Risen, Piranha Bytes‘ new RPG, is demanding for CPU as well as graphics cards. PC Games Hardware puts 12 graphics card to the acid test - including the Radeon HD 5870.
In Risen, the new role playing game of the Gothic makers at Piranha Bytes, you will again play a nameless character - this time you are shipwrecked. On the island of Faranga you will take sides with the inquisition or the rebels.
Risen: Engine details
The setting of Risen is based upon the almost completely new developed DirectX 9 engine which is visually similar to the Genome Engine used in Gothic 3. Render techniques like improved Depth of Field, Screen Space Ambient Occlusion, Cascade Shadow Mapping plus Soft Shadows as well as FP16 HDR Rendering including adaptive Tone Mapping and new water shaders definitely put the graphics beyond Gothic 3 level. Among other things HDR is one reason why Risen did not get official support for Anti-aliasing either.
Risen: 2-3 cores of a Quadcore are used. [Source: view picture gallery]
For the new developed Seamless World Streaming system a single Thread or ideally a single CPU core is responsible - during streaming the framerate drops for a short time only instead of heavy stuttering like in Gothic 3. According to the task manager Risen indeed uses the capacity of two cores most of the time. Sometimes even three during streaming. Nvidia's Physx Engine plays a role as well. It is used again but in the CPU instead of the GPU version. Risen: Benchmark sequence for tests
For our practice test we use a savegame close to the rebel base for finding out which graphics card is the best for Risen. At night a thunderstorm with heavy rain and lightning is going on, a blazing torch provides little light within the valley which is covered by ground fog - due to dynamic day and night as well as weather changes you will experience such situations all the time. The following 35 seconds video shows the graphically demanding benchmark sequence.
Risen: Test results and conclusion
Which card is the best for Risen? It's definitely the brand-new Radeon HD 5870. The predecessor HD 4890 is constantly beaten by 76 percent, Nvidia's fastest single GPU card GTX 285 leaves the DX11 Radeon behind with 56-58 percent. The Geforce GTX 285 is hardly faster than the GTX 275 - the latter is slightly better than the Radeon HD 4890. The GTX 260-216 is about 10 percent faster than the Radeon HD 4870/1G; more than 512 MiByte VRAM are not necessary for 1920 x 1200.
Provided that you play with the maximum of 1680 x 1050 pixels and 16:1 AF a HD 4770 or 8800 GT are sufficient, with some minor flaws even a 9600 GT or HD 3870. However, for playing in 1920 x 1200 and 16:1 AF you should have a GTX 260-216 or Radeon HD 4870. Update October 1, 2009:
The Radeon HD 5850 as well is doing excellent and puts the Geforce GTX 285 in its place. Depending on resolution the "small” DX11 card is between 27 and 35 percent ahead of Nvidia's fastest single GPU model.
Risen will be released on October 2, 2009 in a standard and a collector's edition. More interesting articles about Risen:
• Risen: Release on October 2 - Update: Making of Video
• Risen: Deep Silver upgrades the standard and Collector's Edition
• Risen: Screenshots, technical details and performance evaluation