M1 Mac games tested: The Witcher 3, Hitman 2, Skyrim and more

The new Macs featuring Apple’s M1 chip support CrossOver 20 for running a few Windows games. CrossOver is based on the open-source Wine project that allows users to run some 32-bit Windows games and apps on Linux and macOS. This removes the need to install Windows to run these apps.

A YouTube video was posted earlier this week by MrMacRight in which he tested 15 different Windows games on Apple M1 Mac. The games were tested under CrossOver 20 and Parallels 16.

Parallels for M1 Mac - Windows games

Testing various Windows games on Apple M1 Mac

A number of games were tested by the YouTuber like Hitman 2, Phasmophobia, Battlefield 3, The Witcher 3, Resident Evil 3, and more. Not every game provided the best response in regards to graphics and FPS. Read on to find out more about how the experience was:

The Witcher 3

witcher 3 - windows games

The test started with the Witcher 3, as it is one of the most requested games. The Witcher part 1 and 2 were ported to Mac previously but there was no word on the 3rd part of the series. However, the game can be played on Apple M1 Mac and it runs pretty much smoothly.

The resolution was set at 1080p with medium settings. 30 fps was locked manually through settings which allowed the game to avoid major lag spikes and provide consistent frame rates.

Metro Exodus

metro exodus - windows games

The second game to be tested was Metro Exodus, with resolution locked at 1080p, low graphics, and the frame rate was somewhere between 20-40 fps. Lag spikes and stuttering could be seen in areas with complex geometry, however, they were minor.

Granted the performance is not ideal or amazing, but let’s not forget that it is not a native port and was running on a fanless laptop. Metro Exodus might arrive to Mac natively in the future as there was a macOS port spotted on Steam. This makes sense as Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light already have native Mac ports.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Halo - windows games

Parallels 16 includes a lot of amazing new features including OpenGL and DirectX 11 improvements that allow the users to play high-end games easily. Halo: Combat Evolved’s graphics can be toggled between remastered graphics in the anniversary edition and the graphics from the original Halo campaign.

When playing with remastered graphics for Halo, the frame rates struggled quite a lot when it came to challenging scenarios. With the original graphics, it produces a consistent 60 fps with no visual bugs. Do note that in order to run Halo: Combat Evolved, a user must have the anti-cheats disabled.

Phasmophobia

phasmophobia - windows games

Phasmophobia was working on Parallels 16 with 1080p, high quality preset and 60 fps on average. Despite the high fps, the game stutters a lot when you first start the game. It takes a minute or more to become stable and then it is playable. It is an early access game running under a preview version of Windows 10 and a technical preview of Parallels 16. The game failed to launch on CrossOver 20.

Hitman 2

hitman 2 - windows games

Even though the graphics for Hitman are gorgeuos, the game does not demand much from the user’s system, quite like the first part of the franchise. The game is very well optimised for low-end hardware. On a Macbook Air and Mac Mini, the game can be run at 1080p, and medium settings. However, there are some graphical issues from time to time.

If someone is interested in playing Hitman 2, the first mission is available for free on Steam.

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition - windows games
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition never saw a modern macOS version, which is why CrossOver 20 is the way to go on Apple M1. The game runs smoothly which does not come as a surprise.

The game is not demanding at all, even with support for improved graphics. At 1080p, the game produced 60 fps on average. It also has an in-game fps counter that can be enabled by pressing F11 twice.

World War Z

world war z - windows games

Next game to be tested in Parallel 16 was World War Z. The performance seemed to be very terrible. The frame rate was brought down to 30 fps, along with a resolution of 720p, and the graphics preset was on medium.

At times, the frame rates were consistent, but then it would become borderline unplayable randomly. It takes a lot of time to load something in World War Z. MrMacRight assigned eight processors and four gigabytes of memory initially, and then he tried assigning the whole eight gigabytes which resulted in ‘a buggy mess.’

According to Parallels, allocating too much ram to a game can run the risk of starving your Mac of ram, which could result in your Mac running slower.

Mafia II: Definitive Edition

Mafia 2 - windows games

This game is known to be a bit buggy on Windows PCs. Running the game on Apple M1, the game ran ‘okay’. The game ran at 1080p with medium settings, and frame rates varied from 30-60 fps.

Mafia II: Definitive Edition can not be run via Steam. You have to do a small fix in the root folder. The original Mafia II had a Mac version and was very well optimised, but it was removed from App Store due to being a 32-bit game and not supported on modern macOS systems.

Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil 3 - windows games

To get Resident Evil 3 to work in CrossOver, the user must have the game save that is beyond the opening cinematic. If that is not the case, and someone starts a new game, then it will crash completely. 

The game was played at 1080p with a balanced preset. The game gets around to 60 fps on average when inside a building and can drop down to 30 fps when venturing outside. There were graphical errors/glitches spotted where textures popped in and out as the player moves around.

Grand Theft Auto V

Gta V - windows games

Rockstar’s GTA V is probably one of the most requested games on Apple M1. It works well with Parallels 16. Do note that, the game performance was equal to the game running on Xbox 360 or PS3. When the resolution was set to 720p with medium settings, the game proved to be ‘stuttery’ but then it sorted itself out after a few minutes or so at 30 fps.

Grand Theft Auto V does not work on CrossOver 20 currently because the Rockstar launcher does not work correctly.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice - windows games

This is the highly acclaimed action RPG from 2019. MrMacRight ran the game at 720p with the graphics settings turned down to their lowest quality. The frame rate proved to be fairly consistent with no visual artificats or anything of the kind. 

If Sekiro was to be ported natively, it would work great as the hardware here is relatively stronger than that of Nintendo Switch’s.

Warframe

warframe - windows games

It is a free action game, which did not launch in CrossOver 20. The game managed to launch successfully through Parallels. The game was launched at 900p, medium settings, with average 60 fps, and a few stutters during combat.

Initially, the performance was very poor for five minutes or so, then the game becomes stable which is the case for many Windows games running in Parallels, like GTA V. The game also shows awful visual bugs.

Battlefield 3

battlefield 3 - windows games

Battlefield 3 launched successfully via Parallels. It was running at 1600×900, 900p, and medium settings. The game shows fps via the console. To access that press the Tilde Key, type Render.DrawFps 1, hit Enter.

Battlefied 3 managed to go from 20 to 40 fps in the specific scene which was tested. 

Project Cars 2 Demo

Project Cars 2 - windows games

The demo version seemed to be working pretty fine, while not knowing if the full game would work just as well. The demo is a good representative of the full game, consisting of three scenarios, two track variations, and three cars.

To get the best performance at 1080p, the settings comprised of both medium and low presets. If all the graphics settings were turned to medium the game would show graphical glitches. 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition - windows games

Except for Mac, Skyrim is available on every modern gaming platform. Maybe porting the game proved to be very expensive for macOS. Skyrim Special Edition was able to run under CrossOver.

Even though back in November, CrossOver updated the software version with changes made to fix graphical issues, the issues still remain. The game was originally a 7th gen console game and apart from the continuous glitches, it ran pretty smoothly.  

The list for the games that did not work, unfortunately, are:

  1. Apex Legends
  2. Call of Duty: Warzone
  3. Destiny 2
  4. Valorant
  5. Overwatch
  6. Fall Guys
  7. TheDawn
  8. Amnesia: Rebirth
  9. We Went Back
  10. Control
  11. Star Wars: Battlefront 2
  12. Planetside 2
  13. Watch Dogs
  14. Kingdom Come Deliverance
  15. DayZ

The full video by MrMacRight can be seen here:

Let us know in the comments which Windows games you would like to try on Apple M1. 

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About the Author

Gaming editor at iThinkDiff