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Digital Foundry’s Kena: Bridge of Spirits Tech Review

NahaNago

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ND made a 30 hour game in a little under 3 years. They couldve easily churned it out in 2 years if they had stuck to a 15 hour campaign like the original TLOU. The 8 hour Lost Legacy was made in a little over a year.

It's all about scope at the moment.
I think part of the issue is folks aren't willing to really pay 60 to 70 for a 15 hour game these days even if it is AAA for the most part. You can get away with it sometimes if the game is exclusive or through nostalgia.
 

Arioco

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Whats with all the UE4 games on PS5 having such low resolutions


Which games are you thinking about? Could you give a few examples?

Crash It's About Time is native 4K (lowest 1944p).

Guilty Gear Strive is native 4K.

Days Gone is 4k CB.

Sackboy is around 1800p..

Final Fantasy VII Remake is around 1512p at 60 fps and around 4K at 30 fps.

Godfall is around 1440p at 60 fps and 4K at 30 fps.


There are a lot of games using UE4 on PS5 with very different results in resolution.
 
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Fake

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They can, but dont forget that nx does it part time. Df has a whole team with tried and tested methods. If Was a betting man I would put my money on DF being correct.

And? The only thing I seeing are that DF are less likely to make error, but don't mean they can't. I've following Df for a long time and they're already apology for a loads of mistakes.
 
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Fake

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Hopefully NXGamer NXGamer will do another video with a PC comparison. Whatever DF are saying about how great the PC version is, There are people with big PC builds (like 2080ti OC + CPU 5ghz) who prefer playing on PS5 because the game stutters too much on their PC.

Well, DF say 'OK' to Deathloop, but PC users are not quite happy with that game to be honest. Sometimes they get soft to a game, others they kick like a animal.
 

Sosokrates

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And? The only thing I seeing are that DF are less likely to make error, but don't mean they can't. I've following Df for a long time and they're already apology for a loads of mistakes.

Ok, so you think NX gamer is correct and I think DF are. This conversation is not going to go anywhere, so lets end it.....
 

Bodomism

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Did the game get downgraded graphically? I was playing in ultra setting on my PC but it unable to recreate the initial trailer graphics in this specific area.




 
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Imtjnotu

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Did the game get downgraded graphically? I was playing in ultra setting on my PC but it unable to recreate the initial trailer graphics in this specific area.




Damn what a difference. I changed the Gamma to get the contrast to match the initial gameplay but the density is way way lower. My guess is the ps4 is limiting both ps5 and PC with such a small team
 

Fredrik

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Wierd decision to make the cutscenes run at 24fps, I hope they change that. Its always a bit jarring when it switches from 30 to 60fps and this will be even worse.
Yeah it’s odd. Iirc the team comes from the movie industry so it might be an oversight from doing movie scenes where 24fps is normal.
 
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Black_Stride

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And? The only thing I seeing are that DF are less likely to make error, but don't mean they can't. I've following Df for a long time and they're already apology for a loads of mistakes.
Alex has the receipts.
He posted screenshots he captured from the game and the pixel count was lower than 1800p....NXG said that was the lower bound.
Not saying DF cant make mistakes but in this case Alex has the evidence to back it up.

NXG could show us the village section or something showing how his console has such high resolutions in performance mode.
I mean its not that big a deal really if the game looks good it looks good.

Could be gameplay variation as well.
If you stand still for a few frames TAAU will resolve to a higher resolution(i doubt NXG would make that mistake).....that wouldnt represent gameplay resolution.
What people "care" about is what the resolution is when you are actually playing right? Otherwise just pixel count photomode.
In motion the game isnt going as high as NXG claims it is or Alex has a broken PS5 thats showing way lower resolutions than it should.
Alex found resolutions lower than 1800p in the first 5 minutes of the game....the part that every PS5 player will go through....so we cant really blame it on gameplay variation.

Did the game get downgraded graphically? I was playing in ultra setting on my PC but it unable to recreate the initial trailer graphics in this specific area.



Motion blur + Contrast + Anti-Aliasing seems to be the only differences.

Beyond that I dont think its a downgrade.
You could inject some contrast with Reshade and downsample from a higher resolution if you have the GPU budget.
 

Bodomism

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Damn what a difference. I changed the Gamma to get the contrast to match the initial gameplay but the density is way way lower. My guess is the ps4 is limiting both ps5 and PC with such a small team
I'm waiting for PC mod community to match the initial reveal trailer graphics.
 

Bodomism

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Motion blur + Contrast + Anti-Aliasing seems to be the only differences.

Beyond that I dont think its a downgrade.
You could inject some contrast with Reshade and downsample from a higher resolution if you have the GPU budget.
The details and geometries of the initial trailer are at much higher level. Just take a look at the tree there.


 

Kuranghi

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Anyone know if I enable TAAU in the ini will that override the TAA or do I need to disable that in the ini too? It does look good vs. the shitty regular scaling but tbh I don't know if I need it. I couldn't get it to run locked 60 outside of 1080p and that looks like shit even with the nice TAA, I'm not sure it will be worth doing TAAU on 1080p just to get 60fps because its so laggy anyway.

This game has some annoying issues:

* The loading stuttering outside of DX11, where 12 fixes it you take a big performance penalty in doing it
* The animation input lag is atrocious and really make it feel sluggish even at 60fps, it just feels bad to play, you can confirm this by playing with v-sync off and its still like molasses.
* I don't know how people are getting usable frametimes outside of capping with external tools, the game was unplayabley stuttery even with the in-game fps cap engaged, its awful.
* Massive delta in GPU usage depending on the scene, its ridiculous you need to drop to 1080p to maintain 60fps (on a GTX 1080) when its running at locked 60fps in 1440p in many areas. Even 1800p is fine in many. You shouldn't just need a 2080 ti or a 3070+ to run a game at a locked 60 at 1440p and thats with the stupidly hoggy shadows and volumetrics turned down.
* Highly oversharpened by default and requires an ini tweak to fix/remove

Its their first game so I won't hold that against them but its still disappointing. The overall graphics of the game look disappointing even at 1440p, it needs that high pixel count to shine (Like The Pathless) and I'm assuming thats why they force a value of 3 for sharpening by default on PC.

More complaining edit - the game had even worse fucking input lag until I forced exclusive fullscreen like am illion differernt ways (in-game, ini edit, having to force it via 2x alt-enters after alt-tabbing), I presume because it was using triple buffering from the desktop before that. *folds arms*:

Family Time Reaction GIF by Lifetime
 
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Md Ray

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I looked up a few ue4 games and a few not ue4 games and they all had a 5700xt bench +/- a couple % of a 2070.
I meant generally the UE4 code path favors NVIDIA more so than AMD. Though games like Gears 4, 5 run well on both AMD and NV because of the use of console branch in those titles.
 
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yurinka

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As I said, the game credits mention hundreds of people. In AAA games the lead studio (what is shown in this slide) only adds a small % of the people who works in a game. Other outsourced studios handle a lot of art and animation, and typically people from outside this studio (sometimes handled by the publisher) also works on the music, voiceover or mockup, localization, QA, marketing, PR, CM & CS, legal, sales, publishing stuff and so on.

As an example, recent Sony AAA games have in the lead studio of these games a handful hundred people (and not all of them work in this game), but in their game credits mention over 1500 or even over 2000 people.
 
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Flabagast

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It is still mind-blowing that this was made by 14 people and it's their first game.
LOL WTF 14 people ? More like 200 to 300, I mean just watch the credits


14 people is the size of the core animation team only. I really don't know why people are so ready to believe any marketing lie that is thrown at them. The business model of Ember Labs is smart and simple, a small internal team of senior designers that massively outsources the production of the game to dozen and dozen of subcontractors while keeping all the merit to themselves.
 
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Arioco

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So true.
It's mind boggling how these studios spend so much time and effort making detailed textures, just to ruin it all with low quality texture filtering.
16X AF consumes a bit of resources, but it's well worth having.


But it also consumes bandwidth, and unfortunately sometimes devs can't afford that, especially on bandwidth-constrained systems such as consoles. It would require other sacrifices that devs might think aren't worth it, like a lower general rez. 🤷‍♂️
 

Md Ray

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* Massive delta in GPU usage depending on the scene, its ridiculous you need to drop to 1080p to maintain 60fps (on a GTX 1080) when its running at locked 60fps in 1440p in many areas. Even 1800p is fine in many. You shouldn't just need a 2080 ti or a 3070+ to run a game at a locked 60 at 1440p and thats with the stupidly hoggy shadows and volumetrics turned down.
Yeah, the game is likely designed with dynamic resolution in mind hence such a massive delta in GPU usage depending on the scene.

Unfortunately, dynamic res is non-functioning/missing from the PC version even though it shows up in the ini file. Many lower-end AMD/NV cards have really benefitted from it if only it'd been implemented, the lack of DLSS is also a bummer when it's easily accessible to devs as a UE4 plugin.
 
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M1chl

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LOL WTF 14 people ? More like 200 to 300, I mean just watch the credits


14 people is the size of the core animation team only. I really don't know why people are so ready to believe any marketing lie that is thrown at them. The business model of Ember Labs is smart and simple, a small internal team of senior designers that massively outsources the production of the game to dozen and dozen of subcontractors while keeping all the merit to themselves.
People are truly delusional, it was same situation with Ascent...
 

winjer

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But it also consumes bandwidth, and unfortunately sometimes devs can't afford that, especially on bandwidth-constrained systems such as consoles. It would require other sacrifices that devs might think aren't worth it, like a lower general rez. 🤷‍♂️

But it's a small amount of bandwidth.
I've been using 16X AF for over a decade, and it's impact is small.
There's no reason to sacrifice AF 16X.
 
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Flabagast

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People are truly delusional, it was same situation with Ascent...
Yep exactly, it is like I told you that The Witcher 3 was made by 20 people only because there were only 20 "Lead something Designer" working on the game, it does not make any sense and blows my mind that people are falling for this.
 
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YCoCg

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But it also consumes bandwidth, and unfortunately sometimes devs can't afford that, especially on bandwidth-constrained systems such as consoles. It would require other sacrifices that devs might think aren't worth it, like a lower general rez. 🤷‍♂️
Why not start WITH 16xAF then and work from there? It's such a huge benefit to overall image quality, especially textures and art assets and it's just maddening how since the PS3 days we've been told "If things were more powerful, then we'd use 16xAF" and now here we are pushing 4k with near CGI levels of quality and still stuck on 4xAF if we're lucky.
 

Arioco

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Why not start WITH 16xAF then and work from there? It's such a huge benefit to overall image quality, especially textures and art assets and it's just maddening how since the PS3 days we've been told "If things were more powerful, then we'd use 16xAF" and now here we are pushing 4k with near CGI levels of quality and still stuck on 4xAF if we're lucky.


You answered your own question. Because we are pushing 4K. Every generation we get more bandwidth, but resolution increases a lot, which requires more bandwidth.

Look at PS5. Many times, and this Kena is an example, PS5 is pushing 4 times the pixels of the PS4 version. Sometimes the difference is even bigger, having to push native 4K while PS4 is sub 900p (Guilty Gear Strive for instance). Unfortunately PS5 does not have x4 the bandwidth of PS4. So yes, that could become a problem if devs aren't careful.
 

Elrond

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I'm curious to see how the PS4 version runs on a PS5, but I suppose that is pointless if it is locked at 30fps. It's also a bummer that they skipped the base PS4.
 

winjer

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You answered your own question. Because we are pushing 4K. Every generation we get more bandwidth, but resolution increases a lot, which requires more bandwidth.

Look at PS5. Many times, and this Kena is an example, PS5 is pushing 4 times the pixels of the PS4 version. Sometimes the difference is even bigger, having to push native 4K while PS4 is sub 900p (Guilty Gear Strive for instance). Unfortunately PS5 does not have x4 the bandwidth of PS4. So yes, that could become a problem if devs aren't careful.

AF doesn't use much memory bandwidth.
Consoles don't use 4K, except some simpler games.
RDNA2, uses a tile based renderer, that saves a lot of memory access. Something that GCN didn't use.
Sacrificing 5% resolution is well worth getting AF 16X.
The improvement in image quality with AF16X is much bigger than a bit of resolution.
 
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Fake

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Ok, so you think NX gamer is correct and I think DF are.

Never said that. Is you here saying NXGamer are wrong. I said DF have their share too.

I not a type of guy that accuse someone.
Alex has the receipts.
He posted screenshots he captured from the game and the pixel count was lower than 1800p....NXG said that was the lower bound.
Not saying DF cant make mistakes but in this case Alex has the evidence to back it up.

NXG could show us the village section or something showing how his console has such high resolutions in performance mode.
I mean its not that big a deal really if the game looks good it looks good.

Thats not my point. Re-read my post dude. And no, I not usually read resetera for Alex 'backup' story because he normally use Twitter/Resetera to backup everytime he make a mistake or two. If he do is because people there demands. Think about that.

They both can make mistakes sometimes. Thats not hard to understand.
 
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Fredrik

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Yep exactly, it is like I told you that The Witcher 3 was made by 20 people only because there were only 20 "Lead something Designer" working on the game, it does not make any sense and blows my mind that people are falling for this.
Outsourcing music, QA, localization, cinematography is common. Big studios does that too so it’s still impressive that the game is made by a small team compared to having access to 1000 people in house and still outsource stuff.
 

Black_Stride

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Thats not my point. Re-read my post dude. And no, I not usually read resetera for Alex 'backup' story because he normally use Twitter/Resetera to backup everytime he make a mistake or two. If he do is because people there demands. Think about that.

They both can make mistakes sometimes. Thats not hard to understand.

Wait what?
I read your post....i read the whole post train.
Sosokrates Sosokrates said NXG likely made a mistake and you pointed out that DF can and have also made mistakes.

Im not disputing that they can make mistakes....i said so in the very post you quoted.
I was pointing out that in this case....this one specifically there are screenshots showing a resolution lower than 1800p in PS5 Performance mode.

You dont have to go to twitter or resetera to see his backup.
Just actually read the article and use the comparison tool?
Youtube videos arent the best way to convey resolution differences due to compression and unless you subscribe to their patreon to get uncompressed video the website is the best way to see what they are talking about.


When you look at the PS5 performance mode screenshots vs the quality vs PC with TAAU mode screenshots even an untrained pixel counter will see that those are well below 1800p
 
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Flabagast

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Outsourcing music, QA, localization, cinematography is common. Big studios does that too so it’s still impressive that the game is made by a small team compared to having access to 1000 people in house and still outsource stuff.
Nope it is not the same thing because for Kena they outsourced much much more than a normal studio normaly does.
 

kizito

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Hopefully NXGamer NXGamer will do another video with a PC comparison. Whatever DF are saying about how great the PC version is, There are people with big PC builds (like 2080ti OC + CPU 5ghz) who prefer playing on PS5 because the game stutters too much on their PC.

Wait what?
I read your post....i read the whole post train.
Sosokrates Sosokrates said NXG likely made a mistake and you pointed out that DF can and have also made mistakes.

Im not disputing that they can make mistakes....i said so in the very post you quoted.
I was pointing out that in this case....this one specifically there are screenshots showing a resolution lower than 1800p in PS5 Performance mode.

You dont have to go to twitter or resetera to see his backup.
Just actually read the article and use the comparison tool?
Youtube videos arent the best way to convey resolution differences due to compression and unless you subscribe to their patreon to get uncompressed video the website is the best way to see what they are talking about.


When you look at the PS5 performance mode screenshots vs the quality vs PC with TAAU mode screenshots even an untrained pixel counter will see that those are well below 1800p
Digital Foundry have been way too lean with the latest shitty PC ports, Deathloop is unacceptable and they should emphasize that stronger, especially the stuttering that happens every 600 frames after loading some areas. Kena stutters violently while running across the mpa and loading new areas, and suffers from what seems to be Shader Compilation issues, and the resolution setting doesn't always work as intended. There is nothing great about the PC port of Kena, it's less than the minimum we should expect in 2021 and DF keeps giving them a pass.
 

Armorian

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AF doesn't use much memory bandwidth.
Consoles don't use 4K, except some simpler games.
RDNA2, uses a tile based renderer, that saves a lot of memory access. Something that GCN didn't use.
Sacrificing 5% resolution is well worth getting AF 16X.
The improvement in image quality with AF16X is much bigger than a bit of resolution.

YES! NO FUCKING EXCUSE this gen. GCN had problems with AF but RDNA does not.
 

assurdum

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What the fuxk is up with AF this generation. What a mess.

Also NXG needs to redo his counting, that's a big oooof.
Well maybe 1296p is not that common? Because Dictator just show the village hub area for such pixels counts. It's not the first time who uses the lower resolution to define the "more commons" resolutions on ps5, he is not new to such approximations. He did something similar for Metro but according to the VGTech YouTube channel stats the story was a bit different.
 
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i can easily tell the difference between 1440p and 4k on my end with my freaking 1080p monitor. i just set the game at %130 resolution and then %200 resolution and the difference is HUGE. and i can see the exact difference from the videos they've posted between ps5's quality and performance modes. i really, really can't fathom as to how some people cannot discern differences between them on actual 4k screens while I can see a huge reduction in image clarity and sharpness with my crap monitor. i guess being close to the monitor does that to you? i have no idea. i have 40 cms between me and my 24 inch monitor approximately. for a reason my eye catches all the detail and sharpness high resolutions can bring out. some people swear that they do not see any difference. its really weird for me

wish i was one of those people who couldn't see that difference between resolutions lol. i cannot even play at native 1080p anymore, i got addicted to supersampling due to how it enhances the clarity of the image

btw the video doesn't do justice but the game really, really looks gorgeous. u have to see it urself

finally: i didn't care if it stutters while traversing the land every once and a while. i've playying and enjoying it for 10 hrs, game is SOOO fun
 
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assurdum

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Whats with all the UE4 games on PS5 having such low resolutions
Just UE4 games on ps5? What about the lower resolution in the others games at 60 FPS on next gen platforms? Because it's quite common to see 1080p via DRS when 60 fps it's the target.
 
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Shmunter

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Yeah, the game is likely designed with dynamic resolution in mind hence such a massive delta in GPU usage depending on the scene.

Unfortunately, dynamic res is non-functioning/missing from the PC version even though it shows up in the ini file. Many lower-end AMD/NV cards have really benefitted from it if only it'd been implemented, the lack of DLSS is also a bummer when it's easily accessible to devs as a UE4 plugin.
I recall all the way from Far Cry 4 days, DRS solutions on PC are not easily implemented due to the api layers preventing per frame access unlike on console to the metal shite.

Someone may have more info…
 
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I recall all the way from Far Cry 4 days, DRS solutions on PC are not easily implemented due to the api layers preventing per frame access unlike on console to the metal shite.

Someone may have more info…
this seems like a very logical explanation