Best Games With Built-in Benchmarks 2021

Best Games With Built In Benchmarks

There’s something so satisfying about performing your own benchmark tests as a PC gamer.

After all, benchmarks are a great way to gauge how a specific game will run on your machine and provide insight into which games your rig can handle. 

While there are plenty of websites and software dedicated to benchmark testing, most require you to spend money that’s better spent on actual video games.

A creative solution is to seek out the best games with built-in benchmarks and see how they run on your gaming PC in real-time.

In this list, we’ll be highlighting games with the best built-in benchmarks, including free games with built-in benchmarks and some paid ones you likely already own.

By the end, you should have more than enough games to choose from for all your benchmark testing needs.

Make sure to check back in the future as we continue to update this list with new games!

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Free Games With Built-in Benchmarks

If you’re looking to benchmark your PC but don’t want to shell out any cash, then the following free games should do you just fine.

We’ve listed them in order of release year and linked to the Steam or homepage for their respective benchmarking tools.

We should point out that some games will require you to install the full game before accessing benchmarking options via a launcher or in-game menu.

Note: Wiggly Boy isn’t technically free but instead costs $1.

Paid Games With Built-in Benchmarks

The rest of this list will primarily focus on more recent games with built-in benchmarking tools and games that frequently go on sale or are playable through gaming subscription services.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong game to use for benchmarking, but there are games with better built-in tools than others.

Lastly, before purchasing any of the following games, make sure your PC meets their minimum specification requirements.

Immortals Fenyx Rising

Immortals Fenyx Rising

Ubisoft is known to include benchmarking options in the majority of their games, including their latest Assassin’s-Creed-meets-Zelda open-world RPG, Immortals Fenyx Rising.

In it, you play as a hero who gets called upon by the Greek gods to defeat Typhon, a mighty Titan with an army of mythological monsters that have taken over the world. 

While it’s highly stylized, cartoony visuals may not seem that technically demanding at first, the game’s graphics become strikingly detailed when running on High, Very High, and Ultra presets.

Additionally, it features a ton of settings to experiment with during stress tests, including depth of field, motion blur, and ambient occlusion.

Borderlands 3 Steam

Borderlands 3

Although Borderlands 3’s unfriendly DRM can make it a pain to play casually, it’s beneficial for benchmark tests, especially if you want to see what your CPU can handle.

The game is set seven years after Borderlands 2 on the planet Pandora, a barren wasteland rumored to contain hidden vaults filled with treasure and advanced technology all throughout.

Like most modern PC releases, it includes several graphics presets tailored for low to high-end machines in addition to various sliders that allow you to optimize performance on your machine.

Lastly, since the game runs on Unreal Engine 4, it can support RTX-enabled GPUs and path tracing via Microsoft’s DirectX Raytracing.

Watch Dogs Legion

Watch Dogs: Legion

If Immortals’ hyper-stylized vistas aren’t cutting it, you may want to boot up another Ubisoft game that boasts ray-tracing support.

Watch Dogs: Legion has you attempting to liberate London from a corrupt private military group by recruiting playable NPCs with unique skills that allow them to infiltrate enemy HQs and cause mayhem.

Ubisoft really went out of their way to create a detailed recreation of modern-day London, complete with all of the puddles and wet surfaces you’d typically encounter in Big Ben’s home.

As a result, it ends up being the perfect showcase for RTX-enabled graphics cards that can squeeze out extra details from light and water reflections on cars, windows, and city-streets.

F1 2020

F1 2020

It should be no surprise that racing games are actually great for benchmarking since they’re typically used for graphical showcases.

If you’re looking for a recent racing sim to run performance tests, F1 2020 is a good pick since it requires a reasonably powerful PC to run smoothly.

This mainly comes down to the game’s notoriously detailed physics engine and a wide selection of real-world tracks that have been masterfully recreated in-game.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar games don’t fare as well when it comes to their PC versions, with Red Dead Redemption 2 being the worst offender to date.

Despite offering hitchless performance on consoles, the PC port was ridden with bugs and plagued by performance issues that persisted even on high-end graphics cards.  

While Rockstar has stepped things up in this regard, you’ll want to make sure your rig is up to snuff before venturing into Red Dead 2’s lovingly detailed open-world by running your own tests.

Red Dead 2 includes a surprisingly-detailed benchmark tool with a single caveat: it takes 5 minutes to perform a single test and even longer if you’ve got multiple GPUs at higher resolutions.

Dirt 5

Dirt 5

Dirt 5 is another racing sim with a built-in benchmarking tool that provides a detailed breakdown of the game’s performance based on three-minute blocks of gameplay.

Once the benchmarking test is complete, the evaluation summary gets saved as a separate file on your PC, allowing you to run multiple tests and compare each one.

While Dirt 5’s graphics may not be as visually-striking as F1 2020’s, the render quality of vehicles is relatively high compared to other games in the genre.

There are also environmental weather conditions to consider, such as raindrops, dirt, etc., which can impact performance.

Horizon Zero Dawn 2

Horizon Zero Dawn

Sony doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to porting over their first-party games, so it wasn’t surprising to see Horizon Zero Dawn launch in such a messy state on Steam.

Of course, this also makes it a suitable candidate for benchmark testing; after all, if your PC can run such a poorly optimized game with decent results, imagine what it can do with correctly formatted ones. 

In it, you play as Aloy, an outsider with a mysterious past who tries to prove her worth by taming and defeating mechanical beasts.

While Sony has continued to push out updates to get the game running better, Horizon Zero Dawn will always be demanding, especially if you don’t have a newer graphics card.

Metro Exodus

Metro Exodus

Leading up to its release, Metro Exodus was touted as one of the true next-gen experiences, which may not mean much to PC gamers but is a good indicator of the game’s technical prowess.

Considering you’ll need a reasonably beefy machine to get consistent fps, it’s also an ideal pick for benchmark testing.

In the graphics settings, you can find options for DirectX, gamma, motion blur, tessellation, texture filtering, and V-Sync, to name a few.

If you’re running an RTX-enabled GPU, this is the first game you should benchmark since it does a great job of showcasing the technology.

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4

The last racing game we’ll be highlighting is Forza Horizon 4, which continues to be one of the best additions to the Xbox Game Pass library.

Building off of its predecessors, the game features a vast fully-explorable open-world filled with gorgeous vistas, cool weather effects, and a variety of racing events to compete in.

These competitions provide the perfect opportunity to see what your gaming PC can do by running some performance tests using Forza Horizon 4’s built-in benchmarking tool.

Hitman 2

Hitman 2

Accessing Hitman 2’s benchmark tool involves scrolling through the game’s local files on your PC until you find “EngineBenchmark.”

By default, it uses the Miami level on the highest graphical setting, though you can change this by editing the batch file.

It’s an excellent showcase for Hitman 2’s engaging sandbox level designs, which are grander in scale than the first Hitman’s and feature new disguises, win conditions, and ways to cause chaos.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Along with Metro Exodus, Shadow of the Tomb Raider has become one of the go-to games for benchmarking, mainly due to its lovingly detailed environments and atmospheric setting.

It also happens to include more comprehensive graphics options than previous games in the series, as well as a built-in benchmarking tool that analyzes three-minute blocks of gameplay.

Best Settings For Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Optimize FPS, Boost Performance

While three-minute intervals are a bit overkill for benchmarking, the amount of info you get is worth the trouble of sitting through that much time.

Unlike many other built-in benchmarks, Shadow’s offers various camera perspectives and environment types to compare results using an fps chart, frame graphics, and a summarized report.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed games can always be relied on for performance testing, mainly because they’re usually very poorly optimized for PC, especially at launch.

Simultaneously, the series has offered consistently photorealistic graphics that continue to improve with each new installment, including Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Combine these two factors, and you have yourself the recipe for a handy benchmarking game that will look good and put your PC through the wringer.

It’s a testament to Ubisoft’s ability to turn ancient, sometimes even mythological, locations into immersive sandboxes that are only partially stifled by a few technical hiccups.

For Honor

For Honor

Since many of Ubisoft’s games run on the same engine and include their own benchmarking tools, we thought we’d highlight one that often goes on sale.

For Honor is a third-person arena fighter in which you play as a Knight, Viking, or Samurai, and face-off against other players and AI enemies throughout various online modes.

The PC port is surprisingly well optimized and includes a hefty amount of graphics settings to mess around with, including texture filtering,      dynamic reflections, and ambient occlusion.

Combine all this with action-packed multiplayer battles, and you have all the makings for a benchmark tester’s dream game.

Deus Ex Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Another benchmarking game that can be picked up for dirt cheap is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which sometimes goes on sale for as low as five bucks.

Aside from being well optimized for PC, it includes several graphical presets you can swap between and stress test using the game’s built-in benchmark tool.

The tool is hidden in the game’s Extras menu and records 90-second chunks of gameplay before analyzing the footage and presenting it to you as a detailed summary.

Grand Theft Auto 5

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V’s benchmarking tool can be a bit of a hassle to use right out of the box since the game requires you to complete Franklin’s first story mission before it works properly.

However, once you’re able to access it, you’ll find there are a decent amount of graphics options you can tweak prior to initiating a stress test.

The benchmark offers five unique scenes throughout Los Santos’ open-world that reflect actual gameplay scenarios.

Considering GTA games are very dynamic in weather, NPC behavior, traffic, etc., you’ll want to run several tests and calculate an average for the best results.

Middle Earth - Shadow of Mordor

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

There’s a possibility you already own a copy of Shadow of Mordor either through a Humble Bundle or a random Steam sale bundle.

Even though it was released in 2014, the game is still one of the preferred titles for benchmarking and even comes with its own tool.

And since it’s a slightly older video game, your GPU stands a better chance of being able to run it on the highest settings.

Just remember to manually download and install the Shadow of Mordor texture package from Steam before using the Ultra preset; otherwise, you may run into some image errors.

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As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.