PROS / The built-in live streaming tools make it easier to reach your viewers and the software doesn't hog system resources.
CONS / This software does not let you set a custom frame rate.
VERDICT / Action gives you everything you need to record and stream gameplay. With high-quality video and plenty of tools, it's hard to find a more comprehensive software package.
Editor's Note: Mirillis recently released Action 2.0, the latest version of our favorite video game recording software. Clicking the price button above will take you to that version for purchase. We will evaluate, rank and review Action 2.0 when we next update our game recording software comparison; until then, enjoy our original review of Action below.
Action is great video game recording software created by Mirillis, a software company that develops multimedia applications for digital TV. Action has nearly all of the features we look for in the best game recording software. Most notably, Action incorporates live streaming into its recording abilities. The software has plenty of settings and variables to tweak and play around with, ensuring you get the results you want, whether that be the highest possible quality, or the best compromise between quality and file size. Because of its powerful tools and abundant settings, Action has earned our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for video game recording software.
Recording tools are important, but how they perform is even more important. If you have recorded videos of your gameplay before, you may have noticed your system performance drop. We were happy that Action caused little to no lag while saving during our testing.
During our testing for these video game capture reviews, we looked at how much the software impacted in-game performance while recording. We measured fps values for both 1080p and 720p recordings. Action scored exceptionally well when recording gameplay at 1080p – the same resolution the game was running. Overall, in-game performance was 91 percent of what it would be with no recording. That means Action has a 9 percent impact on in-game performance, which is better than most video game capture software.
While recording 720p video, Action used up a few more system resources, resulting in performance that was 88 percent of the control. The decrease in performance is likely due to the fact that Action has to alter the resolution from the game's 1080p, which takes up extra processing.
With V-Sync disabled, we saw a large increase in the fps range while recording with Action. This was most apparent in "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor," where we recorded minimums of around 20 fps and maximums around 360 fps. Without any recording, the game averaged a minimum of 47 fps and maximum of 103 fps. These large jumps in frame rate while recording are unsettling and can make the game feel almost unplayable. You can mitigate most of the stutter by enabling V-Sync, but you'll still see some jumps. The fps range wasn't nearly as high in the three other games we tested.
To learn more about our testing methodology, make sure to check it out underneath our comparison matrix.
Action's user interface is one of the most impressive parts of this software. Finding what you need is straightforward. The interface is attractive, and navigating to what you need is simple and intuitive, making it almost impossible to get lost in the settings. A toolbar along the top provides you with access to everything that Action can do: video recording, live streaming, audio recording, benchmarking and screenshot capture. There is an additional tab for settings where you can fine-tune all of this game recorder's tools.
Action's integrated live streaming capability will likely be more common in game recording software in the future, but for now, it's uncommon to find software that handles both recording and live streaming. Action enables you to connect to a variety of streaming services. Once connected, all you have to do is hit a button and Action starts the live streaming with ease. Action makes reaching your online audience much easier, and having a recording to edit and upload to YouTube is a great advantage.
Action has a multitude of other tools, all of which are meant to enhance and simplify the recording experience. If you have ever recorded external audio with your gameplay videos, then you understand that balancing system audio and microphone audio can be a challenge. Action includes a tool that lets you alter the volume levels for each audio input. This means that you don't have to worry about game music and SFX drowning out your voice, or vice versa.
You can record up to 120 fps with Action, just remember that the demand on your computer increases dramatically every time you increase the recording's fps setting. More frames per second also result in larger file sizes. You can enable a frame rate lock on your recording, which smooths out the end result by maintaining a constant frame rate.
The most popular reason for recording at an fps higher than 60 is to have greater control while editing, such as using slow-motion effects. Action offers everything you need to create HD-quality videos at respectable frame rates, but we are disappointed that this game capture software doesn't allow you to set a custom frame rate – you can only select from a set of predefined values. While this is sufficient for most users, it would be nice to have finer control over this setting.
The only downside to Action's video recording capabilities is the inability to adjust the video bitrate within the software. Many people like to include audio input from a microphone with their recordings, and Action handles this well. Additionally, there is an option to save the audio as a separate file from the video recording. This makes it easier to edit your commentary.
Help & Support
Mirillis provides Action users with some of the most comprehensive support resources we've seen for game recording software. You can send the Action support team an email if you are having serious problems, but there are plenty of other avenues to pursue for more common problems and questions.
The Action user forums are an excellent place to find information. If you're troubleshooting a problem, it's likely that someone else has experienced it too and perhaps solved it. You can also contribute to the user forum to engage in the community by teaching and learning.
The FAQs page provides you with quick answers if you have basic questions about what Action is capable of. The questions on this page are relevant, and the answers are detailed and easy to understand. If you are new to game recording software, then the tutorials are a good place for you to start. These videos cover all of Action's basic tools and uses. They even explain how to export and upload videos and give you tips on improving your game capture experience.
Action gives you all of the tools that you need to create high-quality videos of your gameplay. Its intuitive and attractive user interface, powerful recording tools, and outstanding support overshadow any drawbacks. Thanks to its capable tools and smooth recording, Action functions more efficiently and easily than any other game recording software on our lineup.