Far Cry Primal Performance Guide

Far Cry Primal represents Ubisoft Montreal’s latest addition to the Far Cry series. Leaving the world of high-powered machine guns, 50 caliber sniper rifles, and your garden variety rocket launchers, Far Cry Primal replaces all that with clubs, spears, and sabre tooth tigers, and travels back to the world of 10,000 BCE.

A long, long time ago...

And helpfully points this out as you start the campaign.

Far Cry Primal is a first-person shooter, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, and is the 5th entry in the popular Far Cry series, succeeding Far Cry 4, released at the end of 2014. In Primal, you’ll follow Takkar as he leads and reunites the Wenja tribe, which has been decimated and scattered by other primitive tribes in the region.

Primal is a first-person “shooter” (clubber, spearer, animal tamer…) which runs on the latest version of Ubisoft’s Dunia engine, which first saw use all the way back in Far Cry 2 (2008), though it’s been heavily modified since then. The game offers a wide array of settings, though they aren’t always very descriptive. Let’s start with the basic features:

  • API: DirectX 11
  • V-Sync: Yes
  • Anti-Aliasing: Yes
  • 4K Support: Yes
  • Unlimited FPS: Yes
  • Adjustable FOV: Yes

Video Settings

Since I don’t have a great number of different graphics cards to benchmark with, the purpose of this article, instead, is to take a deeper look into how each setting affects the overall performance of the game. Ubisoft Montreal has been kind enough to provide an internal benchmark, and after a few hours of gameplay, I decided that the benchmark provided an ideal scenario that was both representative of actual gameplay as well as being easily reproducible. The ‘High’ preset was used as a baseline for all performance benchmarks, meaning that while the options for a single option are changed, the rest of the options will be left on the ‘High’ preset. As you look at the graph for each settings, you’ll see I included results for the minimum, maximum, and average framerates for each of the different options in a given setting. The results for min, max, and avg will be grouped together, with the different colored bars representing the different options.

While testing this game, I found performance to be merely “okay”, averaging around 50 fps on a single 290X running at 2560×1440 on the ‘High’ preset. Although the benchmark displayed quite a bit of texture pop-in, this is only really noticeable when the draw distances go out to the horizon. In regular gameplay, I barely noticed it. Well, that’s enough foreplay, let’s get into the settings, shall we?

Textures Impact: Negligible
You should only need to lower texture settings if you run into major issues with VRAM capacity.
Shadows Impact: High
The higher shadow settings appear to also enable SSAO, which explains the greater performance impact as the settings climbs higher.
Post-FX Impact: Negligible Geometry Impact: Moderate Terrain Impact: Negligible Water Impact: Low Environment Impact: Negligible Anti-Aliasing Impact: Moderate Volumetric Fog Impact: Moderate Motion Blur Impact: Low
Strangely, enabling Motion Blur actually increased FPS…and I verified this by re-running the benchmark several times.

Lastly, I also took a look at VRAM usage. For this game you’re going to want at least 3GB of graphics memory, with a bare minimum of 2GB, and 4GB if you want to run the game at anything higher than 1440p. I didn’t have a 4K monitor to test on, but word on the street is that at 4K, this game will stop just shy of using 4GB of VRAM.

VRAM UsageAnd if all you want is a quick glance to see how much each setting affects the game performance, I made this nifty table for you:

Graphic SettingsPerformance Impact
Post FXNegligible
Volumetric FogModerate
Motion BlurLow

At the time of this writing, both AMD and Nvidia have released drivers with multi-GPU support for Far Cry Primal. Nvidia’s SLI solution appears to be slightly more efficient than AMD’s Crossfire, but both show signs of a CPU bottleneck at anything lower than 2560×1440, with the greatest gains to be had at 4K resolutions.

Although I’d like to see better optimizations, this is a great looking game that runs reasonably well on my system. The majority of settings that PC gamers have come to expect are easily accessible, and both GPU manufacturers have been quick to issue driver updates for multi-GPU support (though stay tuned for more performance-related driver updates). If you have any questions or suggestions, be sure to leave them in the comments!

My Testing Rig Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K
  • GPU: Radeon R9 290X
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Final Verdict for PC Quality:

Far Cry Primal: GOOD (shite, mediocre, good, excellent)

Buy the game on Kinguin for 50% discount.

I'm an avid skier, currently working as a software engineer in Rocky Mountain Colorado, USA. I've been a PC gamer for years and my favorite genres are RPG's and strategy games. People are like sausages: it's what's under the skin that's important. So poke them with a fork periodically.

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