Last week we posted some early impressions about the new PlayStation 4 Pro that pointed out some of the issues the new hardware has. After spending a whole weekend with the system we can now say if it’s worth $400 or not, and that really depends on what sort of TV you have.
First off, the PlayStation 4 is basically still a PlayStation 4. The OS and UI is still identical and the firmware between the Pro and base systems is basically the same. The latest OS release had the Pro hooks in it, so that allows it to detect a 4K television and output the UI at 4K resolution. There were absolutely no changes to the UI for the Pro, as it remains just a more powerful version of the base PS4.
For 4K games, it really depends on what you play to see big improvements. EA’s two shooters this year are among the best. While neither run at native 4K, both Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 definitely show great improvements over the base PS4 in detail and frame rate. I was very happy with how Battlefield 1 performed in multiplayer after playing it on the Pro (and that’s after A LOT of gameplay on the base system), and I finished the last half of the excellent Titanfall 2 campaign on the Pro.
Other new games such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Dishonored 2 also have solid Pro support from the start. Both look and run great on the new hardware. Older games, such as Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor have also been patched for the Pro and that particular looks as good as the PC version running at maxed settings.
On the other hand some games need some attention. Rise of the Tomb Raider looks great in 4K and even the enhanced 1080p version, but both modes have frame rate issues. The Last of Us: Remastered likewise has some great use of HDR, but again it has some problems running as smoothly as the base PS4 version did. The worst offender of the upgraded games is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided that can drop to 20fps in the first level, while the base PS4 version maintains a solid 30fps.
Even more offensive is what happened with World of Final Fantasy. That game doesn’t feature any updates for the PS4 Pro, but it looks worse than it does on the base PlayStation 4.
With all of those issues it doesn’t look great for the Pro, but if you have a PlayStation VR headset there’s hope. Most, if not all, PSVR titles have already received patches for the PlayStation 4 Pro that greatly help the games running on the VR headset. It’s very apparent that this upgraded PS4 is meant to boost VR. It’s almost like the 4K support was a way to sell the new console to people who didn’t yet invest in PSVR.
If you have a 4K TV and want to play games in better quality and can put up with some issues with titles that need attention via a patch, the PS4 Pro may be worth an upgrade. If you have PSVR, and use it a lot, it’s much easier to recommend the system.
The problem comes for those without a 4K TV. If you’re still on 1080p, it’s hard to recommend the Pro with the 1080p games not running as well as they do on the base PS4. Sure you get some visual upgrades on some, but others like World of Final Fantasy have zero upgrades and they look works on the Pro. There’s absolutely no way (unless you’re a console fanboy) to justify paying $400 for a new PlayStation 4 with small visual improvements if not every game runs as well as they do on the PS4 you currently have.
If Sony is able to enforce their technical requirements with all games, and all games run equally well at 1080p on the base system and the PS4 Pro, this caveat will change. But if you currently have a PlayStation 4, and don’t yet have a 4K TV, you may want to wait on the Pro until these early issues are ironed out.