Yesterday we talked about , which only adds superficial improvements. Today, it’s the turn of Batman: Return to Arkham – a game that boosts performance but nothing else. It’s as if developer Virtuos simply pulled a switch to enable PS4 Pro’s additional CPU and GPU power on its base title with little regard as to what would actually happen. The results are predictably variable and rather poor overall, but it may well address unfinished business from our PlayStation 4 Pro review – just what would happen if users had the ability to enable the full resources of the new hardware on existing PS4 titles?
The vast majority of console games operate with a frame-rate limit of some description – typically 30fps or 60fps – meaning that the extra Pro power could simply be utilised to stabilise performance where base hardware can’t meet the target. The tearing and frame-rate drops under 60fps in Project Cars could vanish, the mid-20fps drops occasionally seen in The Witcher 3 could improve significantly. It’s not a massive upgrade, but for those of us who value stability in console performance, it’s a big plus. Xbox One S has a minor GPU overclock that can help in this way – PS4 Pro has an uplift in both CPU and GPU terms that could do a whole lot more.
Batman: Return to Arkham actually has two titles that could help to isolate what the additional resources could achieve. Arkham Asylum operates with a wobbly 30fps cap, while Arkham City actually operates with an unlocked frame-rate that caps only at 60fps – a somewhat bizarre set-up, bearing in mind that the first Batman title is actually far less impactful on system resources. And let’s be clear here, the Pro enhancements adopted by Virtuos appear to have required no real effort from the developer itself. Arkham City offers no resolution or effects upgrades. It just runs faster, but it’s actually the variation in the boosts available that proves most fascinating.