I’ve played Resident Evil Village on a MacBook Pro 16-inch and it was glorious.
That’s a strange thing for me to write considering how Macs haven’t exactly been the home of high-end gaming. During WWDC 2022, Apple announced that the latest entry in Capcom’s Survival Horror franchise was coming to Macs. While that was certainly interesting, I remained skeptical. Seeing No Man’s Sky running on an M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro finally gave me hope for Mac gaming.
Now, Resident Evil Village has made me a believer. Gaming on Macs can be just as good as on the best gaming PCs or best gaming laptops, provided developers actually optimize their titles for Apple’s computers.
I played and finished Resident Evil Village on PS5 when it originally launched in May 2021. Because of that, I was extremely curious to see how well it ran on a Mac. After spending some time playing through the introduction, I have to say I’m very impressed with how it runs and plays.
It’s too early for me to say whether or not this is the ideal way to play Resident Evil Village. But if you have a Mac packing an M1 chip or M2 chip, it’s well worth checking out. Here are my thoughts on Resident Evil Village on a MacBook Pro and my overall thoughts on the future of Mac gaming.
When combined with Apple silicon, proper PC-level gaming is possible on macOS Ventura thanks to Metal 3, which is Apple’s new application programming interface (API) for game developers. Metal 3 offers upscaling tools to render impressive graphics without taking a huge hit on performance. In fact, it can substantially improve performance.
One such tool is MetalFX Upscaling, which is effectively Apple’s answer to Nvidia DLSS, which uses AI to render graphically intensive games without melting your GPU. Apple has a page dedicated to all things Metal (opens in new tab). There are also a slew of videos (opens in new tab) for developers who want to use Metal 3 to create games.
Suffice it to say that Apple hopes the updated API and its tools help entice more developers — specifically “AAA” developers — to make games for Macs. This should hopefully make Macs more viable gaming machines that also get marque games at launch.
Resident Evil Village on Mac
I played Resident Evil Village on a MacBook Pro 16-inch packing an M1 Max chip and 64GB of RAM. I selected “Prioritize Graphics” in the display settings since this setting (which maxes out at 2560 x 1440 resolution), is best for machines with an M1 Max chip, according to the company.
Using Apple Terminal, I enabled the Metal Performance HUD, which is a developer tool used to measure a game’s metrics. This allowed me to see how well Resident Evil Village performs both with and without MetalFX enabled. Basically, it’s similar to the performance overlays found on Steam and the Nvidia GeForce Experience, only more involved.
Without MetalFX enabled, I saw frame rates hover in the low 100s while I walked around the main protagonist’s home (Ethan Winters) during the intro. Later, when the game shifted to a dark, snow-covered mountain, frame rates fluctuated more dramatically — dipping into the low 70s at worst. Still, those are very impressive numbers with MetalFX off.
Saying I was shocked when I enabled MetalFX is an understatement. In Ethan’s home, frame rates instantly jumped into the low 200s. They dropped to the 150s when I began walking around, but those are still very high frame rates. Frames dipped into the upper 80s when traversing the mountain, but I’m not complaining.
I should note that performance didn’t take a hit when I unplugged the Magsafe cable from the MacBook Pro. Typically, frame rates drop substantially on gaming laptops when you unplug, but that wasn’t the case here. And though I didn’t play for extended periods of time, I never once heard the MacBook Pro’s fans kick in, nor did the laptop ever get warm. Considering how some gaming notebooks start to sound like jet engines seconds after booting up a game, this is a huge win.
The future of Mac gaming looks bright
I’ve always felt that Apple computers powered by the company’s silicon were squandering their gaming potential. As our M1 benchmark and M2 benchmark tests have repeatedly demonstrated, machines with Apple silicon often outperform those running on Intel and AMD. However, gaming performance was always a huge disappointment. I now see that this doesn’t always have to be the norm.
No Man’s Sky and Resident Evil Village prove that modern “AAA” gaming is possible on Macs so long as Apple and third-party developers work together to optimize titles. If more developers make use of Metal 3 and Apple’s powerful processors, I see a bright future for Mac gaming. That may not happen for some time, but I like where things are going.
Resident Evil Village is now available on the Mac App Store.