January 27, 2023

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Prey and Dishonored on Series X|S: FPS Boost isn’t just about 60fps

As part of its celebration in acquiring Bethesda, Microsoft’s second wave of FPS Boost titles for Xbox Series consoles sees the delivery of some dramatic upgrades for classic titles from its newly assimilated publisher. Heavy hitters Skyrim, Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 will get the Digital Foundry treatment in due course, but to begin with we wanted to revisit Dishonored Definitive Edition and Prey from Arkane Studios. These are both brilliant games, but they’re also somewhat sub-optimal in their original console incarnations. FPS Boost dramatically transforms the both of them – and what’s fascinating is that it’s not just the doubling of frame-rate that is key in improving the experience. Remarkably, FPS Boost goes further than you might expect to the point where with Prey in particular, I feel we’re close to remaster territory.

We’ll kick off with Prey – an immersive sim that I happen to rate as one of my favourite games of 2017, but also a release that I just couldn’t bring myself to play on the last-gen consoles. A combination of performance problems, input lag issues and some extended loading times were very off-putting – and why put yourself through that when the PC version is so much better?

Let’s get the stats out of the way first. The game operates at 900p on Xbox One S, with resolution rising to 1440p on the One X (which also receives a pushed out draw distance and improved reflections). These pixel counts persist onto Series S and X respectively, but obviously, with FPS Boost enabled, all performance issues are resolved, both next-gen machines delivering a nigh-on perfect 60 frames per second, punctuated only by some checkpoint stutter. But the performance boost is just one part of the equation – there’s a similar improvement in input lag, comprehensively addressing one of the last-gen version’s biggest issues.

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