Watch Dogs Legion PC Optimization Guide – How To Get 60 FPS, Optimized Settings

Watch Dogs Legion PC Optimization Guide

Watch Dogs Legion is one of the most anticipated games of 2020, partly because of its “any NPC is playable” mechanic. The game has released for the PC along with base and enhanced consoles. However, PC optimization of Ubisoft games has never been great and Watch Dogs Legion is no exception. In my Watch Dogs Legion PC optimization guide, I will help you with each of the game’s graphical settings, their impact, and how to get 60 FPS experience at 1080p on a mid-range PC.

Watch Dogs Legion – How To Get 60 FPS

Ubisoft games have always been pretty to look at but in terms of performance, they aren’t always optimized for PC. This a general consensus about Ubisoft video games and nothing has changed when it comes to Watch Dogs Legion.

This game has some serious optimization issue as if Ubisoft thinks that their games running at 30 FPS on a PC is good enough. However, we aren’t here to discuss the game’s performance but, we are here are to discuss how to get 60 FPS at 1080p resolution on a mid-range PC.

Watch Dogs Legion has a ton of graphical settings that players can tweak from Low to Ultra. Not only that, but it also comes with a benchmarking tool of its own which also tells which graphical setting has the most impact on performance.

The target PC for our Watch Dogs Legion PC optimization guide is a mid-range PC by which I mean a PC with an 8th-gen Core i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM, and GTX 1070 GPU.

The reason why I chose GTX 1070 and an 8th-gen CPU is that the game doesn’t really run well on a 4 Core/4 Threads CPU and a mid-range GPU. On top of that, as the graphics settings are lowered, the game reduces the CPU and GPU usage even at unlocked FPS.

Note: It’s almost impossible to run this game at 60 FPS even at locked 30 FPS on a PC with a 4 Core/4 Thread CPU no matter the GPU.

In my Watch Dogs Legion PC optimization guide, I’ll help you to get closer to your target as the game’s performance is extremely variable depending on the system.

The following are the Watch Dogs Legions graphics settings along with a brief explanation about what they do, their impact on performance, and the best setting to get that 1080p/60 FPS experience.

Windowed Mode

Keep this one at Fullscreen, dropping this setting to Windowed mode causes the game to drop 10 FPS.

V-Sync

Vertical Synchronization eliminates screen tearing by synchronizing the game frames rendered by the GPU with the monitor’s refresh rate. However, I recommend that you disable this setting in-game and force it through the display driver. In my experience, I found that forcing vertical sync through the driver gives better results. Open Nvidia Control Panel > Manage 3D Settings > Program Setting > select Watch Dogs Legion. Select “on” for Vertical Synchronization and hit apply.

Recommended: Force it through the GPU driver.

FPS Limit

This pretty much self-explanatory. This Watch Dogs Legion Graphics setting limits the FPS the GPU can render for the game. Since we are targeting 60 FPS, set this option to 60 FPS.

However, players can lock the game at 30 FPS and can crank graphics settings to Very High and even a GTX 1060 will be able to play this game at a stable 30 FPS.

Field Of View

This graphics setting increases and decreases the player’s field of view. The higher this setting the more area is covered in the player’s field of view. However, increasing this setting may result in a decrease in performance. So I suggest you keep it at default 70.

Recommended: Keep it at default.

DirectX

There are two options for Watch Dogs Legion, DirectX 11 and 12. I recommend that you set it to DirectX 12 as the game uses it very well.

Recommended: DirectX 12

Geometry

This setting controls the complexity of in-game objects. Like how detailed the in-game objects will be. This setting controls the geometry level of all the in-game objects.

Meaning, the higher the setting, the better detailed each object will be. Obviously, this impacts performance and is heavier on the CPU at Ultra. I recommend that players keep this setting at High.

Recommended: High

Environment

This Watch Dogs Legion Graphics setting controls the level of detail for in-game vegetation and the environment itself like how far the high-res models of trees, buildings, and everything else will be loaded by the game.

Not only that, it also controls the physics simulation for the foliage, how detailed the FOG will be, and how far the player character’s footprints or how many of them will be visible at the same time. This setting takes a toll on the CPU and I recommend that you drop it to Low.

Recommended: Low

Texture Resolution

This setting controls the resolution of the in-game textures. The higher the setting, the higher resolution textures the game will load. While it does occupy a lot of VRAM but, it mostly impacts CPU. I recommend that you keep it at High but, drop it to Medium if you want more FPS.

Recommended: High

Texture Filtering

This graphical setting doesn’t impact performance as much as the others. It can be easily set to Ultra.

Recommended: Ultra

Shadows

Shadows setting controls the level of details of the shadows generated by the in-game objects. The higher this setting, the better shadows will be rendered even at a distance. The distance depends on what option you select.

High, Very High, and Ultra shadows are almost identical and the only difference I found was how far high detailed shadows were rendered by the game.

Not to mentions, this Watch Dogs Legion Graphics setting impacts both CPU and GPU in equal measure. I recommend that you keep this setting at High or drop to Medium for more FPS.

Recommended: High

Headlight Shadows

Headlight Shadows graphics setting control how many cars can generate shadows simultaneously. This has a minor impact on performance. I easily recommend that you set this option to 4 Cars. But, players are free to drop below as it doesn’t add much to the visuals.

Recommended: 4 Cars

Reflections

Reflections setting in Watch Dogs Legion control how detailed and how many surfaces can show reflections. These reflections are obviously, screen-space reflections, meaning the game will only show reflection on surfaces that are in the player’s field of view.

This setting impacts the GPU the most. I recommend that you set Refection to High for Watch Dogs Legion.

Recommended: High

Depth Of Field, Motion Blur

Both of these settings don’t impact performance that much and their use depends on the players themselves if they want to use these effects.

Ambient Occlusion

Ambient Occlusion setting on Watch Dogs Legion adds soft shadows to nearby objects. This helps to make the overall scene realistic and grounded. I recommend that you keep it Off but if you don’t like how the graphics seem then enable it at the cost of some frames.

Recommended: Off

Post Process Anti-Aliasing

Players have three options to choose from for Post Process Anti-Aliasing in Watch Dogs Legion, FXAA, SMAA, and TAA. TAA is the best option to choose as it eliminates all aliasing in the game and doesn’t impact performance that much. SMAA doesn’t have the same result but impacts performance.

However, TAA can make the game look a bit soft. This can be fixed by enabling the Sharpening filter. Open Nvidia Control Panel > Manage 3D Settings > Program Setting > select Watch Dogs Legion. Enable Image Sharpening and set the intensity of it. I recommend that players keep the sharpening intensity to 0.5.

Recommended: TAA

Subsurface Scattering

Subsurface Scattering option controls how the in-game lighting interacts with surfaces like human skin. The higher the setting, the more realistic the surface will look. I recommend that you keep it at Low.

Recommended: Low

DLSS, Extra Details

DLSS or Deep Learning Super Sampling is an option only available for RTX GPUs and if you have one, then enable it if you are using Ray Traced Reflections.

As for Extra Details, this setting is tied to the Geometry graphics setting. This setting can only be used if Geometry is set to Ultra. Increasing the Extra Details slider will render objects at the highest Geometry level objects at a distance. The distance depends on how high you set the slider. I don’t recommend that using it as it will drop FPS.

Temporal Upscaling

Temporal Upscaling in Watch Dogs Legion is like the resolution scaler except, it allows players to render the game at a lower Resolution and then upscale it. Temporal Upscaling at 100% renders the game at native resolution. As the scaler is reduced, so does the render resolution.

This scaler is useful to boost performance and Post Process Anti-Aliasing needs to set at TAA. However, it will make the game look blurry and the low render resolution will be apparent while moving the camera. I would recommend that you keep it at 80 if you want to squeeze more FPS.

Recommended: 80

Optimized Settings For 60 FPS

Windowed Mode – Fullscreen
V-Sync – Force it through the GPU driver
Field Of View – 70
DirectX – 12
Geometry – High
Environment – Low
Texture Resolution – High
Texture Filtering – Ultra
Shadows – High/Medium
Headlight Shadows – 4 Cars
Reflections – High
Ambient Occlusion – Off
Post Process Anti-Aliasing – TAA
Subsurface Scattering – Low
DLSS – On for RTX GPUs
Extra Details – 0%
Temporal Upscaling – 80

Optimized Settings For 30 FPS

If you want a stable 30 FPS experience in Watch Dogs Legion then the following are the optimized settings for it. These setting I have tested on a Core i5-9400F, GTX 1060 6GB, and 16 GB of DDR4 2666 MHz RAM.

Windowed Mode – Fullscreen
V-Sync – Force it through the GPU driver
Field Of View – 70
DirectX – 12
Geometry – Ultra
Environment – Ultra
Texture Resolution – High
Texture Filtering – Ultra
Shadows – Very High
Headlight Shadows – 4 Cars
Reflections – Ultra
Motion Blur – On
Ambient Occlusion – On
Post Process Anti-Aliasing – TAA
Subsurface Scattering – High
Extra Details – 0%
Temporal Upscaling – 100

In the video below, you can see Watch Dogs Legion running on a GTX 1060 with optimized settings for 30 FPS. The GPU is clearly capable of handling the game at higher graphics settings.

Other Optimizations And Tweaks

Now that players know what each of the Watch Dogs Legion graphics settings does, there are other PC optimization that players can do to get closer to their 60 FPS target.

Nvidia Control Panel Tweaks
Open Nvidia Control Panel > Manage 3D Settings > Program Settings > select the game. Make the following changes and hit apply.

Anti-aliasing-FXAA – “Off”
Anti-aliasing-Gamma Correction – “Off”
CUDA GPUs – “All”
Low Latency Mode – Ultra.
Set Power Management to “Prefer Maximum Performance”
Shader Cache – “On” only if you are using an HDD. Don’t need to enable it for an SSD.
Set Texture filtering – Quality to “High Performance”
Triple Buffering – “Off”
Set Vertical Syn to “On”

Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling
You can turn this setting on in the graphics settings of windows. Provided that you have updated it to the latest version. This will improve performance in-game. If you have lower-end hardware or a laptop then you will it’s best to keep it off.

So if you experience performance degrading instead of boosting after enabling Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling then disable it.

To enable Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling, open Settings > System > Display > click Graphics Settings at the bottom and enable Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling and restart you PC.

That is all for our Watch Dogs Legion PC Optimization guide with tips on how to get 60 FPS at 1080p. If you are facing errors and issues with other PC games or your PC then also see our hub for commonly occurring PC errors and their fixes.

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