Over the weekend, the PC version of May 2021 Resident Evil 8: Village has apparently been cracked and uploaded to various hacking repositories. In sadly unsurprising news, as with at least a few other cracked PC games in recent years, this stage version comes with a bonus that is currently only available to freeloaders: improved performance.
The cracked version of the game, attributed to the Empress publishing group, includes an “NFO” text file that cites two separate anti-piracy prevention measures: “Denuvo V11” and “Capcom Anti-Tamper V3”. While the NFO text includes its fair share of anti-Denuvo language, the Empress author’s technical breakdown indicates that the two systems working in concert are to blame:
All aspects of the game [sic] like when you kill a zombie are fixed because Capcom DRM entry points are fixed so that most of their functions are no longer performed. This results in a much smoother gaming experience. IT IS PURE CANCER AND ANYONE WHO ACCEPTS IT IS JUST A PATHETIC HUMAN SLAVE OF WASTE!
The messaging continues with a key clarification: Capcom’s DRM has been “completely hidden” in a Denuvo VM, making the game “even slower”.
More balls, less spikes
Although Ars Technica is, for obvious reasons, not in a position to perform comprehensive testing of RE8: V, we independently verified that the Empress version fixes at least one infamous issue with the existing retail version: spikes in frame times.
Ars has seen comparable scenarios unfold RE8: Von the same midrange gaming PC with a RivaTuner Statistics Server (RTSS) performance graph enabled. The retail version includes easily replicable scenarios where attacking an advancing zombie with a gun, something you do quite often in resident Evil games — may trigger a stutter that is visible on the screen. In other words, the image freezes for a noticeable moment before the game catches up, and this can be seen in the RTSS realtime graph as a spike. The same peaks do not appear when the same save file is loaded on the cracked version of the game.
It’s not clear whether either version enjoys a lead in other performance measures, and performance can obviously vary depending on hardware, drivers, and other factors. But the aforementioned test case ran on both versions of the game at 1080p resolution, an environment better suited to reveal CPU-related performance limits, and the cracked version showed, at least in the limited tests we looked at. , better distribution of its processor. workload on a 12-thread chip.
“The turning point in a gun game is shooting those guns”
Previously, DRM providers like Denuvo have loudly admitted the seeming inevitability of cracks appearing on a per-game basis. “Since every unprotected title gets cracked on release day, as well as every update to games, our solution made the difference, ”said Denuvo’s marketing director in 2017. Coincidentally, this admission came in the case of Resident Evil 7, the latest main entry in Capcom’s long-running horror series, whose Denuvo scheme was cracked less than a week after the game launched in retail.
Everything Capcom and Denuvo have come up with this time around seems to have eluded the crackers’ efforts for much longer. It may have been done at the cost of guaranteed smooth performance, with game analysts like Alex Battaglia of Digital Foundry slandering the PC version of the game. “That stutter honestly leaves a very bad first impression for this game, as the crucial moment of a first-person game with guns is to shoot those guns, ”Battaglia said shortly after. RE8: Vlaunch in May 2021. “If that isn’t satisfying very often when you do it, then the game is doing something wrong.”
Yet Denuvo has done enough work in recent years to rule out the obvious assumption that its DRM instantly causes a reduction in PC performance. Therefore, we made sure to get an independently verified test result before moving forward, although it may mean that some PC hardware combinations may work better with Capcom’s existing retail version.
Judgments, final or not
Capcom, like other game publishers, has finally updated some of its PC games with versions without Denuvo. In Capcom’s case, however, this typically doesn’t happen until the game in question reaches the end of its update lifecycle, especially in terms of post-launch DLC packs. At press time, RE8: V still has an unreleased DLC in the works. Capcom representatives did not immediately respond to Ars’ questions about whether RE8: VThe PC version of may receive a faster path to such an update thanks to this week’s Empress crack. [Update, July 14: Shortly after Digital Foundry posted its own comprehensive video about RE8:V performance, Capcom responded to my query, confirming that its developers are “currently looking into the reported PC performance issues.”]
A weird, stuttering, DRM-laden PC game could very well be better than any PC version at all, and that fact came to light on Monday when Japanese game creator and publisher Sega broke the news of a PC-related complication. His Judgement game series, a critically acclaimed spin-off from Yakuza, might not continue after the following Last judgement will launch later this year. The problem, according to reports, is that a real actor’s talent agency refuses to agree to terms that would bring the series to PC platforms like Steam.
List image by Capcom