Nov 7th, 2016

The PS4 Pro officially launches on November 10th, but you don’t have to wait until then to get a feel for the device. Today, the review embargo for the new 4K powerhouse lifted, flooding the internet with reviews from various outlets. We’ve gathered the opinions of Eurogamer, Gamespot, and IGN to see what they thought on the design, games, and performance on 1080P displays.

Eurogamer

On design:

“The console itself uses the same design language as the recently released CUH-2000 PS4 Slim, and booting up the console and navigating the menu systems produces an uncannily similar experience. There’s no acknowledgement of any kind of upgrade at all, aside from the addition of 2160p support in the video output menus, along with a new information screen that scans your display and lets you know whether HDR is supported, and what content DRM systems are supported.”

“As Sony’s new console uses the exact same front-end system as the existing model, the same options are utilised – you can back-up your system to an external hard drive, then restore it on the Pro. Alternatively, hook up both consoles to your router via LAN cables and the entirety of your drive contents can be beamed across to the Pro (but be warned, this may actually take longer than the drive back-up option).”

On games:

“Rise of the Tomb Raider is one the best 4K titles we’ve seen on Pro – it’s checkerboarding, but only the most intense scrutiny reveals that it’s not a native 4K game. In action it’s simply beautiful.”

“The big surprise is that Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4 Pro patch actually seems to be using conventional upscaling, though admittedly it does avoid most of the usual artefacts owing to its excellent temporal super-sampling anti-aliasing technique. However, base resolution is in the region of 1440p and while it remains a beautiful game, it does look a little soft on a 4K screen. The game’s multiplayer section gets an upgrade though, it’s boosted from the standard model’s 900p to full 1080p.”

“At its best though, the results can look stunning – and it’s not as if we’re limited here simply to older titles. Rise of the Tomb Raider and Call of Duty Infinite Warfare both checkerboard up to 2160p and provide some remarkable results for a box with limited GPU power compared to the latest and greatest PC graphics hardware.”

On 1080P gaming:

“At the most basic level, you should get super-sampling as standard – the process where a higher resolution image is downscaled to 1080p. It may not sound particularly thrilling, and the boost to image quality basically depends on how good anti-aliasing was in the base PS4 title to begin with. Titles like Uncharted 4 are already extremely clean, but the difference in others can be dramatic.”

“Rise of the Tomb Raider has real issues coping with sub-pixel detail, resulting in shimmering and pixel-popping that severely detracts from what is otherwise a simply beautiful game. PS4 Pro, running in super-sampling mode, cleans up nearly all of the artefacts and looks simply sensational.”

“On the more incidental level, Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered appears to stick more tightly to its 60fps target while retaining the 1620p internal rendering resolution – so you are getting more performance and increased image quality. However, some games do see the developer stick to 1080p rendering, instead pushing the Pro’s GPU to pump out more frames.”

GameSpot

On design:

“The PS4 Pro also comes with a larger 1TB hard drive–though it’s unfortunately still the slower 5,400rpm variety as opposed to the slightly faster 7,200rpm equivalent. Luckily, you can still swap out the HDD for a solid-state drive, and because the Pro supports the SATA III interface, SSDs installed in the console can now reach up to 6Gbps speeds. This is double the frequency of the original PS4’s SATA II interface.”

“The original PS4 featured a very loud optical disc drive. While the PS4 Pro’s ODD is certainly audible, it’s not obnoxiously loud. The system, in general, is pretty quiet.”

On games:

“Some games may run natively at 4K, but Sony says the majority of games will use a 4K upscaling technique the company calls checkerboard rendering, essentially a 4K rendering shortcut that isn’t as taxing on hardware. It’s not quite as sharp as native 4K, but it does look surprisingly close.”

“Instead of cranking up the resolution, developers may choose to increase graphical fidelity, offer improved frame rates, or use better anti-aliasing techniques. This means the Pro could bolster visuals at 1080p. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, for instance, uses super-sampling anti-aliasing to mitigate jaggy edges on regular HD displays.”

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

“COD Infinite Warfare: With both systems hooked up to the 4K TV, I noticed slightly richer textures on the Pro. For instance, I could more easily see fibrous textures on clothing. The game also has better anti-aliasing with edges that look less pixelated. They’re not huge improvements, but the Pro once again offers more clarity and less noise than the Slim on the 4K TV.”

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

“Shadow of Mordor offers different graphical enhancement options with the Pro. One option allows you to favor resolution. This dynamically scales the game’s resolution up to 4K and smooths out unwanted jaggies. Once again, the Pro’s video quality looked clearer at 4K as a result.”

On 1080P gaming:

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

“When I hooked up both systems to our 1080p TV, I was able to see better AA and slightly sharper textures from the Pro, but they weren’t as noticeable at this resolution.”

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

“When the Pro runs Shadow of Mordor on a 1080p TV with resolution favored, it switches to a super-sampling anti-aliasing mode to render the game at a higher-than-1080p resolution and then shrinks the image down to 1080p. This does a decent job of making a regular HD display appear sharper than it actually is.

Alternatively, Shadow of Mordor also has a setting that allows you to favor quality. This forces the game to run at 1080p, regardless of the display, but it increases graphical fidelity. Unfortunately, outside of extra wrinkles on faces, I couldn’t notice any other visual enhancements.”

IGN

On design:

“At 11.6 inches wide, 2.2 inches high, and 12.9 inches long, it can fit into practically all the same spaces your launch PS4 can, unless it was a really snug fit already. It is significantly heavier though, by around 30%.”

“Overall, its weight, curved lines, and glossy-finished PlayStation logo give the PS4 Pro a substantial, premium feel, but the cheap-feeling and comically tiny physical eject and power buttons betray the aesthetic just a bit. They’re also a little tough to find until you get used to their odd placement at either side of the Pro’s middle “blade.””

On games:

“Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Rise of the Tomb Raider, for instance, both look fantastic with the “enhanced resolution” option selected on a 4K screen. Lighting has a wider color range and everything looks significantly cleaner, especially around the edges.”

“On the other end of the spectrum is something like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which ups the resolution to an unspecified degree and upscales to 4K. Not only is it hard to find any appreciable difference in visual quality, but the higher resolution seemed to cause deeper framerate dips than I remember from when I played Mankind Divided on a standard PS4.”

On 1080P Gaming:

“Especially in the case of Tomb Raider, this mode boosted performance dramatically over the standard PS4 version. Simply put, while the ambiguously named “enhanced visuals” option helps some shaders and reflective surfaces to pop a bit more, the difference was negligible compared to the roughly 50 to 100% increase in performance I witnessed in high frame rate mode. I’d love to see developers provide this option on every game going forward – but again, there are no guarantees.”

“Mordor in high resolution mode supersamples on 1080p TVs for a smoother image; do other games do that and just not mention it? I don’t know, and neither will you, which is a real problem.”

 


Still thinking of getting a PS4 Pro this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.