Resident Evil 7 at 4K: does resolution really matter?

PlayStation 4 Pro’s native 1260p rendering resolution for Resident Evil 7 turned out to be something of a surprise, representing a relatively slight 36 per cent uplift in pixel-count over the base PS4 version of the game. It’s a curious choice for a console designed to service the new wave of ultra HD displays, and that led us to wonder – just how does the Pro mode compare to a full-fat 4K presentation? For a game with RE7’s heavily stylised aesthetic, to what extent does a high native resolution actually matter?

Given the soft ‘found-footage’ nature of the game, there could be diminishing returns over higher pixel counts, with clarity and intricate detail masked by the heavy post-process pipeline. In many ways, RE7 produces an intentionally ‘lo-fi’ image, but on the flip-side, the boost in resolution could possibly flesh out more detail from the existing assets alongside greater precision in rendering effects – essentially keeping the film-like image intact while adding additional refinement to the core aesthetic.

With Resident Evil 7 geared towards running at 60fps, one might assume that jumping from 1080p to 4K might not require ultra high-end hardware to get the job done, but that isn’t the case here. A locked 60fps at max settings is somewhat off the table, but with an i7 paired with an overclocked Titan X Pascal it’s possible to achieve a mostly solid 4K60 during more demanding scenes. And as it turns out, brute-forcing ultra HD resolution does indeed result in a considerable upgrade over the PS4 Pro’s higher resolution mode, although the console version can hold up well in many scenarios – not a bad turn-out considering that our PC set-up is handing in a 2.9x increase in raw pixel-count.