It's not often we get an indie game with AAA system requirements, but Hellblade is just such a game. Ninja Theory suggests a GeForce GTX 770 as the minimum, indicating sky-high hardware demands to go with their own sky-high ambitions for Hellblade. We've been sent a code and have been busy putting it to the test with a GeForce GTX 1060 to see just how well optimised Hellblade for PC is.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Video Options
- Display Mode
- View Distance
- View Effects
Hellblade has a fairly rudimentary set of graphics options in truth and doesn't give PC gamers much to play with. The Quality setting just presets, leaving us with just six other graphics options. It's a little disappointing to see a number of features rolled into just a single setting called Postprocessing. This includes anti-aliasing, motion blur and chromatic aberration, all under the umbrella of one graphics setting.
There's no FOV slider, no mouse speed customisation or indeed anything related to the camera. I can confirm Hellblade does feature 21:9 ultra widescreen support though.
Hellblade benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB DDR4 (Click to Enlarge)
For our benchmarks, we tested out how Hellblade performed while using MSI's GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G, equipped with 6GB video memory. It’s backed up by 16GB DDR4 memory and an Intel Core i7-5820K CPU. The minimum requirements for Hellblade suggest a GeForce GTX 770 and an Intel Core i5-3570K, so in theory, it should be able to run Hellblade fine.
For the test we ran through an action sequence multiple times, fighting off enemies in what looked to be a demanding environment We then took an average frame rate obtained throughout the gameplay sequence. This was done at several different graphics presets (Low, Medium, High, Very High) and resolutions (1080p, 1440p, 4K).
Hellblade MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G 1080p, 1440p & 4K Benchmarks
(Click to expand)
Graphics Preset 1080p 1440p 4K Low 101 85 39 Medium 78 60 28 High 67 45 23 Ultra 59 37 17
Overall, performance in Hellblade is pretty decent. It runs on Unreal Engine 4, for what it's worth, and through the testing and during an hour or so of gameplay, we didn't run into any performance hiccups. It's quite a slow-paced game which works in its favour in this regard. Senua trudges about the environment, providing ample time for the GPU to work its magic. There's a fine level of detail of detail on offer though and some fantastic environmental effects, including swirling fog and light beams dimly jutting through the tree leaves.
For GeForce GTX 1060 owners, Hellblade runs perfectly at 1080p / Ultra, with an almost rock solid 60 frames per second. For additional peace of mind, you may be better off dropping down to High though, delivering a slightly more stable experience without having any major impact on visual quality.
Those looking at playing Hellblade above 1080p with a GTX 1060 are going to have to make some sacrifices though. Once you begin to get down to Medium or Low graphics presets, Hellblade begins to look a fair bit worse, as we saw in our Hellblade Low vs Ultra graphics comparison. 4K is effectively a no-go unless you're happy at Low, but at 1440p I'd have to recommend a locked 30fps at Ultra for the best experience. Hellblade moves slow enough that the lower frame rate didn't bother me too much and it was still a perfectly playable action game.
For the most part frame rates are higher in gameplay than during cutscenes, where Hellblade is liable to make the occasional dip. It's nothing too jarring for the most part, but on 1080p Very High for example it would drop down to 50 frames per second momentarily, before rising up to 60-65 during normal gameplay.
Next up we'll have a Hellblade graphics performance breakdown, detailing the various graphics options in Hellblade and identifying just how much of a performance hit enabling them can be.