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Playing Resident Evil Village on the 24-inch iMac: Metal 3 is the understated game changer for macOS

By Aaron Yip - 10 Feb 2023

Playing Resident Evil Village on the 24-inch iMac: Metal 3 is the understated game changer for macOS

Recently, on my 24-inch Apple iMac (2022) that comes equipped with an 8-core GPU, I played Resident Evil Village, and it was awesome.

First off, I'll say that I'm firmly in the PC camp when it comes to high-end gaming and have long believed Macs aren't really designed to provide the kind of power that PC gamers get from their Intel, AMD and NVIDIA-powered machines.

But playing Resident Evil Village have made me reconsider.

And it’s not for the lack of effort on Apple’s part. At last year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), I was thrilled but still had my doubts when I heard that the Cupertino-based company would be releasing the newest Resident Evil game for Macs.

Playing it on the iMac, however, has left me convinced that games optimised for Apple's hardware can be just as good as those available for dedicated gaming PCs and laptops.

Given that I had already beaten Resident Evil Village on the PlayStation 5 in the middle of 2021 (you can check out our review of the game here), I was eager to see how well it would run on my iMac test unit when it was released. After playing through the prologue, I was pleased with both the performance and gameplay. I won't make a firm recommendation just yet, but I do think anyone with a Mac that comes with an M1 or M2 chip should give it a try.

Having used both PCs and Macs, my optimism extends to the industry as a whole. Now that Apple's silicon and the new API, Metal 3, for game developers are fully integrated, macOS Ventura can run games at the same quality as those found on Windows PCs. In order to render graphically intensive games without sacrificing performance, Metal 3 includes upscaling technologies like MetalFX Upscaling, Apple's answer to NVIDIA's DLSS. This can result in a dramatic increase in performance in some situations.

For example, simply activating MetalFX in Resident Evil Village would drastically change the feel of the experience. When entering Ethan's house, the FPS spiked dramatically, quickly reaching the low 150s at 1080p. When I started moving around, my frame rates dropped to the low 100s, which is still very good.

Apple's iMacs and MacBooks, powered by the company's technology, have a tonne of untapped potential in the gaming market, in my opinion. These computers' gaming performance has always been subpar despite their widespread adoption. Our M1 and M2 benchmark tests typically show that computers powered by Apple chips outperform those powered by Intel and AMD. But until recently, their gaming performance did not live up to their billing.

It appears Apple is trying to encourage more developers, especially triple-A developers, to make Mac games. It would be great if Macs could play new releases as soon as they came out, which would increase their popularity among gamers. I'm really excited to see what other games will be made available for Mac in the future, but Resident Evil Village is a great start.

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