Square Enix strikes again, and not in a good way. Besides pulling Final Fantasy XIV from sales due to congested game servers, their PC version of Final Fantasy 7 has multiple issues, like poor visual adjustability and stuttering. A $70 asking price seemingly doesn’t imply a well-optimized gaming title.
The PC port version of Final Fantasy 7 Remake launched last week on Epic Games Store, much to the excitement of FF7’s PC-owning fandom. By default, the game shipped with Yuffie story expansion, a newly added photo mode, and performance graphics options typical for PC releases. The port was supposed to run at a smooth framerate of 60 frames-per-second (fps), or even higher, provided the right hardware. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. According to IGN, the players have been experiencing massive drops in FPS and stuttering, especially in crowded game areas like Midgar’s slums.
The gamers quickly discovered that the port version of Final Fantasy 7 Remake has major issues, like a surprisingly bare Graphics Settings list, which offers next to nothing on options such as variable framerate, anti-aliasing, VSync, or motion blur effects. Additionally, there’s no control resolution scaling to help balance image quality and the game’s visual performance. The aforementioned frame drop and instability tend to happen over simple controls, like moving the camera, even on the most powerful gaming set-ups.
For example, Eurogamer’s Alexander Battaglia noticed these issues, even on the RTX3090 video card paired with Intel’s i9-10900k CPU, while running the game at 1080p. RTX3090 is a modern gamer’s dream and one of the most powerful graphics processing units, considering that it sports 24GB of GDDR6X RAM, which is triple the current standard of 8GB. Unfortunately, gamers with 8GB graphics cards also reported drastic frame drops, from 120fps to below 30 fps when textures settings are high, but that’s not unheard of. However, considering that most 8GB GPUs run content at 1440p, or 4K, it’s easy to conclude that the poor performance of Final Fantasy 7 Remake isn’t a hardware issue but a result of poor optimization.
Some gamers suggested that running Final Fantasy 7 Remake in DirectX 11 mode, instead of the current DirectX 12 Ultimate, fixes the stuttering issues but also disables HDR. However, disabling HDR can cause colour issues, like wrong and washed-out colour reproduction. The cause of these performance issues still isn’t known, and obviously, Square Enix still hasn’t commented or released an official statement regarding the sorry state of their Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
Despite being hailed as a potential success, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake was a major disappointment for the gaming community, and not just due to stuttering but lack of graphical adjustability as well. Admittedly, the latter can be circumvented with some coding skills, but the former still poses a problem for gamers around the world. Apparently, a $70 asking price, which is high for a PC game, isn’t enough to justify an adequately optimized game, but then again, poor optimization is the current scourge of the entire industry. Square Enix took a page from Rockstar Games’ and Electronic Art’s books: hype up the release, refill the budget and then fix the game through patches to extend its playability and life. Long live game patches.