Nier: Automata is better on Xbox Game Pass PC than on Steam, it has emerged.
The PC version of Nier: Automata that launched into Xbox Game Pass this week is a port of the Nier: Automata Become as Gods Edition that launched on Xbox One in 2018 with the DLC thrown in.
This port, handled by developer QLOC, includes a number of enhancements, such as a borderless video setting, FidelityFX options, HDR, and user interface textures upscaled to 4k. The borderless video setting is particularly welcome - it means Nier: Automata runs at the right resolution when it boots. In a post on Facebook, QLOC said these enhancements were made "on special request from PlatinumGames".
The "vanilla" PC version of Nier: Automata that launched on Steam in March 2017 was roundly criticised for performance and technical issues. For example, for some reason the Steam game boots to a 4:3-like image regardless of which resolution is selected. While modders quickly stepped up to fix some of the glaring issues, Digital Foundry lamented what it called "amateurish issues" that "mar what could have been one of Platinum's best PC games".
The video below from Digital Foundry goes into more detail.
Some Steam owners of Nier: Automata have left negative reviews to complain about the lack of an update to their version of the game. At the time of publication, 281 negative reviews had been left in the last three days - and they're almost all a reaction to the better PC version out now on Xbox Game Pass.
"After letting the Steam port languish for four years Square Enix did the impossible: they put a better version of the game on Game Pass PC with FidelityFX, HDR, borderless mode, and improved performance while doing absolutely nothing about the pre-existing version," read a review by Steam user "yellowcake".
"I used mods like the far mod so that the game would run better and be more stable," said Steam user Fish and Chips in yet another negative review. "Was lucky that it ran without issue on my system, and was able to enjoy a great game with a solid story.
"However, the Microsoft Store of the version is patched and runs better, so I recommend playing it through Game Pass instead for the least problematic experience that is least likely to interrupt your gameplay session.
"So now that there is an option that has you spending less money to play the game, and actually runs better it is hard to recommend this version of the game. Take advantage of the Game Pass trial and save the money unless this game finally gets updated."
Meanwhile, it has emerged that The Evil Within contains a number of enhancements on Xbox Game Pass PC the Steam version does not.
The Evil Within speedrunner Jigzaw_Killer described the recently-released Xbox Game Pass version of Tango Gameworks' horror adventure as "basically a stealth remaster", and reported it has a first-person mode, a field of view option, an infinite ammo mode, low and medium options for the camera bob and even an adjustment to the stamina mechanic.
Review bombing is currently less of an issue with The Evil Within on Steam - that game did not suffer from severe technical issues at launch. But negative reviews have begun to creep in recently.
"This is one of my favourite games, I've beaten Akumu with no upgrades even though I died 200 times at the start of chapter 6, I love it that much," Steam user Not Guilty said. "But this version is outdated and won't ever be updated so never buy a Bethesda game until they fix their ways."
It's a curious situation that has yet to be explained by Square Enix, Bethesda or Microsoft.