Returnal feature

Returnal – DLSS 3 4K Benchmarks & Impressions

Climax Studios released yesterday a new patch for Returnal that added support for DLSS 3 Frame Generation. As such, we’ve benchmarked the game using the new AI upscaling technique, and here are our thoughts.

For our benchmarks, we used an AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D, 32GB of DDR5 at 6000Mhz, and NVIDIA’s RTX 4090. We also used Windows 10 64-bit, and the GeForce 531.61 driver. Additionally, we set the game’s graphics settings to Epic, including Ray Tracing.

At native 4K, our RTX 4090 was able to push a minimum of 57fps and an average of 79fps. By enabling DLSS 2 Quality, we were able to improve our performance by up to 51%. Then, DLSS 3 Frame Generation brought an additional 34% performance boost.

Returnal DLSS 3 benchmarks

To be honest, I was kind of disappointed by those results. You see, in other games, DLSS 3 Frame Generation was able to almost double their performance (and that was when using DLSS 2). Here, however, we “only” get a 34% performance increase.

The good news here is that we did not experience any stuttering issues. As we’ve already said, DLSS 3 has introduced stuttering issues ONLY in the games using the REDengine. Forza Horizon 5, Hogwarts Legacy, NFS: Unbound and now Returnal work great with it. Furthermore, we did not spot any visual artifacts, so that’s another plus.

Regarding latency, I did not experience any major issues. The game felt responsive, even when fighting multiple or large enemies. This shouldn’t surprise anyone though as the game was already running with over 87fps without DLSS 3’s Frame Generation.

Unfortunately, Climax Studios has locked DLSS 3’s Frame Generation behind DLSS 3 Super Resolution. What this means is that you can’t use DLSS 3 Frame Generation in native resolutions. This kind of sucks. Moreover, there is no support for DLAA. Since the game runs so smoothly, a “DLAA + DLSS 3 Frame Generation” combo would work wonderfully here. So, let’s hope that the developers will add support for DLAA via a future update.

All in all, Returnal works great with DLSS 3 on NVIDIA’s RTX40 series GPUs. Since we could not spot any visual artifacts or a major increase in input latency, you can consider it as a free performance boost. I know I know, some will claim these to be “fake” frames. However, most of you won’t be able to distinguish the real from the artificial frames. My only gripe here is the fact that the DLSS 3 performance gains are significantly lower than what we’ve seen in other games, and that’s a bummer.

Lastly, here are some 4K screenshots with DLSS 3 Quality enabled.


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