Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a Stunning Cinematic Delight on PC
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:32pm 01/11/21 | Comments
Memorable characters, a great story, and even better set pieces, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy from Eidos Montreal and Square Enix is an immersive sci-fi action adventure on PC. And one that’s all the more impressive thanks to its use of real-time ray-tracing and NVIDIA DLSS rendering.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is not only a beloved comic-book series, but a key part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What sets it apart from other Marvel adventures seen on the page and big screen is its vibrant sci-fi setting and colourful cast of characters. Namely, the Guardians themselves; Peter Quill, Drax, Groot, Gamora, and the good-natured but foul-mouthed Rocket Raccoon.
It’s a property that presents stories on a galactic scale, but also stories grounded by the brash and witty Earth-born Peter Quill and his rag-tag group of friends simply looking to make their mark. A space opera by the way of superhero style, with a score that features an awesome collection of ‘80s tunes to help elevate the neon alien backdrops and action with some old-school montage-energy.
For developer Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Shadow of the Tomb Raider) and publisher Square Enix, the partnership with Marvel sees the arrival of an original tale set within the Guardians universe. In what is one of the most confident and entertaining comic-book adaptations to date. From the art direction and stunning ray-traced visuals to voice acting and dialogue that is genuinely funny and endearing.
One of the most confident and entertaining comic-book adaptations to date. From the art direction and stunning ray-traced visuals to voice acting and dialogue that is genuinely funny and endearing.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy just so happens to be one of the most visually impressive games released this year too, thanks to its use of real-time ray-tracing and the performance enhancing NVIDIA DLSS to deliver next-level immersion. Whether you’re aboard a scrappy spaceship called The Milano and seeing characters and objects reflected on the many metallic and transparent surfaces, or visiting the bustling Knowhere and seeing a bright neon-lit cityscape reflected in puddles, ray-tracing and DLSS are there to add an extra layer of magic.
It’s All About Story and Adventure
Creating something you’d happily call one of the best comic-book games currently available is no small feat, especially when you consider the excellent adaptations we’ve seen over the years. From Batman to Spider-Man to lesser known entities. In keeping the focus on all four Guardians and their personal stories in a linear single-player action-RPG, one that features a combat system built around superhero team-work, the result is sci-fi spectacle perfect for the 2021 holiday season.
Like the Guardians looking to live up to an ideal and their namesake as heroes and protectors, when you have a great story and a world that you want nothing more than to simply explore and become a part of; pushing the visual envelope is one piece of an overall picture.
But before we get to what ray-tracing and DLSS add to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy on PC, it’s worth highlighting that all of the impressive visuals and technical wizardry in the world need to be in service of... something. Like the Guardians looking to live up to an ideal and their namesake as heroes and protectors, when you have a great story and a world that you want nothing more than to simply explore and become a part of; pushing the visual envelope is one piece of an overall picture.
Although it features a character called Groot that communicates via only being able to say the phrase “I am Groot”, and a sentient Raccoon with a knack for all things tech (Rocket is your go-to for upgrading abilities and fine-tuning Peter’s powerful laser pistols) the action here feels personal and epic due to the bond forged between the Guardians. The great writing and the engaging story that escalates over the course of several brilliant chapters is not only fun but memorable.
As are the various characters the Guardians meet along the way. From enemies to friends, the cast here is awesome. And when you have a sort of “road movie” setup that sees the Guardians visit strange, beautiful, and dangerous locations, saying that it all feels cinematic does come down to story as much as it does presentation.
That said, the presentation here is pure next-gen.
Ray-Tracing in Guardians of the Galaxy
Ray-tracing is something that we’ve seen appear in a number of high profile releases in recent years, a replacement for traditional rendering techniques that add a dose of realism to a digital environment via doing what the name implies; tracing rays of light around a scene.
The presentation here is pure next-gen.
For Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy real-time ray-tracing takes the existing reflections found in the game, Screen-Space Reflections, to the next level. It also adds transparent and opaque reflections to objects like glass, which is that thing where you can see a faint reflection of a character or environment as you peer through a window. Turn this off and the difference is immediately noticeable. Like what Remedy pulled off in Control, the result is, yeah, wow.
With traditional reflections only able to reflect what’s already visible on the screen, ray-tracing adds a new dimension to both the visual effect and the environment in a way that is truly immersive. In Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy you’re looking at various locations and planets full of reflective materials; from metal, to water, to glass, and even the outfits worn by Nova Corp officers. Going RTX On here is definitely impressive.
Without ray-tracing the best way to describe the look is “like a game”. Perfectly fine, but there’s a seamless and immersive element to ray-tracing that you notice the moment you turn it off. Ray-tracing also adds a level of consistency to each location, and even gives smaller rooms depth and space -- making them look and feel more alive. When we say ray-tracing is cinematic, it’s all about that extra dose of realism.
So then you might be wondering what’s the catch? Well, it’s not an easy thing to pull off. And for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, ray-tracing is limited to the PC version for a good reason. Thankfully we’ve got the second generation of powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX hardware out in the wild to help out. Where everything from the GeForce RTX 3060 all the way up to the flagship RTX 3080 featuring dedicated hardware to perform all of the complex calculations required to make real-time ray-tracing a reality.
The real answer though, is performance. Ray-tracing, even in 2021, requires a lot of hardware to keep up with the sort of 60 frames-per-second performance expected by gamers. Thankfully, there’s an answer for that too.
DLSS, or Deep Learning Super Sampling.
Unmatched Performance Thanks to NVIDIA DLSS
NVIDIA’s DLSS has been one of the most talked about bits of PC gaming tech in recent years. By taking advantage of AI hardware found across the entire GeForce RTX range, supercomputer-like processing allows games to render with a higher frame-rate without sacrificing visual quality. The latest version of DLSS found in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is the most impressive to date. It paves the way for up-to double the in-game performance whilst keeping intensive visual effects like ray-traced reflections turned on. DLSS in Guardians of the Galaxy also includes a sharpness slider so you can tailor the overall look to suit your own personal needs -- sharper and more vibrant or a little softer and movie-like.
DLSS is basically the secret sauce for PC games, it uses powerful neural networks to upscale in a way that feels like the dawn of a new era.
RTX On in 2021, for a game like Guardians of the Galaxy, means ray-tracing plus DLSS. The result is being able to experience the adventures of Peter Quill and co on the mainstream GeForce RTX 2060 in 1080p with impressive 60fps performance. Looking at the flagship RTX 3080 it also means being able to hit over 100-fps and play in 4K with everything still running silky smooth. A true showcase for just how far we’ve come. DLSS is basically the secret sauce for PC games, it uses powerful neural networks to upscale in a way that feels like the dawn of a new era. One that has AI helping our games run faster as opposed to, you know, trying to take-over the planet somehow.
If you’re looking for a great, cinematic single-player game that will get you invested in both story and character it’s hard to look past Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. A sci-fi epic that’s funny, smart, endearing, and chock-full of action. And on PC, when you add real-time ray-tracing and NVIDIA DLSS, it becomes a true cinematic blockbuster.