Feral’s Latest Tomb Raider Port is Out

It’s been almost one year (Nov 18th 2018) that Feral announced the third episode of the new Tomb Raider trilogy, Shadow of Tomb Raider. It was announced for 2019 and I guess they achieved that goal while most of us probably expected the port to reach Linux earlier. Since the game had been playable on Proton for quite a while, it may not have mattered much for anyone who wanted to play the game on Linux. The only thing that is remotely interesting is: how well does the port perform vs Proton?

I am in the camp that any port that would perform just the same as Proton would be completely unacceptable in 2019. It had to be better, and the least we can say is that Feral has delivered on that promise. We have now several benchmarks available:

Here’s another one below comparing with the Windows performance as well on DX11 and DX12.

There is one thing that seems a little weird in both videos. The framerate on Proton drops significantly in the village scene, which makes it look much worse in that particular area. This affects also VKD3D. I wonder if this is a fair comparison. It is well known that Proton and VKD3D will recompile shaders on the fly the first time they are needed, and this will result in poorer performance when it occurs. However, the same sequence would run much faster the second time around, so whether or not the benchmark was run the first time or multiple times is a critical piece of information that is missing form both videos’ information. One of the videos shows that the GPU usage is dropping in such sequences for Proton and VKD3D – would this be related to shader recompilation?

If they can take at face value, this means:

  • Feral’s port is faster than Proton in some scenes, and pretty much equal in others. The benchmark puts the native version ahead.
  • Feral’s port is very close to the Windows performance in DX11, while slightly slower than Windows with DX12.

Which is a nice improvement over their previous ports! Especially the first Tomb Raider had relatively poor performance at release. I don’t think any of their previous ports were that close to Windows performance until now.

Note that it seems that the “native” port does not have all the graphical settings available on Windows (whether that makes a visible difference in the end is probably a different question).

I will probably write a review of the game at some point, but I was not too impressed with the second opus.

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