Immortals of Aveum pushes Unreal Engine 5 hard – and image quality suffers

Immortals of Aveum pushes Unreal Engine 5 hard - and image quality suffers

After five years of development, Immortals of Aveum has landed, with the distinction of being the first non-Epic game to ship on Unreal Engine 5 using all of its next generation features. There’s Nanite micro-geometry and ray-traced Lumen lighting, along with virtual shadow maps. Not only that, the developers are aiming for 60 frames per second exclusively, meaning there’s no 30fps fidelity option. Some might say that developer Ascendant has made a rod for its own back here, bearing in mind that UE5 is still a nascent technology, so can the game deliver on its promise? Does image quality hold up? Does it sustain 60 frames per second – and what about Xbox Series S?

Immortals of Aveum has plenty of visual high points. We have the vast backdrops of its tutorial – a sweeping mountain range lit in real-time thanks to Lumen. We get the opening city of Lucium, a geometrically complex sprawl of houses, markets, bridges, windmills, NPCs. You name it, the details stack up and up. And it’s here that UE5’s Nanite helps in rendering the entire city in real-time, while keeping the frame-rate target at 60fps. Beyond this, each later chapter presents almost as a self-contained showcase for Unreal Engine 5’s features. From the siege at the city gates – filling the horizon with particle effects – to a ruins area replete with trees and waterfalls, there’s a great sense of variety across the board.

All of which brings us to Immortal’s first – and most obvious – drawback: image quality. Despite UE5 realising the team’s often eye-catching art direction, the game isn’t always flattered by its scaling method. PS5 and Series X target 4K using AMD’s FSR 2.1 temporal upscaling. The base resolution this is scaling from though is a much lower figure – at 1280×720 on each. Every shot tested so far comes in at 720p – on camera cuts in cinematics, or at the screen’s edges in gameplay. This points to FSR 2’s ultra performance mode being used, or in other words, 33 per cent scale of the target 4K output. And honestly in still frames – static shots – it does look better than that number might suggest, resolving nicely as the information from prior frames stacks up to generate a convincing-looking final resolve.

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