Monolith's F.E.A.R. was a no-brainer, considering it is one of the most graphically intense games ever released and is arguably the most demanding game on the market currently. F.E.A.R. uses DirectX 9 extensively in-game and will stress the card completely showing how it handles the toughest of games. One nice feature of the game is the built in performance test; I ran this as well as actual play testing to get well-rounded results.
F.E.A.R. In-Game Screenshot
First, a look at the performance test built into the game. I set up the video card (settings shown in the chart below) based on recommendations from other testers for the initial run-through.
The results from the in-game performance test were gathered at a resolution of 1024x768 and various antialiasing settings. All other settings remained constant throughout the test.
The result of the test shows a drop off in FPS as the antialiasing increases. The result is expected because the card is working harder trying to smooth out the edges of the image. One result that I was surprised to see was the minimum FPS; the number did not drop off like the average and maximum.
Next, I ran the test with maximum video and computer settings. The maximum settings are predefined in the game. I ran this test at various resolutions and 4X-Antialiasing.
As expected, the higher the resolution went, the worse the framerate got. When the game was running at 1600x1200 the video was choppy.
As with the 3DMark05 tests, these benchmarks provide a very good baseline comparison. But, I really wanted to see how the game actually played, rather than watching a pre-recorded time demo. Having heard a lot of good things about F.E.A.R., I could not wait to play the game.
The results of the in gameplay really showed the overall performance of the video card. There was a noticeable drop in FPS when moving from 0xAA to 2xAA, as well as when the resolution was increased. When playing the game in 1600x1200 resolution, the game play was slowed and at times choppy, I found it difficult to move around. I preferred the resolution at 1024x768, although the frame rate dropped moving at higher antialiasing the game was still playable and enjoyable. The overall balance of screen size and quality of image was achieved at 1024x768 – 2X Antialiasing.