The Matrix Awakens (An Unreal Engine 5 Experience) (Xbox Series X|S, PS5)

It takes a lot for visuals to wow me these days, but this is incredibly impressive. Not just the leap in visual realism, but the vast draw distance compared to previous generations. Flying high above the buildings and looking out across the city and still being able to see traffic zipping along the roads way, way in the distance … wow. Even more excited to see the first UE5 games on Series X now.

No, just the speakers.

Pretty damn impressive stuff. The thing that it really gets me excited about is the fidelity that is going to be possible on a smaller scale survival horror type experience.

I won’t lie but playing this on the Series S is one of the first times this gen where i’ve had that genuine “holy shit” moment. Yes you can tell in certain scenes which characters are the in game models (it’s the eyes and slightly stilted animation) but the fact we’re almost debating which ones are real is testament to how incredible the models look. The city environment as well just looks amazing. If i were Sony or Microsoft i’d be shouting out loud about this all over social media to say “this is what our consoles are capable of (especially the Series S)”.

The only disappointment i have is this isn’t a teaser or anything for a fully fledged next gen Matrix game. Seeing everything in the tech demo you can’t help but feel how awesome a full game it could potentially end up being. If the new film is a success then i guess there’s a chance we may see a new game greenlit.

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very good thread

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Weta worked on it too?! The team who famously just were bought by Unity? Huh.

Wow that is some really great insight/points made there! Thanks for sharing!

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So do other engines like idtech have the ability to match this?

So…after playing around in the demo a decent amount tonight I am…not nearly as impressed as everyone else is. Framerate is super duper bad, the TSR is rough around the edges (literally, as is typical of temporal solns), the buildings are places really, really sloppily and there is a TON of copypasta with them and the cars.

The good stuff is the various lighting methods (RT, SSR, Lumen) coming together to give a very filmic quality look in most cases (but not all). The physics for car collisions is maybe the best I’ve seen in a game and it is really clever how they pulled it off. That said, there is no actual interaction with anything outside of driving cars and crashing them into other cars.

Match it in what? Idtech is one of the most brilliant engines out there, getting crazy consistent performance for great visual fidelity, physical interactions, and image quality. It probably won’t match it in having film quality assets and that stuff, and it doesn’t have to.

The demo does look super realistic and impressive technically, but just boring to look at. Like ok? That’s so realistic it’s boring. I hope UE5 doesn’t make more games just look like that, realistic but bland af. I know, I know, it’s just a demo…

I have seen some and they just use conventional techniques for vegetation and not UE5s new hot stuff like Nanite.

The shirt and its (non existing) wrinkles and movements are a dead give away. Good natural cloth physics are not there yet.


I didn’t even find it all that mindblowing visually wrt realism. The characters looked great, but animated awkwardly and got stuck on geometry quite often and if you stop to actually look at the buildings you see they are copypasta and even overlapped many times. If viewed at a glance, it looks totally photoreal and believable, but if ya imagine a game in that setting that illusion would fall apart really fast.

I think most of these are artefacts of the procedural production process. Similar things can be noticed in other Houdini open worlds like Spiderman. But the player probably doesn’t notice it really because he is preoccupied with other stuff. But here its the central aspect of the demo.

Lumen and No visible pop-in thanks to Nanite are the only things which impress. It’s a demo for a reason.

I’m gonna thank you for the thanks. It made me read that thread, and it is indeed quite insightful. Thanks obviously also to @Ruthwik_Rao

For those unwilling to click through, the main takeaway (to me) is that Epic seems to want to create a massive asset library, thereby enabling smaller devs to make games with larger scopes. Meaning the type of games that previously were limited to large AAA players, might now be cheaper to make, and therefore within reach of the smaller players.

But don’t take my word for it, read that thread. He makes some good analogies and explains it well.


I think it looks ridiculously impressive but the frame rate sucks and there is a lot of jank. I’m not going to judge it for jank though, since it’s a demo.

It’s also pretty cool that they are shipping the source and assets for the demo with UE5.

Some additional context around the demo from an Epic engineer who posts on B3D, the main point being in the 3rd paragraph @ Unreal Engine 5 Tech Demo, General Availability 2022 Q1 | Page 145 | Beyond3D Forum

They state what they consider to be the main point of the demo and why they included the other aspects of it, which many are less impressed about: “the rest of it is proof of concept level stuff to convince folks that none of this is being faked.

Sure but like… this is not trying to be a full AAA open world game, which would require a much larger team and a much larger amount of time. It is trying to show that you could make a AAA open world in Unreal Engine 5. I don’t really think they ever pitched it as anything other than a tech demo so I must admit I’m puzzled by all the comparisons of the form “but it doesn’t have all these features that a full AAA game does”.

The pivot to foliage is also a little weird to me. Sure foliage is another problem in and of itself, but obviously you could have ‘regular game amounts of foliage’ in UE5 because you can already have that in UE4. But there’s not a lot of foliage in the Matrix movies either… When they release the assets feel free to just go drop some of your own in the scene, but I’m not sure why anyone would expect typical game foliage would be a particular problem. Certainly dense forests is something that would be great to handle even better in the future, but you can’t do everything in every demo, nor would you really even want to I think.

Whether or not you personally care about fully dynamic lighting on an open-world-sized scene with extremely high levels of detail and minimal pop-in, I assume most people can admit this is something that a lot of people - and specifically developers - do care about. Obviously I’m biased, but that to me is the main achievement of this demo; the rest of it is proof of concept level stuff to convince folks that none of this is being faked.

Also some additional info summary about the frame rate issues from a different poster, copied from B3D @ Unreal Engine 5 Tech Demo, General Availability 2022 Q1 | Page 148 | Beyond3D Forum

So it seems the culprit for the major fps drops in the demo is the work in progress in streaming assets and assets initiation on the CPU, as well as deformation of nanite meshes. They said they will fix it soon enough. Also they stressed out that Nanite streams in data 10MB/s in the open world, an HDD could very well service that.


yeah, Nanite is not optimized for vegetation yet, it’s the reason why every UE5 demo is located in some desert/dry-ass area.