Gray Zone Warfare is deploying hotfixes, but performance remains grim


Hardcore tactical FPS Gray Zone Warfare is proving to be yet another of 2024’s unexpected successes, shifting over half a million copies when it launched into early access last week. Unfortunately, in its attempt to eat Escape from Tarkov’s lunch – a timely one, given that game’s self-inflicted DLC misery – it’s currently choking on the wishbone of some truly dire performance issues. Even players with tip-top graphics cards are seeing heavy stuttering while out in the field, and none of the updates released thus far, including today’s Hotfix #3, have done much to soothe it.

Said hotfix does include some fixes for other widespread problems, including a second attempt at preventing players from becoming headless when rejoining a server (an amusing though resilient glitch, given a previous hotfix had also tried to nix it). But having played a bit of this third patch on a usually reliable RTX 4060, there’s clearly an awful lot of work left to do before Gray Zone Warfare performs acceptably.

At the best of times, it’s simply slow – at 1080p, I could only average 50fps on an excursion by dropping to mostly Low settings and whacking DLSS on Balanced mode. At worst, it’s unplayable. Gray Zone Warfare’s jungle map might be pretty but traversing it involves regular framerate lurches and, at times, full-on slideshow moments where it appears half a breath away from crashing outright. In a deeply sweaty MMO shooter where instant death is only ever one bullet away, it feels pretty awful that the game’s own lack of technical fortitude is something you must fight against as well.

It’s not just the gunfights where the heavy stuttering undermines the action, either. My favourite part of the Gray Zone Warfare shoot ‘n’ loot loop is the helicopter ride from your faction base to an objective’s nearest LZ. Taking place entirely in real time and without breaking first-person, it’s a brilliant touch that simultaneously builds tension for the mission and an appreciation for how vast and dense the leafy battlefield really is. It’s almost tragic, then, how often that ride is interrupted by moments of near-fatal game breakage, where anticipation for the imminent raid is replaced by fear that you’re about to be dumped back on desktop.

Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Madfinger Games

The possibility remains that performance could be cleaned up as part of the standard early access development process, as we’re currently seeing with No Rest for the Wicked. There’s no saving yourself in the meantime, though, as lowering the quality settings brings only minor benefits. I still say it’s worth doing, as I did see a teensy reduction in stuttering after dropping my own graphics options, but there’s currently no way to fully or even significantly smooth out those performance dips on your end.

With that in mind, here’s what I’d recommend for Gray Zone Warfare’s settings:

  • Global illumination: Low
  • Shadow quality: Low
  • Texture resolution: Medium
  • Effects quality: Medium
  • Reflections quality: Low
  • Foliage quality: Low
  • Post processing: Medium
  • Motion blur: Off
  • Sharpening: 0
  • Anti-aliasing/upscaling method: DLSS on Balanced or TSR on High
  • Nvidia DLSS Frame Generation: On, if supported

A few other notes: AMD FSR 3 frame generation may seem like a no-brainer, but this has problems of its own, showing signs of poor frame pacing, a nasty ghosting effect on fast-moving objects, and added input lag. DLSS 3 frame generation looks and operates far better, and while it’s limited to GeForce RTX 40 GPUs, I can’t recommend the more agnostic FSR 3 in its current state.

A lush, and at least for now peaceful, jungle in Gray Zone Warfare.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Madfinger Games

If it’s any consolation, Gray Zone Warfare still looks okay with these largely bottomed-out settings – they’re what I was using when I snapped that foliage-thick pic above. But it’s still a disappointing PC performer, even by early access standards, will need a lot more than some read-reattaching hotfixes to get in shape.


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