July 25, 2021

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Cyberpunk 2077 on PS5/Xbox Series X|S: a night and day improvement over last-gen consoles?

It’s no secret that Cyberpunk 2077 has launched in a bit of a state on the last generation consoles – with the base PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in particular suffering from exceptionally poor performance. We will have the full story on how all the last-gen systems compare soon, but for owners of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles, the story is somewhat more positive. Despite leaning on backwards compatibility – and not specifically addressing the capabilities of the new hardware – it’s clear that next-gen offers the core technological building blocks to provide a much more solid experience. And while we’ve not looked at it in too much depth yet, the outlook on Stadia is much brighter too.

The key to Cyberpunk 2077’s huge improvement on the new wave of machines isn’t just down to teraflops as such – it’s more the combination of new technologies provided. On this page, you’ll see a video detailing our first impressions of the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro versions of the game and it seems as if there are two key technological weaknesses that fundamentally impact the experience: the lack of CPU horsepower, plus slow storage. Graphics performance is also a key component, but mitigating measure can (and have) been taken here. Solid state storage and CPU power seem to be the key components here, demonstrated by Xbox Series S – the junior-level next-gen console that easily provides a level of performance that exceeds its 4TF GPU counterpart, PlayStation 4 Pro.

What’s intrigued me about Cyberpunk’s presentation on the next generation machines is that while backwards compatibility is the focus, what we aren’t getting is straight playback of the PS4/Xbox One games. The code is aware that it is running on more advanced hardware and changes its outlook accordingly. PlayStation 5 appears to have the simplest implementation – the game seems to have the same 1188p maximum dynamic resolution output as PlayStation 4 Pro (which actually seems to operate in a 972p-1188p DRS window) but the 30fps cap on last-gen is totally removed. The end result is something very close to a locked 60 frames per second through much of the game, with only minor drops in most scenarios. However, it’s not a lock – driving at speed through the city seems to hit a CPU limit with drops into the 50s.

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