The new Dead Space is a great remake (opens in new tab) of a survival horror classic. I have few complaints about my first 90 minutes of necromorph chopping on PC: It’s grand, gorgeous, gorey, and maybe a little too easy on default difficulty. But up until yesterday’s 1.03 patch (opens in new tab), it also had one annoying graphical flaw—forced variable rate shading (opens in new tab) (VRS) that created fuzzy, flickering textures in the darker corners of the Ishimura.
Digital Foundry specifically called out Dead Space’s problems with VRS in an in-depth technical analysis video. Just a day later, EA has already issued a patch allowing PC players to turn off VRS entirely and disabled it on consoles. In fact, the option now appears to be off by default on PC.
Honestly, I can barely spot the difference on my setup. The game definitely looks better with VRS off, but whether or not it’s noticeably fuzzy at all on PC is mostly up to what other graphical tricks you have turned on. As pointed out by this helpful comparison video (opens in new tab) by YouTuber Sholva, the fuzzy VRS textures were at their most noticeable in combination with DLSS Performance mode.
That makes sense, considering you’re stacking two different performance-optimizing technical solutions on top of each other. VRS was rendering some parts of the screen at lower fidelity, which DLSS Performance mode exacerbated when upscaling, creating some major pixelation on some edges. I have DLSS set to Quality and didn’t notice nearly as much blurriness with VRS enabled, if any at all, but it did become more obvious with standard TAA antialiasing.
Suffice to say Dead Space is probably going to look very good at whatever configuration you’re running at. VRS may boost your average fps by single digits, but you can comfortably keep it off for cleaner textures and de-fuzzed dark corners, especially if you’re running DLSS at the same time. As for the PS5 version, which is primarily the version that Digital Foundry highlighted VRS issues with in its video, DF staff writer John Linneman reports it’s much improved (opens in new tab) after patch 1.03.