Wrap Up: It Won't Push High End GPUs to the Limit
Alien: Isolation's environments somehow capture the creepiness of original Alien movie and while the game looks great for the most part, its graphics can't be compared with other big budget PC games such as Crysis 3, Hitman: Absolution, Watch Dogs or Battlefield 4.
The game's BC7-compressed textures were probably the most disappointing aspect of its visuals, though they allow GPUs with just 2GB of memory to deliver playable performance at 4K resolutions. In its defense, Alien: Isolation also isn't the type of game that really needs jaw-dropping graphics to be fun, relying more on atmospheric effects.
Although Creative Assembly says its new game engine is optimized for multi-core processors, we weren't really able to show that using the in-game benchmark. With an R9 290X, the game was perfectly playable using a dual-core Celeron G1820 -- I can't recall the last time we were able to say that.
Still, this isn't entirely surprising as there aren't many non-player characters or enemies, you have minimal interaction with the environment and there are limited destructible objects so there isn't much to really stress the CPU, which explains why the game developer recommends just a Core 2 Quad or Phenom II X4 processor.
Alien: Isolation's GPU requirements are also mundane as we were able to achieve a highly playable average of 60fps at 1920x1200 using a GTX 660 Ti or HD 7870. Those comfortable with 30fps will be spoiled by the GTX 560 Ti's 37fps while even the four-year-old mid-range GTX 460 was good for 27fps (35fps at 1680x1050).
Modern mid-range graphics cards seem to be overkill, so we aren't quite sure what that makes the R9 280X and GTX 770, which both offered over 50fps at 2560x1600. Running multiple GPUs in Alien: Isolation is pointless unless your SLI or Crossfire setup is more than four years old.
If you just bought a new GTX 970, you can expect roughly 70fps at 2560x1600, which translates into perfectly payable performance at 4K resolutions.
It's great to see Alien: Isolation running well on such a varied range of PC hardware, but it's disappointing that the PC version doesn't look different from the PS4 and Xbox One releases. PC gamers can almost always dial things down to console-quality visuals for playable performance on mediocre hardware. What we want are breathtaking visuals to justify $500+ GPUs.
Until the next one, you can check out more PC gaming benchmark tests here, including Far Cry 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Battlefield Hardline, Dying Light and more.