January 27, 2023

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FPS Boost for Skyrim, Fallout 4 and Fallout 76: performance is great – but there is a catch

We’ve run the ruler over Microsoft’s first wave of FPS Boost titles and came away impressed, while our thoughts for the Arkane-developed duo of Prey and Dishonored Definitive Edition were perhaps even more gushing. Our coverage continues with a look at the Bethesda Games Studio titles running on the Creation Engine and impressions are a little more mixed this time. Skyrim lands exactly where we expected and works beautifully overall, but the Fallout titles are a little more puzzling. Despite a wide gap in their respective graphics capabilities, both Xbox Series S and X consoles run these titles at 1080p in order to achieve 60 frames per second, even though Xbox One X targeted native 4K.

The Fallout titles are somewhat contentious then, but it was great to return to Skyrim at least. In this case we have a true 4K60 and it’s great to see that the user mod experience we previously tested at Digital Foundry is now made fully official with FPS Boost – though it’s worth stressing these use two different techniques to hit this target. The mod essentially works by removing the 30fps frame-rate cap and disabling v-sync for good measure, allowing Skyrim to tap into the extra horsepower of Series S and X consoles (where back-compat forces v-sync back on).

The end result is a very tight lock on 60fps for Series S at 1080p resolution, whether you’re using FPS Boost or the mod, while Series X runs at native 4K and looks stunning – the price to pay being a drop to performance whenever volumetrics or full resolution alpha effects are in play. By and large, it’s 60fps on both and it adds an extra layer of sheen to what remains an excellent RPG. Yes, the visuals are dated, but the gameplay is golden. And of course, now PlayStation 5 users have access to the same experience via their own mod.

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