Star Wars Battlefront II has a big HDR problem

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HDR, or High-Dynamic-Range imaging, has been touted as the larger difference to games than resolution. But in reality, it’s currently a bit of a minefield. Games can do stellar jobs at implementing the feature, as titles like Uncharted, Horizon Zero Dawn and Gears of War 4 show. But there are games that just don’t hit the mark at all. And, worse still, some that dilute the image so poorly that it’s often best to turn off the feature entirely. Battlefront II, as it currently stands, rests neatly in that last category.

I’ve been playing the game on a PS4 Pro and HDR complainant TV for most of the weekend, and it’s good to see that my complaints with the many visual oddities I encountered aren’t rare. Menus are extremely washed out with HDR enabled – drained of colour and reminiscent of a backlight being pumped to its extreme without any contrast control (the crux of HDR really). There’s a district shift too when the game transitions in and out of gameplay too. Brightness will drop suddenly and colour will somewhat be restored, bringing out some good detail when you’re at least playing the game.

But hop into a cutscene (especially in single-player), and things get really bad. Severe colour-banding (a pixellation on the majority of the screen that shows incorrect extended colour gamut handling) run rampant. Many scenes are also susceptible to strange flashing – almost as if the HDR signal being sent to the TV is continuously being swapped between actual HDR and SDR.

An image from another player experiencing the same issue shows this off well:

Battlefront II HDR bugs

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Battlefront II also offers little control over how to set up your HDR, and it’s strangely dependant on where you try it from. If you’re on the main menu, the HDR brightness slider (which is used to determine max brightness, so that details can pop) seems to work as intended. Two sections of a bright white block shift to show you how to calibrate the screen, despite the main menu itself not looking like it implements HDR at all. In-game is a different story. While the details look fine, the slider itself turns into a grey blob, suggesting the HDR support isn’t actually active while you’re playing.

It’s a mess right now, and seemingly a problem across both PS4 Pro and Xbox One X . Several threads have already started with players wondering about the support, and an EA representative on one of them has indicated that the team is aware of the issues.

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Thank you for the posts. It looks like this affects ever[y]one using HDR on the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro.

Unfortunately I don’t have any time estimate on a fix but hopefully we’ll have an update for you soon.

Most post point out the exact same issues I experienced al weekend (colour branding, washed out images), but many had 50/50 success with actually turning HDR support off. I tried disabling HDR and Deep Colour from the PS4 menus themselves, but multiple restarts of the game yielded the same issues (the TV, however, indicated that no HDR signal was being passed through). So if the issue is HDR related, why are some of its elements persisting with the SDR version too? It’s a curious problem indeed.

Battlefront II is a technical and visual showcase when running correctly, but it’s issues like these that make people really weary of HDR support. When console makers are touting it as the next step forward, developers need to make sure their products are up to scratch if they’re putting out support for it. Otherwise it just damages the entire image of the technology. Perhaps past repairable points.

 

Last Updated: November 20, 2017

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff's a bastard.

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