Kena Bridge of Spirits PC Performance Analysis
Kena Bridge of Spirits is a stunning new story-driven action-adventure game that combines exploration with fast-paced combat. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, it’s time to compare it and see how it performs on the PC platform.
For this analysis of PC performance, we used an Intel i9 9900K with 16 GB of DDR4 at 3600Mhz, Radeon RX580 from AMD, RX Vega 64, RX 6900XT, GTX980Ti from NVIDIA, RTX 2080Ti and RTX 3080. We also have used Windows 10 64-bit, GeForce 472.12 and Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 21.9.2 drivers.
Ember Lab has a respectable amount of graphics settings in place for you to tweak. PC gamers can adjust the quality of motion blur, volumetric fog, textures, ambient occlusion, foliage, shadows, and post-processing effects. There are also options for the number of burps, frame rate, and screen percentage.
The game supports both DX11 and DX12. However, DX11 brings some additional stutters, so we strongly recommend that you avoid it. Truth be told, some scenes work better in DX11 than in DX12. In some early forest scenes, we could see a 10fps performance difference between DX11 and DX12. However, DX11 felt more choppy due to its extra jerks and had worse frame times.
It’s also worth noting that downsampling from a higher resolution does not currently work in full screen mode. This means that you have to follow a specific path in order to downsample from a resolution higher than your native resolution. So those who have a 1080p or 1440p monitor will need to set their desktop resolution to 4K, then launch the game, then select “Window” with 3840 × 2160. If you select “Full Screen” 3840 × 2160, the game will get stuck. in your native resolution. We could easily replicate this on NVIDIA and AMD hardware. You can also easily notice this problem by having MSI Afterburner active when changing resolution and mode.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits does not come with any built-in reference tool. And in case you’re wondering, the in-game benchmark option doesn’t show any stress tests (or anything). That’s why we decided to compare the area of the Village.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a GPU related title and at 1080p / Ultra we were bottlenecks by our GPU. So, and in order to avoid this GPU bottleneck, we lowered our resolution to 720p for our CPU benchmarks. And, even in this low resolution, there were scenes where our RTX3080 was used about 90%. Nonetheless, we wanted to see how the game scales and works across multiple CPU cores / threads.
In order to find out how the game evolves on multiple CPU threads, we simulated a dual-core processor, a quad-core and a hexa-core processor. Without Hyper Threading, our simulated dual-core system was unable to deliver a smooth gaming experience. While our average frame rate was above 60 frames per second, there was a lot of stuttering (some of which could last 2-3 seconds). Fortunately, most of that stutter was reduced when we enabled Hyper Threading. Our other systems had no issues running the game. At this point, it should be noted that the game is still suffering from some stuttering when loading new areas. This is how Ember Labs developed this game and there is no way to completely solve this problem. This isn’t a revolutionary problem, and these little stutters are also present in console versions.
As we said, Kena is a title related to GPU. To play at 1080p / Ultra, the game requires powerful GPUs. The only GPUs capable of delivering a consistent 60fps experience were the RTX2080Ti, Radeon RX 6900XT, and RTX3080. The AMD RX Vega 64 had frequent drops below 60 frames per second. In contrast, the GTX980Ti was consistently below 60fps. Finally, the AMD RX580 was able to offer a “like a console“Experience at 30 fps.
Our top three GPUs were also able to deliver a smooth 1440p / Ultra gaming experience. When it comes to 4K, the only GPU capable of delivering a consistent 60fps experience was the AMD RX 6900XT. At 4K, the RX 6900XT was 9-14% faster than the RTX3080. Likewise, the RTX3080 was 24-27% faster than the RTX2080Ti.
Fortunately, the game can scale on older GPUs by lowering its settings. At 4K / High, we were able to get a consistent 60fps experience on the RTX3080. We also saw a performance increase of 13-16% when we switched to Medium, and an additional 14-17% increase when we switched to Low. Additionally, and mainly due to its artistic style, the game looks cute even at low settings.
From a graphic point of view, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is magnificent. Ember Lab has used high-res textures for many services, and the game has an early CG feel to it. His character models are also amazing, and his lighting system is pretty awesome. Players can also interact with certain plants (only the larger ones). And while there are pop-ins, its LOD system isn’t as aggressive as what we’ve seen in other recent games.
Overall, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a mixed bag. While this isn’t one of the worst PC-optimized games we’ve seen, it’s also not one of the best. And while the game doesn’t require a high-end processor, it certainly does require a powerful GPU. And, to be fair, our biggest gripe isn’t its high GPU requirements. Yes, there is room for improvement and the game could perform better. However, his biggest problem is his stuttering issues. Like we said, they are NOT revolutionary, but they ARE boring. And, in our opinion, this is the first thing Ember Lab should tackle!