Star Wars Jedi: Survivor PC patches tested: less stuttering, still slow
A stubborn malaise hangs over stability and ray tracing improvements
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor developers Respawn Entertainment have been busy on patch duty, pumping out a series of updates aimed at addressing the torrid state of its PC performance at launch. The newest, last week’s Patch 4, sounded particularly enthusiastic about tackling Jedi: Survivor’s technical troubles, so now would be a fine time to check in on the progress of this fixing-upping campaign.
A few droid decapitatin’ benchmark runs later, I can say that Patch 4 (and its predecessors) have made meaningful improvements to ray tracing performance, and that there's a lot less stuttering than there was at launch - even if this hasn’t been smoothed out entirely. General performance, however, remains deeply underwhelming, with powerful GPUs still unable to achieve a bulletproof 60fps even at 1080p.
Since I’m still in a bit of a tables mood after that Asus ROG Ally vs Steam Deck piece, let’s compare Jedi Survivor’s current and launch day performance using a nicely readable stack of cells. All these results, which represent average performance in one of the free-roaming areas on planet Koboh, were recorded on a PC comprised of Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, Intel Core i5-11600K, and 16GB of DDR4 memory.
|Resolution/settings||At launch||With Patch 4|
|1080p, Epic quality||49fps||55fps|
|1080p, High quality||53fps||57fps|
|1080p, Medium Quality||57fps||57fps|
|1080p, Low Quality||60fps||59fps|
|1080p, Epic quality, ray tracing on||34fps||41fps|
|1440p, Epic quality||41fps||44fps|
|1440p, High quality||48fps||53fps|
|1440p, Medium quality||54fps||57fps|
|1440p, Low quality||58fps||59fps|
|1440p, Epic quality, FSR 2 on Quality||48fps||53fps|
|1440p, Epic quality, FSR 2 on Balanced||48fps||53fps|
There are positive signs here. Patch 4’s ray tracing-specific enhancements appear to pay dividends, with a generous 22% performance boost compared to launch day. Anecdotally, my RTX 3070 rig had a much easier time staying above 30fps with both RT effects and the Epic preset switched on, resulting in visibly smoother play. Good stuff for those with strong enough graphics cards to handle ray tracing in the first place.
It's not really reflected in average FPS recordings, but there’s far less stuttering while playing on Patch 4 as well. Sure enough, the latest update includes a PC-only fix that targets "traversal hitching", which is Digital Foundry-speak for the little judders that occur when a game is trying to dynamically stream in parts of the world that weren’t covered by a previous loading screen. There are still occasional stutters, but now they’re both less noticeable and fewer in number. The opening level on Coruscant, which was previously lousy with massive framerate wobbles, plays a lot better now.
Unfortunately, neither of these really make Jedi: Survivor’s PC performance good, merely less bad. The Epic quality preset gets a little bump at both 1080p and 1440p, but Medium and Low remain bafflingly close-run, with 1080p / Low actually averaging 1fps slower than it did at launch. If anything, the lower settings were where Jedi: Survivor needed the most work; when they run only very slightly faster than maximum quality, it effectively blocks access to anyone wanting to play on older PC hardware or a Steam Deck.
The lingering lack of reactivity to settings changes also maintains a lot of a straight-up weirdness that fogged the game’s release build. How in the world is Low quality performing the same at 1080p as it does at 1440p? I honestly couldn’t tell you. And Jedi: Survivor’s implementation of FSR 2 continues to disappoint: the performance uptick in that table can be largely explained by the similar improvement to the vanilla Epic preset, so the upscaling component itself doesn’t work any better as a result of these patches. And the Quality and Balanced modes are still performing identically, making the latter pointless.
It should be noted, amidst the moans, that more patches are on the way. At least one of these will include "general performance improvements to improve both CPU and GPU utilization," which could be vital in wringing extra performance out of lower-end hardware while simultaneously letting higher-end PCs off the leash. That’s the hope, anyway. Which I understand is quite a potent thing in Wars of the Star.
Lastly, I never experienced most of the bugs that have been listed as fixed in the past few patches, but I have noticed that Respawn mended the one glitch I quite enjoyed: the ghosts of slain enemies popping back up in an intimidating A-pose whenever you zoom out the photo mode camera. Here are some of my favourite snaps, in memoriam: