Technical Review: Bioshock Infinite with patches and DLC

Posted: November 26, 2013 by ryanlecocq in Reviews, Technology


This game is as close as I ever want to get to the live action Atlas Shrugged.

Every once in a while, something magical happens.  I hope that most of the time it’s crippled kids getting healed on Christmas or something, but sometimes it’s your video game suddenly running better one day.  Such was the case when I downloaded the new Bioshock DLC, Buried at Sea and updated my game client.  The game always ran perfectly fine at high settings, but I kept the highest settings turned off to keep performance steady.  When I started playing the game, I noticed that it seemed to be running exceptionally smooth.  So I benchmarked it and found that it was running about 20% faster than in past tests.  So just being scientific, I booted up the original campaign to compare the same benchmark and found that it was not just the DLC content.  My game actually ran better by a huge margin, with the same drivers and no other changes.  Sometimes you get slight improvements through drivers and updates, but 20% is huge!  So I turned on the alternate rendering and the highest shadows.  The game now looked even more outstanding and ran at the same steady 60fps as before.  Joy.

Optimized for Everyone

When Bioshock  Infinite released, it lived up to it’s AMD optimized advert.  The game ran really well on AMD systems and only marginally better on more expensive Intel powered ones.  I think it’s pretty likely that the huge jump I saw was the result of the game’s compatibility catching up with Intel/nVidia builds.  My system is a 4th gen i7 with a 700 series nVidia, so it would make sense that I saw so much benefit.  I haven’t confirmed with anyone running a higher end AMD PC, but I would imagine their improvement was less as it was already optimized.

Finally the Shinies

Every PC game has those two or three visual options that you never use until years later.  Sure, you have a sweet gaming PC that can handle them, but the performance hit is just too much for your ego to handle.  Those two little shiny things would take you below a steady 60+ frames-per-second and you just can’t have that.  For this game those two settings are the alternate rendering method and the highest shadow setting.  The alternate rendering method replaces most of the visual effects like HDR lighting and blur with higher quality ones.  The highest level of shadows makes all of the real time shadows blend with, obscure and react with one another, which just looks awesome.  If you have a high-end PC, these should be within your reach after the newer patches are applied.

A Game Any Gamer Can Run

The best thing about Unreal 3 powered games is that they run great on everything.  Even the Xbox 360 version of this game looks and runs pretty darn good.  I also played it for a while on my old laptop, which has an AMD A6 and a Radeon 6650m.  The 2 year old midrange laptop ran the game just fine at mid-high settings and it’s native 768p resolution.  Bioshock Infinite is a rare game that fully utilizes the potential of all gaming systems and looks great at any level of settings.


I really have nothing bad to say about this game’s performance now that it runs even better on my current system.  Bioshock Infinite has a solid technical and artistic design that looks as good on Rapture as it did in Columbia.




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