While Pure PlayStation’s Brian Milch didn’t think too highly of Sony’s PS4 Pro in his review, his British counterpart Jat thinks it’s the bees knees. We’re still waiting on Chris to tap out his thoughts on the PS4 Pro combined with the PSVR together, so in the mean time there’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2.
People expecting a massive jump in graphics fidelity with the Pro need to temper their expectations a little, as a £330 machine isn’t going to give them that, however, what it will give them is gaming at a higher resolution, HDR, better framerates and a slight jump in the graphics department on selected titles.
Sony has essentially marketed the PS4 Pro as a 4K machine and that’s where the Pro really shines due to Sony’s tinkering under the hood with some really clever use of tech such as checkerboard rendering and upscaling, both working to produce a crisp, clean and sometimes stunning image on 4K TVs.
Looking under the bonnet, the Pro now packs a 4.20 TFlops GPU which is just over twice as powerful as the standard PS4’s 1.84 TFlops GPU. The CPU has also received a little boost to aid the increased GPU but Sony has decided to stick with the 8GB GDDR5 RAM, though there’s an added extra 1GB of slow DRAM for use with non-gaming apps. A 1TB HDD now comes as standard with the PRO but with the added functionality of SATA3, the HDMI port has been updated to the latest standard to support 4K. Thankfully, a USB 3.1 port can now be found on the rear of the console which will clearly please those of us out there with obsessive tendencies about cable management(PSVR springs to mind). While not a massive difference over a vanilla PS4, it does all add up to make a notable difference and for the price, you can’t really complain.
So, what does this all mean for owners of non-4K TV owners? Well not a lot but also quite a bit. You see, it all depends on the game itself and whether the developer has done a “Pro” patch. Games like The Last of Us Remastered and Ratchet & Clank have both been given the “Pro” treatment but to different ends.
The Last of Us Remastered
The Last of Us at native 4K and HDR looks gorgeous on a 4K TV, especially with the HDR enhanced colours and contrast which make every detail pop on-screen. Flicking HDR on and off shows quite a notable difference, especially in darker areas of the game. 4K native resolution also provides a clean and sharp image, however, the game was hampered by a slight drop in framerate at certain spots during my game play, but nothing that distracts too much from what is an otherwise awesome game.
Ratchet & Clank
While R&C doesn’t offer a native 4K resolution, the Pro’s upscale techniques are quite impressive and produce a bright and sharp image. The little graphical improvements also improve the look of the game such as improved depth of field and a notable reduction in jagged edges. The bloom effect also looked more prominent, but once again, HDR is clearly the winner here, combined with the 4K res(upscaled), R&C looks fantastic.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Lets face it, Uncharted 4 is stunning at 108op anyway but the Pro really puts it on another level. The technical wizards at Naughty Dog have increased the native resolution to 1440p running at 30fps that, when upscaled to 4K, looks absolutely mental on a 4K panel producing a beautiful image with sharp and clean lines throughout. Turning on HDR had me picking my chin up from the floor; it’s that good combined with the 4K upscale, the forests of Scotland never looked more colourful or lush.
Infamous: First Light
First Light is one of those games that still looks good today: great graphics and a wonderful colour range which is only enhanced by having HDR turned on, with the increased colour range that HDR brings, First Light produces dazzling results which leave you in awe, the game also comes with an option to run the game at a higher resolution or better framerate, those with 4K panels will want to run this game at a higher resolution as it looks bloody gorgeous at upscaled 4K with HDR.
Like Uncharted 4, Firewatch runs at a native 1440p native which is then upscaled to 4K, and this upscale produces a very good image that is both clear and sharp. Camp Santo also took advantage of the Pro’s increased specs and added a finer level of detail to the surroundings. While Firewatch isn’t a universally-loved game and it won’t bring many people in just because of a few extra lines, the Pro features do add a nice graphical touch to the game, even if it is just a slight one.
Ever since the PS4 Pro was revealed to the world back in September, Sony has come under increasing fire from all gamers and media outlets disappointed with the Pro’s specs. The lack of UHD drive to the small increase in GPU and CPU power, the inevitable comparison to the Xbox Scorpio hasn’t helped its cause, but having spent the last four days playing various games on the Pro, I can safely say that the Pro is a worthy purchase and well worth the small investment regardless of whether you play on a 4K TV or a standard 1080 panel.
These are still early days for the Pro. Going forward I expect to see a marked improvement for 1080p TV owners as developers get to grips with the extra power available as it would be unwise of them to only focus on a 4K market that accounts for such a small percentage of all TV sales around the world. For those still sitting on the fence, the next three months will be an ideal time to buy the Pro as many outlets will have sales and you’ll be able to knock a few pennies off the end-price by trading in your old PS4.
Are you a PS4 Pro owner? Do you agree with Jat, or are you on Team Brian? We’ll have our third and final part of the review coming later this week that’ll be focussed purely on how the new console gets along with the PSVR.