Tropico 6 is the latest part in Kalypso’s construction and management simulation strategy series that has just been released on the PC. The game is powered by Unreal Engine 4 so it’s time to benchmark it and see how it performs on the PC platform.
For this PC Performance Analysis, we used an Intel i7 4930K (overclocked at 4.2Ghz) with 16GB of DDR3 RAM at 2133Mhz, AMD’s Radeon RX580 and RX Vega 64, NVIDIA’s RTX 2080Ti, GTX980Ti and GTX690, Windows 10 64-bit, GeForce driver 419.67 and the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.3. NVIDIA has not included any SLI profile for this title in its latest drivers, meaning that our GTX690 behaved similarly to a single GTX680.
Limbic Entertainment has implemented a respectable amount of graphics settings to tweak. PC gamers can adjust the quality of Anti-Aliasing, Shadows, Textures, Models, Ambient Occlusion, Shaders, Water, Environment and Particles, and there are also options to enable or disable Bloom, Lens Flares and Depth of Field.
In order to find out how the game performs on a variety of CPUs, we simulated a dual-core and a quad-core CPU. Since the game does not come with a built-in benchmark tool, we used a big Sandbox level for our benchies. Furthermore, we kept the game’s Ultra settings but lowered our resolution to 1280×720 (in order to avoid any possible GPU limitation) for our CPU benchmark tests.
While Tropico 6 uses Unreal Engine 4, it appears to be heavily using only one CPU core/thread. Still, and despite this single-threaded CPU behaviour, this strategy game does not require a modern-day CPU for running at constant 60fps. Even without Hyper Threading, our simulated dual-core system was able to provide a smooth gaming experience. As such, those targeting 60fps will be able to play the game in a wide range of PC configurations. On the other hand, those seeking for constant 100fps at all times should use newer CPUs that offer better IPCs. It’s obvious that the game could run better on our Intel Core i7 4930K (which was only used by 37%) but I guess Limbic was optimizing Tropico 6 for a 60fps experience.
As said, Tropico 6 is powered by Unreal Engine 4 and like most titles using Epic’s engine, it favours NVIDIA’s hardware. At 1080p, our AMD Radeon RX580 was unable to offer a smooth gaming experience and our NVIDIA GeForce GTX980Ti was able to surpass the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64. As we’ve stated numerous times, AMD’s DX11 drivers are not that great and bring an additional CPU/RAM overhead that can affect older CPUs, especially when games cannot take advantage of multiple CPU cores/threads. This wouldn’t be happening if the game was using a lower level API like DX12 or Vulkan with proper CPU multi-threading scaling.
At 2560×1440, our AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 was used to its fullest and was able to offer a slightly better performance than our NVIDIA GeForce GTX980Ti. This is mainly because, as we’ve already said, Unreal Engine 4 favours NVIDIA’s hardware and pretty much all Unreal Engine 4 games run faster on NVIDIA’s GPUs. Furthermore, both of these GPUs were unable to offer a smooth 60fps experience at 1440p/Ultra. The only GPU that was able to achieve something like that in both 1440p and 4K (though we did notice some minor drops to 50fps in 4K) was our NVIDIA GeForce RTX2080Ti.
Graphics wise, Tropico 6 is a beautiful strategy game, featuring a dynamic lighting system and some really cool environments. Contrary to other strategy games, players can zoom all the way in or out. There are also sharp shadows and at times the game gave me some Crysis vibes (mainly due to the same palm trees that were used). If I had to nitpick, I’d say that the water effects are not that particularly impressive and that the distant LOD textures could be of a higher resolution. Other than these nitpicks, Tropico 6 is looking great and is undoubtedly pleasing to the eye.
All in all, and despite its single-threaded CPU behaviour, Tropico 6 can run great on a wide range of PC configurations that are equipped with NVIDIA’s hardware. AMD owners will have some trouble hitting 60fps (especially when using higher resolutions than 1080p) as Unreal Engine 4 has, traditionally, run faster on NVIDIA’s hardware. AMD needs to step up its game as every Unreal Engine 4 we’ve tested so far, from Ace Combat 7 and Overkill’s The Walking Dead to Call of Cthulhu and Vampyr, perform better on NVIDIA’s hardware.