First impressions of Cyberpunk 2077 running at 1440p and 4K on the Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 Twin Edge: DLSS is needed to prevent a slideshow
After a long wait of eight years since the first logo reveal, Cyberpunk 2077 is finally here and has taken the gaming world by storm. While we're busy exploring all the pizzazz Night City has to offer, here are some first impressions after playing the game for a short period on the Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 Twin Edge (review coming soon).
The game looks stunning even without ray tracing (RT) on, but full visual fidelity is best realized with at least medium ray tracing settings. However, enabling ray tracing comes with a heavy performance penalty requiring mandatory use of Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS).
Just like The Witcher 3, changing graphics settings in Cyberpunk 2077 is a breeze. No game restarts or flickering screens — just tweak to your heart's content and witness the changes almost immediately.
With that info, let's take a look at a few FPS and quality comparisons primarily at 1440p and 4K resolutions.
The RTX 3070 can sail through most modern AAA titles at 1440p High or Ultra with relative ease. The same can be said for Cyberpunk 2077 too as long as RT is disabled.
At 1440p Ultra with both RT and DLSS turned off, the RTX 3070 could achieve close to 70 fps. When RT is set to Ultra, the frame rate drastically drops to 29 fps. To get back near-native fps with RT on, we had to set DLSS to Performance mode.
If you look closely at the below images, DLSS Performance mode does result in sacrificing some level of detail at far-off objects and overall sharpness. However, for the most part during fast-paced gameplay, the objects are virtually indistinguishable from native 1440p.
The RTX 3070 is also capable of decent 4K gaming in most titles. In Cyberpunk 2077, the RTX 3070 can achieve close to 50 fps in 4K medium and drops to about 36 fps in 4K High. The game was still very much playable without much stuttering or dropped frames.
However, similar to 1440p, we observed that enabling DLSS is key for a smooth gaming experience at 4K if RT is turned on. In fact, the performance penalty with even low or medium RTX seems to be very significant at this resolution.
In the below scene, we get about 49 and 36 fps at 4K Medium and High, respectively with both RT and DLSS turned off. Turning on medium RT instantly brings the game to a slideshow with just 6 fps.
For achieving playable frames at 4K with RT at medium or ultra, DLSS needs to be set to Performance mode for the RTX 3070. This gives an average of about 35-40 fps depending on the scene as shown in the gameplay video below.
Ray tracing does liven up the scene, but screen space reflections are not bad either
Enabling RT does add a lot more depth and immersiveness to the frame even though you'd mostly have to pause your gameplay to actually appreciate the differences. For instance, in the above 4K scene, we get to see a more natural spread of light in the scene with RT medium compared to RT off, wherein the overall scene seems to be comparatively brighter and lacking the characteristic illumination from individual candles. You'd have to observe the differences very closely but they are there.
The good part about Cyberpunk 2077 is that the screen space reflections are done very well, especially on PC. Therefore, even if you don't enable RTX features, you can still get great visuals and even fairly accurate reflections at times just by enabling DLSS.
In the below scene, the first image has RT off but DLSS Quality mode enabled, which shows a decent reflection of the sign board in the puddle while yielding about 35 fps. In the second image, setting RT to medium with DLSS Quality drops the frame rate to 28 fps — a 20% performance loss.
All in all, Cyberpunk 2077 seems to be well worth the wait and is a visual treat without question. There are still several glitches such as non-playable characters (NPCs) passing through you like ghosts, but it is a given that the game will improve over time with patches. Apart from ironing out the bugs, CD Projekt Red also would do best to focus on performance enhancements, especially with ray tracing on.
An RTX 3070 should be able to afford smooth gameplay at 1440p provided you tweak the visuals appropriately. Anything higher is best served by the RTX 3080 or better still, the RTX 3090 that has copious amounts of VRAM. We look forward to taking the game for a spin soon on AMD Radeon RX 6000 cards as well.
Check out a short gameplay video below of Cyberpunk 2077 running at 4K with DLSS and RT enabled on the Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 Twin Edge recorded via NVIDIA ShadowPlay. Viewer discretion is advised.