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List of Games That No Longer Run on AMD Phenom



Note: I do have just enough self-awareness to file this story under our historical category, Time Machine.

There is a tiny, though increasing, category of PC platform video game ports: Games that no longer run on AMD’s Phenom AM2/3 CPUs. There is a simple reason why, shared by all these games: They have been programmed to require CPU support for Intel’s SSE 4 (“Streaming SIMD Extensions 4”) instruction set, version 4.1 or higher.


The Phenom CPUs, however, only support SSE up to 4.0. This is the simple reason why some games, older and newer, fail to start on Phenom processors. As a surprise to absolutely no-one, I am one of these last Phenom survivors affected by this issue.

Phenomenal Legacy

AMD produced Phenoms from 2007 to 2008, and Phenom II’s from 2008 to 2012. It’s now 2017, but to everyone’s surprise, these processors are still surprisingly feisty. The final Phenom II processors produced do not pale, much if at all, in comparison to AMD’s follow-up 2011 FX series – a fact that obviously has much to do with AMD’s failures at CPU development. After all, AMD is only finally beginning to catch up to Intel with the new Ryzen architecture released this year. Back in 2008, however, the Phenom was a competitively priced, powerful alternative to almost everything Intel was offering.

Admittedly, it’s been seven years since the Sep 21, 2010 introduction date of my AMD Phenom II X4 970 BE, but I’ve managed to hold on to it just fine. You may be surprised to hear it still runs all most new games today. I won’t bore you with the details, given this is an article for the like-minded, but I just tried out three games on the Phenom-hating list: Dishonored 2, and Mafia 3, both which run easily around 60fps in high detail after being patched by developers, and Dead Rising 4, which doesn’t boot at all without SSE emulation (see below). Other new games, like Prey, work equally well.

I know 60fps isn’t great, or even good, but it’s not bad, either. Heck, I played the original Half-Life 2 on an Nvidia GeForce 2 MX GPU. That’s bad.

List of Games Not Supporting AMD Phenom at Launch

Below, I have compiled a list of PC ports that did not outright run on AMD Phenom CPUs. I’ve compiled information of current with patch notes and developer responses. The current list includes the following games:

  • Agents of Mayhem,
  • Dead Rising 4,
  • Dishonored 2,
  • Mafia 3,
  • Earth Defense Force,
  • No Man’s Sky

If there are any other examples of this issue, please let me know in the comments section. If you do happen to bump into a new game that doesn’t run on your Phenom, you can test if SSE support is to blame by running it through Intel’s Software Development Emulator. Simply install the SDE package into a subfolder inside your game folder, and launch the game via the emulator in an administrative command prompt.

Agents of Mayhem: Released 15 Aug, 2017. Volition responds that Phenom users will “not be able to run the game”:

Are CPUs without SSE 4.1/4.2 supported?


AM2/AM3 socket CPUs like the AMD Phenom class (and lower) do not have SSE 4.1/4.2 support and are below minimum requirements. They will not be able run the game.

Dead Rising 4: Released 14 Mar, 2017.

No response, at all, from Capcom to date.

Dishonored 2: Released 11 Nov, 2016. Fixed on 14 December, 2016, in Game Update 1:

Game now runs on Phenom processor

Earth Defense Force: Released 19 Jul, 2016, Fixed on 4 August, 2016:

-Fixed an issue with AMD Phenom II (non-SSE4.1 CPUs)

Mafia 3: Released 7 Oct, 2016. Developers confirm on 6 Jan 2017 that a hotfix has been released:

have you tried recently? Our latest patch also hotfixed the SSE 4.1/4.2 issue for many users

— Hangar 13 (@Hangar13Games) January 6, 2017


Fixed day 1.

No Man’s Sky: Released 12 Aug, 2016. Fixed on 20 August, 2016, in Patch 1.04:

AMD Phenom Support
Game is now confirmed working on Phenom CPUs.
Thousands of lines of assembly have been rewritten to support AMD CPUs. The game code no longer relies on anything above SSE 2.

Results of Survey

Games that run, as of 25 Sept, 2017:

  • Dishonored 2,
  • Mafia 3,
  • Earth Defense Force,
  • No Man’s Sky

Games that do not run, as of 25 Sept, 2017:

  • Agents of Mayhem,
  • Dead Rising 4

To me, this looks like a good situation. The Mafia 3 developers Hangar 13 took their time, and while the Mafia 3 demo seems to not have been updated, the main game is confirmed working. So far, only one developer – Capcom – has refused to discuss the issue at all. Dead Rising 4, by all accounts, is a terrible port, and there is little hope for Phenom users – I’d be surprised to see a future patch for the game period.

Volition, then, is the first party to publicly refuse an update after being made aware of the incompatibility. While that is obviously their choice, I do find their argument of the CPU being “below minimum requirements” to be fairly disingenuous, given that their min specs demand an “Intel Core i3-3240 or above / or AMD equivalent.” I understand that this is semantic, and mostly a he-said she-said one at that, but my my quad-core Zosma (a hexa-core Thuban with two cores disabled) Phenom II X4 970 BE is factory-clocked at 3.5 GHz (I run it at 3.9), and has a 6Mb L3 cache. The Phenom has two (or four, if successfully unlocked) more cores, better clock speeds, and a larger cache to boot.

If the Intel Core i3-3240 can run Agents of Mayhem, then so can the Phenom II. It probably won’t be pretty on either CPU, but that’s beside the point. Heck, I don’t even want to play Agents of Mayhem, so maybe this is all beside the point!

Consoles Dictate PC Update Cycles

With the key details out of the way, I want to touch upon the general issue at play here. First and foremost, almost all of the developers that came face to face with the issue responded admirably to it – all but two games on the list have been patched to work so far, and all but one has received an official response from the developers.

The uncomfortable fact is that the Phenom, as ancient as it is in temporal terms, remains a relevant processor today due to slow console cycles bogging down PC development. Almost all major games are multiplatform titles today. This means everything. Ever since the first XBOX and the PS2, consoles have almost entirely dictated PC system requirements. Discounting some PC players’ slow inch towards 4K, 1440p, 144Hz, VR, whatever the newest thing is today – in the case of ordinary bottom-end play at 1920x60fps, almost nothing has changed in terms of spec reqs over the past five years.

This is precisely why developers should still consider this 10-year old processor. There are still enough of AMD Phenom users that user forums get absolutely inundated with users asking for help when their new purchase fails to start up at all – just take a look at the Dead Rising 4 forums! It does not look good at all to the casual observer.

I completely understand the need for cut-off points with hardware, but so far, this is not yet it.

Barriers to Entry

Finally, I can’t also not mention the fact that current-gen video gaming, unfortunately, is a hobby for well-off people in well-off places. Gaming is always going to have barriers to entry. Sometimes these barriers are temporal, sometimes monetary, sometimes societal. Sometimes they can be just decision-making! We end up weighing our budgetary options every day.

Are computer parts really so different that they should be excluded from that discussion entirely? In this particular case, updating for the sake of updating is, in my mind, a luxury. I know the word “luxury” has a bad rap, but I simply mean that it’s something you do because you can – not something you do because you must. Shouldn’t those that would rather try to hang on, or save money, be respected instead of mocked?

How can it possibly be offensive that someone gets good mileage out of their investment? Luckily, a dedicated community exists for players who want to get the most out of their old rigs. I’m not at that point yet, but who knows what the future will bring.

I don’t think it serves our society well to cajole – or even force – everybody to invest into new systems as often as this terrible marketplace of planned obsolescence demands. The fact of the matter is, if we discount the “Your system is old and you should feel bad” argument, all of the above games could have easily been patched to support the Phenom. All of the projects that did receive patches do run excellently on the CPU.

The only thing preventing support is developer insistence and/or indifference.

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Recommended Comments

Guest Phenom user


Very nice! As i read final fantasy XV did not runder under phenoms too, but a patch 3 days ago fixed it.

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Guest Guest


You can add Assassins Creed Origins. There is no way to run it with a Quad Core, so Phenom users should have same issue.

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Guest guesty guest


you can run assassins creed origins v1.0.5 with intel sde ;) later versions don't run at all though.

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Guest 6coresOver4


Agents of Mayhem Patch 1.06 fixed the Phenom issue.

You forgot Resident Evil 7 which like Dead Rising 4 is a Capcom title ;but the SSE emulator that was mentioned above can be used to get beyond 2 spots at the very beginning that have SSE calls. Only 2 spots when you are under the house and in the water, the first is when you go under the beam and the second is just after that then the rest of the game plays fine. I beat it without a problem.

As a 1090t owner having 6 cores overclocked to 4GHZ  with only a Hyper212 for cooling I get really ticked off when I'm told I need to upgrade to meet the standards of a effin DRM not a game! I have to say I find it to be outright prejudice that because of Denuvo alone our great line of CPUs gets called less than minimum specs, every single game trying to push this agenda even the latest Far Cry 5 have all had their Denuvo loving a5535 handed to them by CPY almost as soon as the games have been released (yes a few took awhile ;but I think popularity of the title is the reason more than anything).  Yet they continue to use Denuvo which not only doesn't do what it's supposed to ;but also takes away  quite a bit of game sales they would have from Phenom owners. It makes so sense, plus we have a community of Intel and Ryzen owners bashing us for using old hardware, despite the fact my rig runs pretty much all games on high to ultra settings (1080p not 4k ) with no problems. I've added ram, upgraded to SSD plus upgraded GPU to a 10 series GTX more recently. I honestly still say I enjoy a premium experience using my rig, I was going to jump on the Ryzen hype train at launch and have been considering Ryzen 2  ;but I'm just not that convinced the experience i'm going to have is going to trump the one I'm having enough to warrant the investment. Would you guys still consider your experience with your Phenom CPU acceptable for gaming standards? Sorry if I'm bumping a really only thread.


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Thank you for updating this list! Do any of the games have an update that fixes it (Hitman 2?)

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Guest Destin


WWE 2k19, and I'm told WWE 2k18 and 2k17 as well. All due to no SSE4 support. Curiously, SSE4 and Phenom II came out in 2008.

I was going to buy WWE 2k19 but can't play it until I upgrade to a "newer" CPU so I can run an 11 year old instruction set. Go figure.

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Guest Guest AMD fan


Division 2 is now on the list of games no longer working as of 12 February 2020, same issue.

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Guest Phenom II X6


You can add NFS Heat. Doesn't run. :( my experience and a lot of other phenom users... 

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Guest mandolori


Doom Eternal to the list.

This guy here https://youtu.be/HcKy3aVceB8 claim to have removed SSE4 requirement.

Seeing it looks to me SSE4 brings both ups and downs.

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Guest Phenom User


I believe both Asassin's Creed Origins and Odyssey still require SSE4.1 or above as neither of their standalone discovery tours will run on my rig.

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