of the tech, if you have an AMD Radeon GPU and up-to-date drivers – and can keep in mind the results won’t be as clean as FSR 3 frame gen proper.

I suppose that since there’s also no DLSS 3 frame generation for RTX cards, their owners have a decision to make about which upscaler to use. It’s a genuinely tricky one, too. DLSS is faster and more detailed, and FSR 3 seems to make everything slightly darker for some reason, yet DLSS also has a slightly offputting, highly sharpened aspect to it. It’s especially noticeable on trees, which can appear to have glowing edges even on Quality mode, and.. y’know, it’s called Sons of the Forest. There are quite a lot of trees. Personally, I think FSR 3 squeaks it, which is something I’m so un-used to saying I might need to go for a quick lie down.

Either way, hopefully the more general performance uplift makes a nice surprise for anyone returning to Naked Cannibal Island for the 1.0 release’s more content-y additions. We’ll soon have a full review up on RPS as well.

By admin

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