Borderlands 2 Review (PC)

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅28-09-12
The Way Its Meant To Be Played A PhysX Equation

PhysX is a subtle beast.

Developed through NVIDIAs The Way Its Meant To Be Played programme, Borderlands 2 features out-the-box support for proprietary NVIDIA features such as FXAA and PhysX, though currently TXAA is not supported. In order to experience these features fully you need to possess an NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card with sufficient overhead to also run the game at the resolution and detail settings you desire. The improvements FXAA bring to gaming are well understood and in most cases are now available on a driver level, whereas the impact of PhysX varies greatly on a title-by-title basis.

In Borderlands 2, as with many TWIMTBP titles, the effect of PhysX is in the main fairly subtle and does not seem to impact gameplay to any great degree. There are no complicated puzzles absolutely demanding well-modelled physics; instead youre treated to more substantial interactions in the environment for fluid, particle and cloth dynamics. This may be expressed as shrapnel sheering from gunfire and manipulated by implosions, a Psycho dissolving into a pool of acid, or simply an outhouse violently expelling its contents; the upshot is a cel-shaded world paradoxically realistic in how it models interactions and with small moments where you whisper to yourself: ... cool.

The computational cost for utilising the PhysX API is relatively small when performed through the GPU, but can serve to be an extreme bottleneck if load is placed on the CPU instead. Gearbox allow you to tune the complexity of interactions from off through to High; playing at 1080p wed suggest that anyone with a system above the recommended spec and NVIDIA GeForce GPU try a High setting, adjusting to Medium if the performance hit is substantial.

Experiencing Borderlands 2 with high levels of PhysX enabled wont drive you to immediately purchase a GeForce GTX card for your system, just as it didnt with Arkam Asylum and previous PhysX-enabled titles, but could be the deciding factor when buying your next GPU. Whilst performance per pound may reach some form of parity between manufacturers, as things stand only NVIDIA can offer hardware accelerated physics on a wide range of PC titles. This will by no means be the last game with the NVIDIA-exclusive feature, and PhysX itself is continually refined to produce more realistic environmental effects.

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