This last Thursday the PlayStation 4 Pro was released and I was able to get my hands on it and try it on my 4K HDR TV. I played a few games and had some positive experiences with some games and unnoticeable differences with others. You can check out our unboxing here:
Before we get into how the games play like, let’s talk about the design of the console. On the outside it is a lot thicker than the original console and has more of a matte finish. It is more comparable to their slim model but an extra layer is added on top of it. On the top of it there is a chrome looking PlayStation symbol embedded into it, and on the bottom it has the face buttons popping out that are used as feet. On the front it is a bit different, the power button and eject disc button are spread far apart and are easier to know which is which. The back has the same ports as the original but adds an extra USB which is a useful addition if you own a PlayStation VR. I was quite skeptical about the look of the console at first because of how dull looking the console seemed to be but now that I’ve seen one in person, I like it. The original PlayStation was also quite loud and unfortunately this carries onto this console as well. This isn’t a huge deal to me since most of the time my speakers drain out the noise of the fans.
The innards of this beast is a bit more powerful than the base console. The Pro has almost double the graphical power to render higher resolution games. The original PS4 only used 1.84 Teraflops while the Pro uses 4.20 Teraflops. It has a higher clocked processor. It has a better network card so you can connect to a 5Ghz router for higher downloading speeds and better online experiences. Everything else is pretty much the same. The new dualshock controller is included if you buy either the slim model or the Pro and it feels identical to the original. The only difference is the touch pad, there is a small slit in the touch pad so you can actually see the light bar while playing.
There was a few games I checked out on it but we are only going to go through six of them ranging from Call of Duty to Naughty Dogs’ PS4 titles. If you are looking for a in depth technical breakdown then this is not the place for you, other places have those up and ready if you need to watch them but these are my thoughts on the following games:
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare looked phenomenal but there are in fact some frame rate hitches on the base PlayStation 4 on some parts in the campaign. You can read our thoughts on the game here. Those hitches are no longer there which can make you feel more ‘immersed’ to a certain extent. You can tell subtly that there the game looks slightly better, the resolution is considered to be in native 4K. In this game there are no way to adjust HDR or see directly how the Pro differs the gameplay.
Modern Warfare Remastered
Modern Warfare Remastered looks drastically improved. The resolution is so much higher than ever before, it’s like a remaster of a remaster. The colors are much deeper and nicer to look at. Just like Infinite Warfare, there is no way to see what has been changed.
This was a game I was excited to try because of how great it looks already. Upon booting the game up it prompts you with a question asking if you want to turn on HDR or off. Once you get into the game, it just doesn’t look so good. The frame rate is not improved at all, and the game looks softer around every edge. It’s quite disappointing that this is the case but unlike the Call of Duty games, you can change your HDR settings in the menu. I felt like the game looked better with this feature turned off, I’m unsure if it’s because of my TV or if the game is rendered that way.
The Last of Us Remastered
The Last of Us mirrors pretty much the same way I feel about Uncharted 4 on the Pro but a little bit worse. You can switch between 30Fps with 4K resolution or 60Fps and lower resolution but in this the frames definitely drop more than it did on the PS4. You cannot change it back to the way it was played on the original PS4, the Pro is not the best choice for playing through this masterpiece of a game.
Ratchet and Clank
This game on the Pro also runs worse for me than the original. Despite having the capability of running in 4K and having HDR, the frames still dip quite a lot when things get hectic. I also cannot find a way to change this back to its original setting for a more fluid experience. This is quite disappointing considering it is one of PlayStation 4’s better exclusives.
Final Fantasy XV Judgement Disc
Final Fantasy XV demo looks phenomenal running on the Pro, it is probably my most impressive experience in using it. You can toggle using HDR as well as change between higher resolution or better frame rate. This addition is great because some people cannot see the frame rate difference and some prefer the better visuals, so a feature like this will cater to those two types of people. If you want to learn more about this demo check it out here.
The PlayStation 4 Pro is off to a slow start and optimization is not the greatest it could be. Each game varies in the way it supports the Pro, Sony needs to get on all the developers to let the consumer be aware of how their experience will improve. If you are looking to buy one I would hold off for a bit until it gets all sorted out. Loading times are a bit faster in some cases on select games which improves the experience slightly. Writing this I’ve used the word slightly and subtle quite a bit because the changes made are not as great as most would like. Games now will take use of this hardware at it’s fullest potential quite yet. Once we get games further out like Horizon: Zero Dawn and God of War we will see better changes. But right now just hold tight and wait.