February 25, 2021

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Resident Evil Village: the Maiden demo examined on PlayStation 5

In the wake of the surprise ‘drop’ of the Resident Evil Village ‘Maiden’ demo for PlayStation 5 last night, the Digital Foundry team sat down to talk about their impressions of the new demo. John Linneman and Alex Battaglia are joined by series expert Alex Aniel, author of Itchy, Tasty: An Unofficial of Resident Evil. The result? The video embedded on this page!

Image quality makes for a good portion of the discussion, where the PlayStation 5 delivers a full 3840×2160, with Capcom deploying RE Engine’s excellent checkerboard-style image reconstruction technology to render up from a lower base resolution. It’s one of the more impressive implementations, looking very, very close to actual native rendering. The handling of materials and rich geometry in evidence in the demo also impressive, as does the HDR solution. In fact, the game doesn’t quite have the same punch viewed in standard SDR – blacks are quite as black as you feel they should be, while HDR mode makes a huge difference here. The only noticeable issue seems to be low resolution textures, when certain parts of the environment are viewed up close.

Also interesting is that similar to Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition, Capcom also seems to be using the console’s ray tracing hardware for RT reflections. The actual effect is very subtle and the reflections themselves are of a low resolution, but it’s definitely a step above the RE Engine’s more typical screen-space reflections which historically haven’t look too good on prior RE Engine titles. The impact of ray tracing on performance is not clear, but while targeting 60 frames per second, the game can’t quite sustain it: big open areas can cause small issues while frame-rate drops significantly in attack sequences. It’ll be interesting to see how performance holds up in the expansive outdoor areas – parts of the game we’ve only glimpsed so far in promotional material.

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