The PS4 Pro is out this week in most regions (not here unfortunately) and reviews started pouring in after the embargo dropped last night. Many praised the system’s ability to deliver some sound 4K gaming experiences, with the additional GPU power being put to work on titles that have been optimised to use it. Digital Foundry in particular dived deep into the console and its hardware, and their results delivered some surprising findings.
First off, you’re going to have to swallow this slightly bitter pill. The PS4 Pro does absolutely nothing to your games without a patch. Comparing performance of base games to them running on the beefed up hardware, Digital Foundry found that there was absolutely no difference between the two without a patch. That’s surprising only because the Xbox One S, which features a slight GPU overclock, actually does the reverse. Games run better on the slimmer Xbox One console, as titles are able to get closer to their target framerates.
with a patch, the PS4 Pro is left to do its best, but still hinges on what type of implementation has been put in. For example, the checkerboard technique that Sony has touted as an answer to non-native 4K game works incredibly well when implemented, with Rise of the Tomb Raider showing this off in spades. But surprisingly its a feature that seems tricky to achieve, to the point where even Naughty Dog hasn’t implemented the tech in their update to Uncharted 4.
That title (and others such as Titanfall 2) simply increase the target resolution of the game and then upscale it, with both reaching 1440p over their previous 1080p targets. That still leads to a better image over the base version, but Digital Foundry notes that it’s softer than a 4K title should be. They do, however, also note that with time new techniques will be developed to help combat this, with Insomniac Games already experimenting with a combination of techniques in Ratchet and Clank.
Features such as HDR and multiple game modes are also specific to titles, meaning developers will need to independently implemented support for them to work. So far HDR seems to be implemented across the board of PS4 Pro titles. And as a result they’re the ones that truly stand out the most, with HDR delivering on its promise of being the real feature to look out for (granted you have an expensive TV to support it). Games like Rise of the Tomb Raider give players multiple game modes to choose from, which certainly would be great if it became the norm.
But ultimately you want to know if buying a PS4 Pro is a worthy upgrade or not, and we’re hoping to answer that in our own review soon. Right now it seems like a good decision if you either have a 4K set already, or you’re just looking to pick up a PS4 for the first time. Given its limited performance gains at 1080p, it’s a hard sell for those not looking to take the full plunge, but we’ll hopefully have a lot more on that front soon.
Last Updated: November 8, 2016