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Hardware Review: PS4 Pro: Part 1 – The Juice Isn’t Worth The Squeeze

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Pure PlayStation is going to be doing something of a double – nay – triple PS4 Pro review; one from Brian and why he thinks the mid-generation refresh isn’t worth getting too excited about; Jat who sees the console as a splendor, a true treat for the eyes; and Chris who will be looking at the console purely from a PSVR user’s perspective. As the other two are still beavering away at getting their words in a row, here’s Brian’s take on the PS4 Pro.

Staring at my 65 Inch Samsung 4K television as Uncharted 4 roared into action, I sat in disbelief as I came to the realization I had just spent a whole lot of money on some crisper lines and better lighting. Sure I’m dumbing it down a little, I know a lot goes into these games and obviously in the coming months when studios have the ability to build a game utilizing the PS4 Pro, they should theoretically be much better. But at this very moment in time, this system is not a must-buy.

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The PS4 Pro isn’t a bad console by any means: The graphics are crisper, the games, as far as I can personally see, run as smooth or smoother than on the base PS4 console. I know there are reports of them running slower, but I can’t personally tell when it’s just a couple of frames here and there. I’m not here to nitpick a frame per second, I’m here for the overall experience. Games will be patched like they always have. The real question that most people will want an answer to is whether the PS4 Pro is worth trading away the old console/stumping up the cash for a new, more expensive one. My answer right now is a solid ‘no’. The hardware bonuses aside, the USB port on the back and the SATA 3 are nice additions to the console’s frame, but then again, shouldn’t these have already been standard features in the base PS4? And let’s not even talk about the lack of external hard drive support which is still missing.

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The success of the mid-generation upgrade will depend greatly on the game publishers and how much freedom they choose to give you. As a former PC gamer, I’m used to games giving me options. Options to choose the resolution. Options to choose the bells and whistles or take a steadier frame rate. The games that I’ve sampled and played that have been updated for the new hardware take different approaches. Some will let you prioritize smoothness of gameplay over resolution, and some will just push the higher 4K spec. One side note, I don’t have a Playstation VR, but my colleagues will publish a review of the differences with the Pro sometime next week. I have however played through games that have been updated for the “Diet” 4K revolution. Here is my rundown of the game’s I’ve tested with the PS4 Pro so far, though I’ll be trying out more at a later date:

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

If you’ve been a PS4 owner for any amount of time and still haven’t played this game, bookmark this article, go and get Uncharted 4, then come back. It’s a great game. Sorry, just had to get it out there. For those that have it still looks great, but the real question is whether the PS4 Pro version of the game is worth an investment of over $1000. Hell. No. While the graphics are crisper with a clearer image and the lighting effects look better, this isn’t going to blow people away. I tested this on a top-of-the-range 4K TV, too, and against the regular PS4 on a 1080 TV, it’s just not worth the hoo-lah.

The Last of Us Remastered

The game looks about as good as a remaster could look after given its second “upgrade”. The textures of last gen with a fresh coat of 4K paint, and while the game does allow you to switch to a locked-in 30 FPS, I didn’t really like how it looked, no. At this point, the game has been out so long, lock me in at 60 FPS or don’t even give me the option.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Playing this game on the Pro is a simple waste. The game was solid when it came out. However, a few crisper lines and updated colors is not enough to get me to slay all those bosses all over again. Again, unlocking a resolution choice is not that mind-blowing; console gamers are getting just what PC games have had for years.

Infamous First Light

This game looks great on the PS4 Pro, but in fairness it looked great when it came out. The purple neon lights and battle effects pop from the screen and the textures are really solid, just as they were when it first released. But it’s been out two years already and, let’s be honest, it’s not exactly the cream of the crop and once you’ve played it once, is it really worth going back in and slogging through it just to see it look a little nicer? No.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Understand that I loved Human Revolution. I played it when it came to consoles, and again when I built my custom PC in 2011. I can tell you that Mankind Divided looks marginally better than Human Revolution did on my PC. I’m disappointed because I held out playing this game until the PS4 Pro was released. While everything may be a little more pretty, it’s not enough to blow even the most simplest of minds. [Ed: True, we tested it on Chris…]

After having played a few titles for varying amounts of times, I’m not completely opposed to the idea of a mid-generation refresh in the future. However, if you are looking to run out and buy one right now? I’d say take a breath and be patient. Leave it for now. If you’re a 1080 HDTV owner, you’re better off spending your cash on a decent 4K TV before buying a PS4 Pro. Trust me, your PS4 games will still look damn fine, then maybe once the dust has settled on the PS4 Pro and developers know their limits and what they can do to really give games a push, then maybe pick one up. It may be another three months down the line before that happens, it may even be 12, but as it stands right now it’s not worth spending another $400 to have a bunch of games look slightly nicer. There needs to be something special, something that can be seen a mile away and not just when comparing images of game against the original PS4.

Ouch. Some harsh words from Brain there – and he’s probably the biggest PlayStation nut we’ve got on board… Have you got the PS4 Pro? Do you agree with Brian, or are you happy with your new console? Let us know down in the comments below.

When Brian isn’t busy selling houses well above their market value, he’s glued to his TV shouting ‘bro!’ at anyone who dares to point a digital gun at him online.
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. brad k

    13th November 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Ppl need to stop w the bs. It has a lot more potential power under the hood but disappointingly Sony has no idea how to get full optimization out of it. The graphics and frame rates u see are not 3x better than ps4. On paper it sounds great but in person its more like “eh”.

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