We tested the PlayStation 5’s backward compatibility with PS4 and it’s great – give it a try
Backward compatibility with PS4 titles is one of the key components of the PlayStation 5 experience, and we knew very little about it until the review embargo expired. Is this a valid feature? Will we get the same gaming experience on its original console, with all the inherent limitations? Or is the PlayStation 5 capable of dramatically improving PS4 games already on the market like the Xbox Series X does? Finally the mystery is revealed and there is good news: the backward compatibility of the PlayStation 5 is excellent.
While you may notice some sharp edges around lines and corners in some scenes, and not all of the extra bonuses Microsoft offers on the Series X, PlayStation 5 delivers what matters. If a game runs at an unlocked frame-rate or has the option to disable the 30fps cap, you get the same experience as the Series X. In fact (and more on that later), the performance multiplier is higher if we compare PS5 vs PS4 Pro and Series X vs One X. On top of that, we also have here an incredible boost in CPU power that should eliminate the PS4 Pro’s inability to maintain a locked 60fps frame-rate.
All of this without taking into account specific patches for first-party games that Sony has started releasing. We will analyze these in the near future, but giving a couple of quick examples we have Ghost of Tsushima and Days Gone stuck at 60fps on PlayStation 5. Should we expect a similar treatment for The Last of Us 2 as well?
Putting the PS5 to the test with classic titles, the new console sidesteps age-old CPU-limit issues just like the Xbox Series X. Take Rise of the Tomb Rider’s (and sequel’s) high-frame-rate mode for example. ) on PS4 Pro. In more complex areas, the older Jaguar CPU simply couldn’t make it, resulting in highly variable performance. The same was happening in Final Fantasy XV’s Lite mode and Hitman’s Paris chapter with an unlocked frame-rate. We couldn’t call into question the legendary Just Cause 3, known for drastic dips in performance during thunderous explosions that involved a lot of roaming physics-governed objects, dropping performance in the 20fps area. The PS5 manages to keep the game limit of 30fps all the time, and it’s great to play like that. Dark Souls 3? 1080p60 locked.
We also tested Crysis Remastered, which has a 1080p performance mode that essentially lowers resolution and unlocks frame-rate. The Pro definitely has major problems here, and in the second mission village level there are drops below the 30fps mark. Aside from stuttering during checkpoints, the PlayStation 5 renders the entire game at a consistent 60fps. We can only hope that Crytek unlocks the frame-rate for all rendering modes, including quality and ray-tracing. We suspect that PS5 (and therefore also Series X) run all of these modes at full frame-rate.
Moving on to the GPU, the numbers are promising. The PS4 Pro had a 4.2 Teraflop GPU, while the PS5 has 10.3 Teraflops, which is a 2.45x performance multiplier. The leap in performance from PS4 Pro to PS5 is therefore greater than that from One X to Series X, but it must be said that Pro titles often ran at lower resolutions than One X. Let’s take a look at Sekiro: Die Twice. On PS4 Pro it ran at 1800 with checkerboarding and frame-rate unlocked, while on One X at native 4K. On PS5 Pro 60fps are reached while on Series X the gameplay was more on 50fps. In this case, the checkerboarding rendering looks good compared to the native 4K of the X Series, but on PS5 we have a noticeable performance advantage.
In the attached video you will find other titles we tested (playing Knack in high resolution mode at 60fps when the PS4 Pro also drops to 20fps is satisfactory) but overall it seems that the backwards compatibility with PS4 is well done. But it lacks the depth and maturity of Microsoft’s. For example, there is no alternative to Xbox’s innovative Auto HDR technology, nor a hardware-forced 16x anisotropic filter.
But the feeling remains that some games are unable to harness the full power of the PS5’s new processor. The legendary physical version of Assassin’s Creed Unity, with its frame-rate unlocked, runs at a full 60fps locked on Xbox Series X. The PlayStation disc version also has an unlocked frame-rate code, but certain areas of the game and cuts – scenes with heavy depth of field cause noticeable and merciless performance drops, sometimes even in the 30fps sphere. Since the PS5 hardware should be perfectly capable of handling 60fps, we suspect that a PS4 compatibility mode comes into play here, perhaps mistakenly, which sets the GPU clocks to match the power of the PS4. We know this mode exists because it is used by developers to certify PS5 compatibility of a PS4 game. So it might be the case. Obviously anyone who has played the patched title has no idea of this.
But we certainly need to remind ourselves of the backward compatibility limitations, and they are the same as the Xbox Series X. Games that have a frame-rate cap of 30fps or 60fps won’t go beyond this preset threshold unless the developers decide to release. a highly unlikely patch for older games. So, if you were wondering if it was possible to play Bloodborne at 60fps on PS5, the answer is no.
To top it off, we had fun grabbing some of the hottest games from the PlayStation library to see how they ran on PlayStation 5, especially given the variable results. The original unpatched disc version of The Evil Within suffered from terrible performance – the PlayStation 5 fixed it all. Remember how bad Until Dawn ran on PS4? Now runs at a fixed 60fps on PS5. Do you want to run Assetto Corsa Competizione at a fixed 60fps? PlayStation 5 lets you do it: the resolution is much lower than those of One X and Series X, but even with 20 cars on a track in the rain there is not the slightest uncertainty.
In conclusion, after an often confusing communication from Sony, followed by months of press blackout, the prospect is positive. PlayStation 5 offers a backward compatibility service with last-gen titles very similar to that offered by Microsoft. However, the solution implemented by Sony lacks some fine touches and the stellar resolution offered by the same versions of the One X games played on Series X, but the PS5 also has advantages. Before the advent of the One X in 2017, the rule was 900p on One and 1080p on PS4. The Series X can’t break the 900p limit though, while on PS5 you’ll get 1080p gameplay. Games on PS4 Pro will have had lower resolution than equivalents on One X, but those with unlocked frame-rates will now have larger performance boosts.
Summing up, the important message that comes out of this article is that PS4 owners who want to upgrade to PS5 can rest easy. The games will work, and much better than on Pro.
Source : Reddit