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The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition update tunes up PC performance

Still not entirely ship-shape, though

The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition launched to entirely deserved incredulity over its dire performance problems, PC version included. Low framerates, stuttering, lighting glitches, texture popping, wonky shaders... if you could think of a technical woe, it was probably already undermining this remaster’s efforts to rework and enhance the original RPG’s visuals.

Publishers Private Division have since promised a series of updates to get the Spacer’s Choice Edition up to code, with the first of these – v1.1 – releasing late last week. I’ve given it a test on various graphics cards and credit where it’s due, it has bumped up general performance significantly, although many broken parts remain unmended.

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First off, it’s easier to get playable framerates on the GTX 1060, one of the GPUs listed in Spacer’s Choice Edition minimum PC requirements. Prior to the v1.1 update, this card couldn’t handle Ultra quality at 1080p at all, whereas now it can at least limp to 30fps in some environments. Medium settings are a better fit, but hey, it’s only minimum spec. At least you don’t have to drop all the way to Low now.

I saw bigger gains on the GTX 1080 Ti, one of the recommended spec GPUs. Previously, the Ultra preset limited this once-kingly card to 30-40fps at 1080p; now, it’s more like 50-60fps. Very High quality also rose from 45-50fps to 60-70fps.

The update also makes performance on newer, high-end GPUs less bafflingly terrible. The RTX 4070 Ti could only previously run the Ultra preset at 45-55fps, and 20-25fps at 4K: after the update, I recorded it averaging 82fps and 47fps respectively. Dropping to the Medium preset also prevented drops below 60fps at 4K, better fulfilling a previous performance promise.

To be clear, I’m not saying that performance is good now – as welcome as most of the visual upgrades are, I’m still not convinced that they should make the GTX 1060 barely run at 30fps when the original The Outer Worlds could do 70fps on identical hardware (and its own Ultra setting). The patch also seems to have only partially smoothed out stuttering, with particularly bad lurches still common when transitioning between load screens. And I was still seeing the same major graphical bugs as did in the launch build, like the vast glowing glass tubes that suddenly appeared empty when viewed from an angle the game didn’t like.

Private Division say that "our team is working hard to fix additional known issues and further improve performance across all platforms", so v1.1 isn’t going to be the Spacer’s Choice Edition’s final form. The FPS improvements it brings are a genuinely pleasant surprise, though evidently there’s much left to do before this remaster can be truly spaceworthy.

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