Elex 2 in Technology Testing – Computerbase

Elex 2 im Test: Auch schwache Grafik kann richtig Hardware fressen

Elex 2 by Piranha Bytes and thus another spiritual descendant of Gothic has been released. Testing of the PC version shows that the technology is unfortunately no longer up to date. Not only that graphics have little to offer and cause problems, graphics cards are also in high demand (for that).

A more spiritual successor to Gothic has been released with Elex 2. The German development team Piranha Bytes wants to build on the qualities of the first part and improve on the predecessor Elex (technical test) in every way. Again there’s a huge open world that doesn’t reveal its secrets on its own, lots of fast conversations, an increasingly powerful main character, multiple factions and much more.

technology is just (too) getting old

The in-house Gnome engine, which was properly drilled for the predecessor from 2017, is also part of the party. For Part 2, though, there was clearly little more than fine tuning. Yes, the Elex 2 looks better than its predecessor, but the difference isn’t huge. Game graphics in general have evolved a lot over the past four and a half years. Accordingly, Alex 2 no longer looks good. Sometimes it’s downright ugly too.

There are big problems: Animations are harsh, faces look waxy and detail is lacking, there’s no camera motion in conversational scenes, highlights are barely there, textures are at best, and that’s not all.

One of the biggest problems can be attributed to the level of detail (LOD), as even large objects in the game are visible from anywhere, even from medium distance, while others happily And obviously change your level of detail. Furthermore, some mostly large buildings or even tall trees like to lose all detail and shape and then become more reminiscent of the original Doom than the 2022 game.

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Anti-aliasing is also not very helpful, as it just can’t handle the situation with flicker. Even in Ultra HD, the vegetation flickers just fine, and things only get worse at lower resolutions.

In addition, there is – much can already be revealed – a surprisingly low frame rate. The aging DirectX 11 renderer just seems overwhelmed by the task, whether it’s generally low frame rates or possibly massive API or drawcall limits on Radeon GPUs, so that lowering the resolution will hardly bring any performance as the GPU is UHD I am very tired too. And there is no obstacle.

Nobody demands high-end graphics from a relatively small development team like Piranha Bytes. But what worked fine for Elex in 2017 is not suitable for Elex 2 in 2022. Weaknesses can no longer be ignored.

Hopefully the developers won’t try the same engine again in Alex III without at least a massive rebuild. It seems that the peak of in-house technology has clearly been exceeded.

There are also small bright spots

But sometimes there are bright spots. The Elex 2 can look great when the sun is just right and you’re in the right area. Sometimes it makes for a better atmosphere. And some items even succeed and fit nicely into the imaginary world of the future. Unfortunately, such scenes are very rare right now.

Not surprisingly, the Elex 2 works without ray tracing and there’s no upsampling or upscaling in the form of AMD FSR or Nvidia DLSS.

Elex 2 offers a simple graphics menu on PC. There are several different options for in-game upscaling and downscaling as well. Render resolution can be changed in increments of 10 percent to between 50 and 200 percent compared to the set resolution.

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And all. There’s no FPS limiter, and the game does as well without graphic presets. You won’t find any description or sample screenshots or VRAM usage indicators of the individual options. And otherwise there is nothing exciting in the graphics menu.

Instead, there are plenty of anti-aliasing options on board. The Elex 2 offers FXAA, SMAA, TFXAA and TSMAA, but neither option is good. TSMAA is still the best option, as blur is less in this mode and flicker is prevented most effectively. “Most effective” is still a long way from “good”. In terms of performance, there are only minor differences between the four options.

Elex 2 Graphics Menu

Elex 2 Graphics Menu

Elex 2 Graphics Menu

Elex 2 Graphics Menu

Elex 2 Graphics Menu

Elex 2 Graphics Menu

Graphics options primarily affect visual range

There are no graphic presets in the Elex 2, but there are different options. They mainly affect the visual range in some form or the other. For example, if you avoid maximizing detail and instead set all options to “high,” you’ll get a simpler shadow display and at a higher distance, no shadows will be displayed.

From now on it gets complicated. If you set all options to “Medium” (“Low”, “Medium” for ambient inclusion is not available in this case), you will already have to accept a high loss in graphics quality. Even at medium visibility, many objects no longer cast shadows, some disappear altogether. The green on the trees already becomes a “mud mass” at medium distances and the same happens with some buildings. Some look just as unsightly as the tower on the right of the picture. Because no: it’s not a graphic error, it should look like this!

Elex 2 can do Doom graphics too: there are pointless graphics options

With less graphics detail it gets really fun, because then the graphics of many buildings compete with Doom. So a 1993 first-person shooter, not a 2016 reboot. It changes when you get closer to them, but that doesn’t make the situation better. In addition, more shadows are missing and some objects show almost no detail.

Simply setting all graphics menu items to “Medium”, let alone “Low” is not an option in Alex 2. Instead, it is recommended to leave the “Texture Quality” and “Object View Distance” items on “High”, otherwise the game will show ugly buildings. It hardly affects the GPU anyway; The CPU is probably mainly affected by the options.

max graphic detail

max graphic detail

single option

single option “high”

personal choice

Personal option “Medium”

single option

Single option “Low”

Potential FPS Gains Are Small

Not much performance can be achieved with the graphics options of the Elex 2. At least if the graphics card is hardware limited. In WQHD the Radeon RX 6800 XT gets only 4 percent higher FPS with all graphics options on “High” instead of “Ultra,” at least 9 percent with the GeForce RTX 3080. “Medium” option levels, which already aren’t pretty to look at, bring in another 9 percent each and “Low” each bring the other 7 percent. With Radeon, performance can be improved up to a maximum of 20 percent, with GeForce it’s 26 percent. Playable becomes playable in only a few cases.

Graphic detail level comparison – 2560 × 1440

    • single description less

    • personal details medium

    • personal details high

    • max detail

    • single description less

    • personal details medium

    • personal details high

    • max detail

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