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[Digital Foundry] Death Stranding: PS4 vs PS4 Pro Performance + Day One Patch Testing

chandoog

Member
Oct 27, 2017
12,216


Join John and Rich for a detailed discussion on how Death Stranding compares on PS4 and PS4 Pro, and what extra refinements the day one patch adds to the game. On top of that, the earliest media assets are stacked up against the final shipping game - with some fascinating results.

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WhtR88t

Member
May 14, 2018
600
Played about an hour and a half so far and it was difficult to tell what was pre-rendered CG, what was in-engine cutscene and just in-engine. Not even sure if things are pre-rendered at all? Game is visually amazing, draw distances are insane. Can’t wait to hop back in today.
 
Nov 6, 2017
1,715
Any word on the bad framepacing/stuttering in cutscenes on Pro?
I don`t want to watch the video yet because of possible spoilers.
 

benzy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,445
I remember there being talks of that 2016 teaser running on Sucker Punch's engine. Was there any validity to this?
 

Ōkami Haundo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,508
PA - US
I'll have to read the whole article later, but the first few sentences told me exactly what I wanted to know. Base PS4 is 1080p, 30fps and appears to be mostly on-par with the PS4 Pro version besides the resolution difference. Thank the gods!
 
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chandoog

chandoog

Member
Oct 27, 2017
12,216
TL;DW

Base PS4 and Pro Resolutions:
- "Horizon was good, but this takes things to a next level" (technically)
- "(Death Stranding) .... is really one of the best looking console games of the generation"
- Base PS4 is very close to PS4 Pro in every way except resolution.
- Base PS4: 1080p // PS4 Pro: 2160p via CB rendering.
- Though the excellent AA makes it difficult to pin point, it doesn't look like PS4 Pro supports native down-sampling.
- There is no toggle on the Pro version so you'll need to drop system resolution to 1080p to partake in this 1080p mode.

Comparisons with Reveal and '17 Trailers:

- Comparison with 2016 trailer and final game made.
- Norman Reedus looks more like Norman Reedus, water looks more realistic in final game etc.
- DF thinks 2016 trailer was also pre-rendered using Decima.
- PSX '17 Trailer and final game look pretty identical with just some artistic/subtle changes.
- DF praise the consistent creation pipeline (how the initial reveal trailers etc are retained well in the final game)


Performance:

- Testing done with the latest 1.04 Patch.
- 1.03 and 1.04 fixed a lot of the minor dips in game play the original DF video that John covered.
- PS4 and Pro both deliver a very consistent 30 FPS experience during game play.
- Surprisingly low input latency and very responsive for a 30 FPS game.
- Cut-scenes show performance dips in the same spots. Sometimes Pro has a frame or two advantage.
- Both consoles have a strong drop in performance when enabling the mirror in your room and seeing Norman's reflection.
- The Base PS4 has a performance advantage compared to PS4 Pro in 2160p mode in this "mirror test".
- However, PS4 Pro 1080p mode completely removes all performance drops on PS4 Pro in any cut-scene basically.
 
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Tyaren

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,739
Why is there no native supersampling? :( There is no reason not to include it. Playstation Blog even stated the game would:
"Using PS4 Pro, 4K TV owners can enjoy an enhanced Death Stranding experience with dynamic 4K resolution achieved through 4K checkerboard, while HD TV owners will benefit from increased image clarity through supersampling."

The system supersampling is not of the same quality as game-implemented supersampling.
 

Firefly

Member
Jul 10, 2018
1,683
I don't know why the 4x speed up made me laugh.

- The Base PS4 has a performance advantage compared to PS4 Pro in 2160p mode.
Base PS4 has a 4K mode? What? Can't watch the video at the moment. Edit: Sorry I completely misread that. I understand it now.
 
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chandoog

chandoog

Member
Oct 27, 2017
12,216
Why is there no native supersampling? :( There is no reason not to include it. Playstation Blog even stated the game would:
"Using PS4 Pro, 4K TV owners can enjoy an enhanced Death Stranding experience with dynamic 4K resolution achieved through 4K checkerboard, while HD TV owners will benefit from increased image clarity through supersampling."

The system supersampling is not of the same quality as game-implemented supersampling.
The 1080p mode does end up removing any of the drops in the cut-scenes and Norman's room segments.

So it does serve a purpose.
 

Haikira

Member
Dec 22, 2017
227
Northern Ireland
Trying to in as blind as possible & so what are there cliff notes?
Any word on the bad framepacing/stuttering in cutscenes on Pro?
I don`t want to watch the video yet because of possible spoilers.
Few snippets from their article.
  • Death Stranding operates at 1080p on the vanilla PS4, rising to a checkerboarded 2160p on the Pro.
  • Everything else about the game's visual make-up is a lock between both systems, meaning that the entire Death Stranding experience is effectively feature-complete on vanilla hardware.
  • By and large, both versions of the game run at 30 frames per second and where there are some dips, they seem to play out in much the same way. In fact, in very, very limited scenes, you may even see the standard PS4 marginally outperform the Pro.
  • It's still the case that performance drops - such as they are - are limited mostly to non-interactive engine-driven cutscenes, while our tests so far have offered up pretty much rock-solid in-game performance, to the point where we've run performance analysis software in the background during much of our playthrough of the entire game. The end result? Finding deviation from the target frame-rate is very, very challenging indeed. It seems that there is a slight bias more towards visual fidelity in cutscenes vs consistency in performance - but overall, there's very little to criticise here.
 

i-Lo

Avenger
Oct 31, 2017
11,980
Not America
Few snippets from their article.
  • Death Stranding operates at 1080p on the vanilla PS4, rising to a checkerboarded 2160p on the Pro.
Everything else about the game's visual make-up is a lock between both systems, meaning that the entire Death Stranding experience is effectively feature-complete on vanilla hardware.
  • By and large, both versions of the game run at 30 frames per second and where there are some dips, they seem to play out in much the same way. In fact, in very, very limited scenes, you may even see the standard PS4 marginally outperform the Pro.
  • It's still the case that performance drops - such as they are - are limited mostly to non-interactive engine-driven cutscenes, while our tests so far have offered up pretty much rock-solid in-game performance, to the point where we've run performance analysis software in the background during much of our playthrough of the entire game. The end result? Finding deviation from the target frame-rate is very, very challenging indeed. It seems that there is a slight bias more towards visual fidelity in cutscenes vs consistency in performance - but overall, there's very little to criticise here.
Just saw the article too. thanks.
 

Lord Error

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,058
Played about an hour and a half so far and it was difficult to tell what was pre-rendered CG, what was in-engine cutscene and just in-engine. Not even sure if things are pre-rendered at all? Game is visually amazing, draw distances are insane. Can’t wait to hop back in today.
As far as I know, nothing is pre-rendered.
 
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chandoog

chandoog

Member
Oct 27, 2017
12,216
I don't know why the 4x speed up made me laugh.


Base PS4 has a 4K mode? What? Can't watch the video at the moment. Edit: Sorry I completely misread that. I understand it now.
Base PS4 has better performance in that mirror segment compared to PS4 Pro running in 2160p mode.
But PS4 Pro running in 1080p mode has no performance drops at all.
 
Nov 6, 2017
1,715
Few snippets from their article.
  • Death Stranding operates at 1080p on the vanilla PS4, rising to a checkerboarded 2160p on the Pro.
  • Everything else about the game's visual make-up is a lock between both systems, meaning that the entire Death Stranding experience is effectively feature-complete on vanilla hardware.
  • By and large, both versions of the game run at 30 frames per second and where there are some dips, they seem to play out in much the same way. In fact, in very, very limited scenes, you may even see the standard PS4 marginally outperform the Pro.
  • It's still the case that performance drops - such as they are - are limited mostly to non-interactive engine-driven cutscenes, while our tests so far have offered up pretty much rock-solid in-game performance, to the point where we've run performance analysis software in the background during much of our playthrough of the entire game. The end result? Finding deviation from the target frame-rate is very, very challenging indeed. It seems that there is a slight bias more towards visual fidelity in cutscenes vs consistency in performance - but overall, there's very little to criticise here.
Thanks!
 

Plum

The Fallen
May 31, 2018
7,790
Man I really don't know whether I want to get a PS4 Pro for this game. The game on my 48 inch 1080p TV looks amazing but I'm soon going to be upgrading to a 55 inch 4K OLED and I don't want to feel like I'm missing out.

I suppose a good question would be whether anyone who played Horizon: Zero Dawn before and after the Pro came out noticed that big of a difference? It's in the same engine with much the same resolution so it likely won't be much different to DS.
 

AegonSnake

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,774
Man I really don't know whether I want to get a PS4 Pro for this game. The game on my 48 inch 1080p TV looks amazing but I'm soon going to be upgrading to a 55 inch 4K OLED and I don't want to feel like I'm missing out.

I suppose a good question would be whether anyone who played Horizon: Zero Dawn before and after the Pro came out noticed that big of a difference? It's in the same engine with much the same resolution so it likely won't be much different to DS.
i played Ratchet, BF1 and Titanfall on my 1080p tv before buying a 4k tv for the pro and despite the supersampling producing amazing picture quality on 1080p screens, going to 4k is like a come to jesus moment. you simply notice more detail. everything is extrapolated. my 1080p tv's screen size was 55 inches, same as my 4k TV, and yet i had no idea i was missing out on so much detail in games.

what you are not getting is new graphics features, the game will look the same. you simply see more of it. think of 1080p like looking through a dusty window. the real world graphics outside your house look the same, but when you clean the window you simply see more.

there are plenty of pro games with 1080p 60 fps versions and let me tell you, in 4k or even 1440p, you notice grass textures, foliage details and distant buildings in such clarity that its hard to go back to 1080p versions just for 60 fps. SOTC has amazing grass in 1440p but in 1080p you dont see the grains anymore.

despite all that, its too late to buy a pro imo.
 
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chandoog

chandoog

Member
Oct 27, 2017
12,216
This engine is just incredible.



IIRC it wasn't Kojima who said that, it was just a rumour by someone else. Could be wrong though, it's been a while.
I can only find rumor articles on quick google searches.


^ Based on the above, looks like there was some confusion that Decima was a variant of the Sucker Punch engine. I don't know how accurate that is.
 

NediarPT88

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,706
I can only find rumor articles on quick google searches.


^ Based on the above, looks like there was some confusion that Decima was a variant of the Sucker Punch engine. I don't know how accurate that is.
Yeah I don't think that's right, GG and SP engines should have nothing to do with each other afaik. There's some confusion going on in that article.

I just checked and the 1st trailer being made with SP engine thing was started by YongYea, not Kojima.

From what I remember the only thing Kojima said about this was that he was trying to decide between two engines at the start, ending up with GG Decima. The way GG presented their engine to him also had a lot of impact on his decision.
 

dedge

Member
Sep 15, 2019
182
Man I really don't know whether I want to get a PS4 Pro for this game. The game on my 48 inch 1080p TV looks amazing but I'm soon going to be upgrading to a 55 inch 4K OLED and I don't want to feel like I'm missing out.

I suppose a good question would be whether anyone who played Horizon: Zero Dawn before and after the Pro came out noticed that big of a difference? It's in the same engine with much the same resolution so it likely won't be much different to DS.
I played through Horizon on Pro in 1080P (so supersampling) and SDR and it looked fantastic. I've since revisited it w/4K HDR and it looks fantastic just in more/different ways. It will certainly be better with that setup but I really don't think you can go wrong with base PS4 still, especially for prime Sony exclusives like Spider-Man, God of War, or Death Stranding. Save the money for PS5 which will really take advantage of your OLED.
 

LCGeek

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,387
Thank you richard for reminding people who come in to this thread this game runs on a customized radeon 7850, which had anyone suggested in 2013 this game would be running on that would've been laughed at.

Efficiency and talent are true king in this industry no matter how much more power we gain the best simply are those taking what they got and making the most with it. Always love the details in the vids.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,720
Jesus this game is a looker. Some of the environments look photorealistic at times and the character models look real.
 
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chandoog

chandoog

Member
Oct 27, 2017
12,216
Thank you richard for reminding people who come in to this thread this game runs on a customized radeon 7850, which had anyone suggested in 2013 this game would be running on that would've been laughed at.

Efficiency and talent are true king in this industry no matter how much more power we gain the best simply are those taking what they got and making the most with it. Always love the details in the vids.
I know .. it's frankly insane what developers are able to pull off on that archaic level of hardware. Even on the base XB One, which often gets the most compromised version of games .. it's pretty remarkable.
 

S1kkZ

Member
Oct 27, 2017
460
will try the super sampling mode later. i was wondering why the image seemed a bit fuzzy, even on my 1080p display (compared to other games that use downsampling). still, having a 1080p mode that eliminates the small framerate issues, is welcome.
 

Mass Effect

Member
Oct 31, 2017
5,702
Man I really don't know whether I want to get a PS4 Pro for this game. The game on my 48 inch 1080p TV looks amazing but I'm soon going to be upgrading to a 55 inch 4K OLED and I don't want to feel like I'm missing out.
Replay it on PS5. Assuming you get one, that way you don’t have to worry about spending even more extra money on hardware that will be obsolete in a year. The PS5 will either have its own upgrade patch or, at worst, use the PS4 Pro’s settings.

Are you upgrading to this new TV right away (as in within holiday season)?
 

SpookyFries

Member
Dec 7, 2017
297
Austin, TX
The funny thing to me is when the first teaser dropped people legit thought that it was prerendered and not running in an engine. "No way would the game look this good" is something a lot of people were saying. I remember getting into arguments on the old site, zooming deep into Norman's hair to show that the shadows and aliasing were not prerendered quality.

Now the game is here and it looks ten times better than the original teaser. Crazy how far we've jumped this gen.
 

Anono

Member
Dec 1, 2017
1,002
It is amazing how developers can squeeze the base PS4 hardware in this final year of its life.

I expect the same for The Last Of Us Part II.
 

georaldc

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,045
Man I really don't know whether I want to get a PS4 Pro for this game. The game on my 48 inch 1080p TV looks amazing but I'm soon going to be upgrading to a 55 inch 4K OLED and I don't want to feel like I'm missing out.

I suppose a good question would be whether anyone who played Horizon: Zero Dawn before and after the Pro came out noticed that big of a difference? It's in the same engine with much the same resolution so it likely won't be much different to DS.
I beat Horizon Zero Dawn on a standard PS4, but using a 4k TV. Got a PS4 Pro later but never really had the chance to revisit Horizon aside from some quick tests here and there. The resolution bump is appreciated, but I guess it depends on how well you are able to spot the differences. Horizon already looked amazing even in 1080p, especially when I was already able to play it in HDR as well.
 

monmagman

Member
Dec 6, 2018
2,203
England,UK
So glad they went for graphical equality between the base and pro....I thought Kojima might want to push the pro version further.
Game is installed,gonna start it up later tonight.
 

ItsTonyB

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,340
England
Man I really don't know whether I want to get a PS4 Pro for this game. The game on my 48 inch 1080p TV looks amazing but I'm soon going to be upgrading to a 55 inch 4K OLED and I don't want to feel like I'm missing out.

I suppose a good question would be whether anyone who played Horizon: Zero Dawn before and after the Pro came out noticed that big of a difference? It's in the same engine with much the same resolution so it likely won't be much different to DS.
Horizon was way better on a 4k oled.

HDR was the best bit about it. The best implementation I've seen in a game this week probably be the same implementation
 

FuturaBold

Member
Oct 27, 2017
690
HDR is supposed to be best in class for Death Stranding as well. This alone is one reason Im interested, lol! However Im going for Fallen Order first and
saving Death Stranding for January.
 

Wonderment

Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
10,420
It is amazing how developers can squeeze the base PS4 hardware in this final year of its life.

I expect the same for The Last Of Us Part II.
Me as well.

It's fascinating. The article goes back to look at past renders in DS trailers and notes how similar the initial reveal and later reveals in 2017 are to the final product, almost as if Decima had been used throughout.

Given that HZD came out at the end of February 2017 and the first Decima-confirmed media of DS came out in December of 2017, it seems clear that first-party had fully unlocked the potential of the hardware of this gen around that time. Lost Legacy demonstrates this as well, and puts TLOUII on track to be feature complete on this heading into a next generation.

Further, looking at third-party titles released in 2017 (Battlefront II, AC Origins, COD WWII, etc.) it seems that this was the time that third-party had unlocked the potential of the hardware of this gen as well.

The games that seemed to strain the most this gen on base hardware were open-world systems-heavy (BOTW, RDR2, FFXV, AC Odyssey, and unfortunately Just Cause 3) so hopefully even a modest CPU boost next gen will relieve this strain and allow the presentations to soar.
 

Lord Error

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,058
Damn, the opening scene is insane for it not to be.
Revisiting one of the DF videos I was watching - John said that the game "at times looks borderline pre-rendered, even though nearly everything is 100% real time" - so maybe that one is pre-rendered. I didn't see the whole thing as to not get spoiled.
 

Plum

The Fallen
May 31, 2018
7,790
Wow, thanks for all the answers!

i played Ratchet, BF1 and Titanfall on my 1080p tv before buying a 4k tv for the pro and despite the supersampling producing amazing picture quality on 1080p screens, going to 4k is like a come to jesus moment. you simply notice more detail. everything is extrapolated. my 1080p tv's screen size was 55 inches, same as my 4k TV, and yet i had no idea i was missing out on so much detail in games.

what you are not getting is new graphics features, the game will look the same. you simply see more of it. think of 1080p like looking through a dusty window. the real world graphics outside your house look the same, but when you clean the window you simply see more.

there are plenty of pro games with 1080p 60 fps versions and let me tell you, in 4k or even 1440p, you notice grass textures, foliage details and distant buildings in such clarity that its hard to go back to 1080p versions just for 60 fps. SOTC has amazing grass in 1440p but in 1080p you dont see the grains anymore.

despite all that, its too late to buy a pro imo.
I played through Horizon on Pro in 1080P (so supersampling) and SDR and it looked fantastic. I've since revisited it w/4K HDR and it looks fantastic just in more/different ways. It will certainly be better with that setup but I really don't think you can go wrong with base PS4 still, especially for prime Sony exclusives like Spider-Man, God of War, or Death Stranding. Save the money for PS5 which will really take advantage of your OLED.
Horizon was way better on a 4k oled.

HDR was the best bit about it. The best implementation I've seen in a game this week probably be the same implementation
Thanks for the impressions! Yeah, Sony's exclusives are the best when it comes to having a good base PS4 version (and TLoU:P2 seems like it's being developed for the Base in mind) but AegonSnake's impressions definitely makes me want to see what those kinds of games would look like on the new TV at the highest resolutions possible. I suppose I could buy the TV, play around with games like Forza Horizon 4 on my XB1X to compare 1080p and 4K directly, and then go from there.
Thing is I'm much more sure of my financial situation now than next year's financial situation, and if it's true that the PS5 is fully backwards compatible then I can easily trade that in towards it and get a PS5 for much less than new. Similarly there's bundles with DS and CoD:MW for normal retail price (£349.99) so if I get those I can get a good £150 at least shaved off the price by trading in the game and my Slim (after transferring P.T. over, of course).
Replay it on PS5. Assuming you get one, that way you don’t have to worry about spending even more extra money on hardware that will be obsolete in a year. The PS5 will either have its own upgrade patch or, at worst, use the PS4 Pro’s settings.

Are you upgrading to this new TV right away (as in within holiday season)?
Yeah, I should be getting it in the next few weeks (if not next week). And I don't particularly see myself replaying it so whilst you are right in that the Pro's going to be obsolete I'm leaning towards it.
I beat Horizon Zero Dawn on a standard PS4, but using a 4k TV. Got a PS4 Pro later but never really had the chance to revisit Horizon aside from some quick tests here and there. The resolution bump is appreciated, but I guess it depends on how well you are able to spot the differences. Horizon already looked amazing even in 1080p, especially when I was already able to play it in HDR as well.
HDR definitely seems like the biggest bump, especially as I'll be going from a relatively cheap Sony that has colour banding and vertical banding issues to a top-of-the-line OLED.
 

ItsTonyB

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,340
England
Wow, thanks for all the answers!





Thanks for the impressions! Yeah, Sony's exclusives are the best when it comes to having a good base PS4 version (and TLoU:P2 seems like it's being developed for the Base in mind) but AegonSnake's impressions definitely makes me want to see what those kinds of games would look like on the new TV at the highest resolutions possible. I suppose I could buy the TV, play around with games like Forza Horizon 4 on my XB1X to compare 1080p and 4K directly, and then go from there.
Thing is I'm much more sure of my financial situation now than next year's financial situation, and if it's true that the PS5 is fully backwards compatible then I can easily trade that in towards it and get a PS5 for much less than new. Similarly there's bundles with DS and CoD:MW for normal retail price (£349.99) so if I get those I can get a good £150 at least shaved off the price by trading in the game and my Slim (after transferring P.T. over, of course).


Yeah, I should be getting it in the next few weeks (if not next week). And I don't particularly see myself replaying it so whilst you are right in that the Pro's going to be obsolete I'm leaning towards it.


HDR definitely seems like the biggest bump, especially as I'll be going from a relatively cheap Sony that has colour banding and vertical banding issues to a top-of-the-line OLED.
HDR is definitely the biggest improvement.

4k is nice but where near as big a difference as hdr. Especially on an oled