The PS4 Pro has been on the minds of PlayStation fans ever since it was shown off last month. This mid-generation upgrade is promising a more powerful system that will help bring the high visual fidelity and framerates that players have come to expect nowadays. On paper that sounds pretty cool, but what does it exactly mean? Are games just prettier? Does anything about playing the game actually become improved?
During New York Comic Con this past week, we were able to sit down and get some hands-on time with the upcoming console. It turns out that while it’s largely the same there are some differences for those looking forward to the new hardware.
One of the biggest questions on the minds of many prospective PS4 Pro owners is how will the more powerful machine affect gameplay. Sony was clear that they wouldn’t push for any exclusive experiences on the new console as to not split the player base. Still, some are hopeful that there would be something special. If you’re looking for something brand new, though, you’re going to be disappointed.
The improvements to gameplay are a lot more subtle than you may want, but still worthwhile. Framerate is one of the biggest improvements. Games that didn’t have a stable rate now have one, and others have their framerates improved. There are titles such as Rise of the Tomb Raider which will offer options to players that include unlocked framerates with 1080p, or 4K with a locked 30.
It may not be an entire new mode or new missions, but the fact that action is a lot smoother does translate to gameplay experiences, something that has been proven time and time again. It won’t be a major transformation, but it will help to make navigating certain levels and dealing with threats more manageable.
This is actually the primary purpose of the PS4 Pro. All of that extra horsepower is there to up the visual ante to 4K. There’s been a lot of confusion surrounding exactly what 4K means for the upcoming console, but to put it simply, games look remarkably better. There will be some titles that run in native 4K, but others will be using a special technique that provides a similar visual effect. Other than the higher resolution, the PS4 Pro also makes use of HDR capable televisions. This provides much better lighting and coloring in your games.
While trying out Deus Ex: Mankind Divided images popped and there was a surprising level of clarity. The game already looked impressive on the standard PS4, but the boost from the Pro really lent a lot to the experience. Different features that may have been overlooked stood out, and the background world finally felt like more than just dressing.
Rise of the Tomb Raider also looked a lot better on the PS4 Pro. Lara’s character model looked as if you were staring at the actual actress, The backgrounds, once again, really stood out thanks to improved textures, more realistic lighting, and a better flow while moving about.
Virtual Reality is the new craze in gaming with PC kicking things off, and Sony finally jumping in with the PlayStation VR. Now while the headset is more than sufficient with the standard console, the PS4 Pro will actually improve how it works. Those who’ve used the headset before noticed the graininess that some games had, and the extra horsepower is there to help things move along more smoothly.
How much better VR will actually be on the new console remains to be seen, but if the games on Sony’s new headset are anything like those on the console itself, then fans are in for a real treat.
Is It Really All That Different?
Well, yes and no. The PS4 Pro is just a stronger PS4 when put simply. All of the games are pretty much exactly the same as those you’ve already played or will be able to play on the standard console. However, it actually is better when all of the different components come together. The better images, the improved load times, and the boosted (or, in some cases, stabilized) framerate improve experiences across the board. However, if you’re content with what you already have connected to your television, the differences may not actually stand out that much to you.
Keep in mind that this is just a mid-generation upgrade. It’s not meant to completely transform gaming for those who have already jumped into the current generation. It brings the experiences a lot closer to what we envisioned when the generation was first teased to us back in 2013.
The differences will only matter if you’ve been looking for something more visually appealing. If you’ve been wanting something akin to what solid PC rigs put out, then you’ll definitely want to keep your eye on the PS4 Pro.