ICARUS: DLSS vs. FSR Comparison Review 18

ICARUS: DLSS vs. FSR Comparison Review



ICARUS is a session-based PvE survival game for up to eight co-op players or solo. This game uses Unreal Engine 4 and supports NVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), and ray tracing (RTX Global Illumination). In order to run this game at maximum graphics settings and reasonable framerates at native resolution, quite a powerful GPU is required, which is why upscaling solutions are so important. But depending on the game, there are subtle differences in the implementation of NVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), so we are keen to have a look at both in this game.

Below, you will find comparison screenshots at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p and in different DLSS/FSR quality modes. For those who want to see how DLSS and FSR perform in motion, watch our side-by-side comparison video.

All tests were made using a GeForce RTX 3080 GPU at Epic graphics settings with ray tracing, motion blur, and depth of field disabled. DLSS in this game shipped with version 2.3.1.


Side by Side Comparison Video


In ICARUS, the DLSS and FSR implementations use sharpening filters in their render paths. The settings menu contains a DLSS sharpening slider you can set from 0 to 100 based on your personal preferences. Usually, you can't control the level of sharpening applied by FSR, but in this game, FSR also has a sharpening slider with the same available values. This is the first game to support adjustable sharpening for FSR. By default, the game sets both sharpening sliders to 70, which we kept for our testing.

Compared to native resolution, the DLSS performance uplift at 4K is a great improvement to the game even in Quality mode, and image quality is more detailed and stable in comparison to the TAA/FSR solution. The FSR image has some shimmering on tree leaves at lower resolutions, but you need to zoom in on the image to see it, so it isn't easily spotted while actually playing the game. The FSR sharpening slider is a great addition to the FSR implementation, but tricky about DLSS and FSR sharpening values is that even if both sharpening values are the same, they actually aren't producing the same image in terms of sharpness. Thus, at the default of 70, the DLSS image can look oversharpened even at 4K resolution while the FSR image is softer than it should be.

Speaking of performance, this game is quite demanding on GPU power and video memory capacity. Even powerful GPUs such as the GeForce RTX 3080 can struggle to run this game at reasonably stable framerates at maximum graphics settings and native resolution. As such, having the ability to increase performance is a welcome option even with such a GPU on tap.
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