Sony has been slowly building up its catalog of PC ports of first-party PS4 games, and now with Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, we have the biggest to date. This game needs no introduction. The PlayStation 5 remaster improved on the 2018 original significantly with new facial models, improved resolution and performance, DualSense controls, and graphics that show off some of the best ray tracing on consoles thus far.
Porting Insomniac’s incredible game and bespoke engine to PC was by no means an easy feat of engineering, but the task was put in the very capable hands of Nixxes, a new member of Sony Studios. Here’s what’s on offer in the new PC version:
- Higher frames per second, meaning you can exceed the 120fps ceiling of the PS5’s 120fps mode.
- Shadows and ray-traced reflections can exceed the PlayStation 5’s Best.
- Ultra-wide outputs and greater-than-4K resolutions.
- Full DualSense support via wired USB connection, delivering haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and speaker support – alongside mouse/keyboard support or other controllers to play the way you wish.
- Level of detail (or LoD) is slightly further out, over the PS5’s Performance RT mode at least.
- A plethora of anti-aliasing and upscaling/reconstruction options have been added, including DLAA and DLSS options for Nvidia-based machines, as well as TAA, SMAA, Insomniac’s own temporal injection, and finally FSR2.0 – although this and DLSS are still being improved at the time of this Performance Review.
From that scorecard it is a solid PC port with all the options you would expect, enabling a great breadth of PCs to run it. Even the Steam Deck can join in the web slinging action with full support.
It’s worth mentioning that several updates dropped during our review period, including an 11th-hour patch that added more anti-aliasing options. All tests here were either conducted on or validated to have consistent performance with this most recent patch. (Sorry for the slight delay!)
Visuals Quality and Improvements
All of the core game assets, textures, effects, models, animations are identical to the PS5 version. The key improvements come in the levels of fidelity or resolution you can achieve, particularly ray-traced reflections. There are three ray tracing modes at launch: Medium, High, and Very High. Medium is lower than both modes on PlayStation 5, albeit only slightly, with fewer objects included within the bounding volume hierarchy (BVH) container, and it renders them at a slightly lower resolution. This means some walls or NPCs may be missing reflections on this setting.
The High setting boosts this to similar levels as the Performance RT setting on PS5, although resolution is higher so long as you render at 1440p or above. Like many effects, these scale with the chosen output resolution. Again, sometimes the objects within the BVH can be less than on PS5.
Very High improves things further, with both reflected objects and resolution outperforming the native 4K/30 Fidelity mode on PS5. While some improvements can be hard to spot unless highlighted, once you see them it can be harder to ignore them when reverted. All in, this is the single biggest increase you get over PS5 in regard to effects. Shadows are noted too, but in my tests from gameplay and cinematics, these are very minor increases in resolution. Other Post effects, such as shadow maps, hair fins, alpha particles, bloom effects, and texture filtering can all be better than PS5.
Resolution is the most prominent area of improvement, with 4K being a big boost over the Performance RT mode on PS5, which dynamically scales between 2560×1440 and 2240×1260. However, you will need a powerful GPU – something of RTX 3080 or RX 6800 levels – to achieve that. And even then, you’ll want a form of reconstructed AA in place to maintain better performance. Motion blur samples can be higher and have more coverage on limbs, characters, and camera, occasionally making textures look less detailed due to the per-pixel blending.
Regardless, the high-fidelity models, performance captured real-time cinematics, silky smooth webslinging, and combat system are as impressive here on PC as they are on PS5. Nothing is lost in translation as you take your first bite of the Big Apple.
The RTX 2070 gives us a clear example: prior to the patch, it could be GPU bound often, even at 1440p with TAA or DLSS DRS active, but the 3.8Ghz Ryzen 7 2700 CPU was still the main bottleneck with ray tracing enabled. This was true on both the Medium and Very High setting, as the cost is mostly fixed once the BVH is created and traversed for the scene. Thus, we see some heavy stutters when swinging through the city or fighting in denser areas. This meant no matter what resolution you set this card, you would never attain a locked 60fps with ray tracing active.
Cinematics sit at 60fps or stay within the 50s, and at Medium settings, we see ray tracing performance only slightly lower than PS5 in Performance RT mode. It’s only at most 15-20% worse performance in the tested sections but with a slightly better IQ if the DLAA option is used. DLAA is superior to the TAA method, which uses Insomniac’s temporal injection when DRS is enabled, though it’s approximately 5-9% more expensive in like-for-like tests. This means at worst you could be ~30% slower with better IQ than the PS5, which also uses DRS, but on the Performance RT mode, for the most part performance is so close to a locked 60fps that it’s never noticed, single frame drops aside. No matter what is happening, be it cinematics, swinging, fighting, or anything else, it holds that 60fps target almost to a tee.
The RTX 2070 here can hold the same levels in walled-off fight zones and some cinematics, but it can still dip in the 40s and 30s while swinging around the city or moving the camera with city views. Disable ray tracing, though, and we can see performance double on all machines. That same 1440p DRS or DLSS can help stay above the 16.6ms frame time required for 60fps, with those dips seen before now removed due to less single-thread-limited CPU work resulting in higher GPU utilisation. It can still dip, but now these are either genuine GPU-bound scenarios or you are traveling at speed, causing data streaming and the associated CPU and bandwidth costs that the PC has over the PlayStation 5’s dedicated hardware here. Meaning the Zen 2700 is no longer the slowest cog in this engine test, although it can still be a limiting factor in certain scenarios.
The RX 6800 at maximum settings with SSR enabled is pretty much locked 4K at 60fps whenever the CPU is not being taxed with city travel, but when it is you will see some drops below that 16ms frame-time as it becomes CPU or data bound. As such, you can max out all options (bar ray tracing) to deliver a sharp and smooth way to play. The game benefits from higher resolutions as the high-quality assets, textures, and lighting all benefit from the extra pixels because most elements scale with the target output resolution. The 3600X can remain a noose around the GPU though; jobs and work are now far better allocated, meaning total CPU usage can hit the 90s, let alone a single core.
The engine is supremely multi-threaded, and without RT enabled you can see three to four threads are all close to the top, showing brilliant balancing of the demands here – not a surprise, considering this was originally a game running on the 2013 PS4 Jaguar CPUs, so the developers at Insomniac had to use every cycle they could even at 30fps. That’s something we do not have to remain with on this machine, with it offering a better image quality and performance over the 2070 and Zen 2700. Fundamentally, it can run Spider-Man Remastered at 4K DRS with maximum ray tracing at almost identical levels to the 2070 at 1440p High settings, meaning a welcome increase in IQ and frames. Well, aside from when you’re swinging into action, that is. The AMD GPU can still have some ray tracing-related issues, with some objects popping in and out of existence and occasional texture artifacts cropping up, but that’s the kind of thing we can expect future patches to address.
The first question posed by the PC port of Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered was what hardware specifications do you need to equal the PlayStation 5’s performance? Testing revealed that a GeForce RTX 3070 or Radeon RX6700XT will deliver the same or slightly better results than the PS5, certainly from a graphical perspective. In regard to the CPU the question is harder to answer. In the smaller gameplay sections, any modern CPU from the Ryzen 7 2700 or upwards will deliver on 60+ framerates; however, it is when you’re traveling around the open world of New York City that the CPU and associated data throughput requirements increase. Which is only mitigated but not resolved with ray tracing disabled. Future patches may improve this, and in that case we will be swinging back in to cover those. But for now, the Spider-Man Remastered port offers a close mirror of one of the PS5’s best and in many ways can exceed it, with all the fun, style, and action losing nothing on this new platform.
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Author: Dan Stapleton