Digital Foundry: Every PS4 Pro native 4K game tested

If you’ve bought PlayStation 4 Pro and paired it with a brand new ultra HD TV, the chances are that you’ll be looking for a range of games designed to get the most out of both of your new purchases. As we stated in our , the likes of Ratchet and Clank, Rise of the Tomb Raider and COD Infinite Warfare are must-play experiences, but just how many PS4 Pro titles manage to hit a native 4K with full-fat 60fps gameplay?

There’s no shortage of 4K games lists for PS4 Pro dotted across the internet, so over the last few weeks we spent our spare time getting hold of each and every game that purports to offer native ultra HD gaming, with an emphasis on targeting 60fps. Each title was put under the Digital Foundry microscope, with pixel-counts carried out to ensure that native resolution was indeed being delivered. Curiously, we discovered that quite a few titles said to be running at 4K were clearly and obviously not handing in anything like the required pixel-count, so we created a sub-category for these titles along with their actual native rendering resolutions.

In the final analysis, we were left with a mere ten titles that fulfilled the initial brief – handing in the combination of a locked 4K pixel count matched with 60fps gameplay. You can watch Dave Bierton and Tom Morgan sort the wheat from the chaff in the latest Digital Foundry videocast below, where the discussion is backed with native 4K footage for all titles captured.

Writing Lara Croft

Back in 2010, after a stint working on the early version of Eidos Montreal’s Thief reboot, Rhianna Pratchett set to work writing a very different Lara Croft. The brief from developer Crystal Dynamics was clear: this new Tomb Raider would be a reboot for the long-running series, a game that would drag Lara Croft kicking and screaming into the modern era. For Pratchett, that meant helping craft a personality for a younger Lara, an origin story in which the world’s most famous video game action hero could find herself.

“They talked about it in the way in which Batman and James Bond were rebooted,” Pratchett tells me over Skype. “We talked about Lara being depicted at a younger age. They’d had a lot of feedback from fans who wanted to see the adventures of a younger Lara, so they knew there was an appetite out there for it.”

When Pratchett began work on the series, Crystal Dynamics already had a number of Tomb Raider games under its belt, having taken over development duties from Lara’s creator, Core Design, in the mid-2000s. The studio felt it had the credibility to reboot the franchise – one of the most iconic in all video games – and had come up with a bold new vision to make the reboot worthwhile.

GeForce Now streaming coming to PC and Mac

Nvidia has announced a substantial revamp of its GeForce Now cloud-based streaming service. The system is set for a March relaunch, allowing you to stream your existing PC games library from the cloud. On stage at the CES keynote, Nvidia boss Jen-Hsun Huang showed Rise of the Tomb Raider running from Steam on a Mac, streamed from a datacentre running GPUs based on the firm’s latest Pascal-based architecture.

The idea is simple – and remarkably similar to the original OnLive pitch. This is all about taking the expensive gaming hardware out of your home, relocating it to the cloud and letting the service provider take care of aspects such as upgrading the system. The user simply streams the output of the server to their home over the internet. The kicker is the price: Nvidia is charging based on the time spent using the system, with costs starting at $25 for around 20 hours of gameplay. If you want access to more powerful Pascal-based hardware, you’ll get fewer hours of gameplay.

The way the pricing works is like this – register for GeForce Now and you get 1000 free credits, and you buy further credits at a rate of $25 for 2500. Playing on a GTX 1080-based PC uses four credits per minute, while a GTX 1060 PC uses two credits per minute.

Watch: 7 things we want from Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Uh oh, someone’s in trouble! Yep, an unidentified person who works in the video game industry the name of the next Tomb Raider game. It’s going to be called – wait for it – Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

What it’ll look like and how it’ll play is anyone’s guess at the moment, but that didn’t stop me from putting together a list of gameplay changes and additions that I’d really like to see featured in Lara Croft’s next adventure.

This video has been on YouTube since yesterday and already opinions are pretty divided; the majority of people who played the originals seem to be in agreement with most of my points, while those brought up on the modern games… well, let’s just say their comments aren’t as nice.

Watch: Johnny plays Tomb Raider, nearly explodes

Tomb Raider turned 20 this week, if Wes’ lovely article on didn’t tip you off.

I never played Tomb Raider as a child, though in the interests of full disclosure I did give it a quick go a few years back. Nonetheless, not having any fond memories of Lara Croft’s grave robbing adventures to speak of, now seemed like the right time to revisit Tomb Raider for an episode of Late to the Party.

In hindsight, I’m not sure Aoife knew what she was letting herself in for.

20 years on, the Tomb Raider story told by the people who were there

In July 2010, Lara Croft Way opened in Derby. The name for part of a new ring road was chosen from a shortlist by public vote, with a whopping 89 per cent opting for the character devised by local studio Core Design. As the likes of the BBC reported at the grand opening, a councillor said Derby was “proud of its place in a vibrant creative industry” and that Lara Croft Way was “a fantastic way to celebrate that”.

There wasn’t much of a celebration at what was left of Core, though. In fact, developers who had worked on Tomb Raider over the years shook their heads when they found out Lara Croft Way had opened to the public. Core – or what was left of it – had closed down just a few months earlier, and no-one seemed to have realised.

Tomb Raider’s rise to fame is well documented. We know much about how Lara Croft surfed the wave of cool Britannia all the way to Hollywood. We know all about Lara Croft on the cover of Face magazine, Lara Croft advertising Lucozade, and Lara Croft keeping ex-Liverpool goalkeeper David James up all night. What is less well-known is the story of those who built Lara back at Core. As the money rolled in, the pressure put on the handful of developers to deliver grew until, perhaps inevitably, Lara Croft crashed back down to earth. Derby’s pride and joy was prised out of the hands of its creators and whisked across the pond to America, a punishment for the disaster that was The Angel of Darkness. Core – and some say Tomb Raider – was never the same again.

Input lag issues fixed on PS4 Rise of the Tomb Raider

When Rise of the Tomb Raider hit the PlayStation 4 earlier this month we were pleased to discover a over the previous console iterations of the game. Unfortunately, there was one bugbear that ultimately limited the game’s potential – input latency. The original Xbox One release suffered from a large dead zone and noticeable input lag during gameplay and the brand new PlayStation 4 version exhibited the very same problem.

As of version 1.04, however, this is no longer the case on the PS4 version. Developer Nixxes has heard our plea and completely eliminated the issue bringing the PS4 version in line with the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game, neither of which suffer from this issue. It’s revelatory change that greatly improves the game’s combat by allowing players to more accurately aim its selection of precision weaponry. We had no issue pulling off headshots in version 1.04 versus our original experience which made the game much more difficult to play. Unfortunately, the original Xbox One version still possesses this fundamental problem a year on from release.

When the patch was initially released some users did report new crashes resulting in an error code CE-34878-0 but it appears that the problem was tied into network issues. If you still run into this error, disabling the network connection will solve it, but by this point, it really shouldn’t be a problem. We didn’t run into any crashes while testing version 1.04.

Changing rooms: the shifting nature of Tomb Raider’s Croft Manor

The first house I ever owned was vast and elegant, a comfortable arrangement of grand halls and wide staircases with a treasure room glinting madly from the basement and a butler I enjoyed locking in the fridge. I would go back to that house to take a break from globe-trotting and jumping about in jungles – although, when I got there, jumping about was still pretty much all I did anyway. What a place: I loved it. You never forget your first home, and so I never forgot Croft Manor.

The manor’s always been a core part of Tomb Raider’s appeal, if you ask me, although I’m still only starting to understand why that is – particularly in the light of Rise of the Tomb Raider’s delightfully odd DLC Blood Ties (included in the new PS4 edition of the game), which puts the old house firmly back at the center of things. To approach it in a different way, maybe the appeal of the manor has changed as the games have changed: as Lara Croft has evolved and been rebooted, and as the series has changed hands and different teams have tried to work out how to make Tomb Raider in a new image.

What I initially loved about the early Croft Manor was that its inclusion suggested that Lara Croft was bigger than the game she existed within. Away from the action, here was her home – introduced as a tutorial, sure, but quickly finding a purpose beyond that. Lara goes on adventures, right, but she also has an amazing house, much like Batman does, and why wouldn’t you want to see that? And if you did see that, why not make it into a puzzle – albeit a very gentle kind – with secrets that you could uncover and nooks and crannies to explore? Why not make into a place that is suggestive of puzzles, so you never stop sounding it out?

Face-Off: Rise of the Tomb Raider on PS4

One year on, Rise of the Tomb Raider is finally available on PlayStation 4. For many, hopes were high for this one – perhaps based on the vast performance improvement for Sony’s platform we witnessed in . However, the bottom line is that we’re looking at more iterative improvements this time around, with the big boosts to image quality and performance reserved for the upcoming PlayStation 4 Pro edition.

There are content differences, however. PS4 owners get the full 20th anniversary celebration package, meaning that the base Rise of the Tomb Raider adventure is bolstered by additional material – namely a new level set in Croft Manor (also playable from a first person perspective in PlayStation VR), which also plays host to a nightmare mode, where Lara takes on waves of zombies within her ancestral home. There’s also a new endurance mode – a survival-based affair where players can play together in co-op for the first time. All of these extras – bar the VR element – are available to PC and Xbox One owners as DLC for just £6.99/$9.99.

However, our focus here is on the technical elements, where it’s safe to say that Rise of the Tomb Raider takes the strong console foundation found in the Xbox One game and introduces further technical refinements, mostly derived from conversion-smith Nixxes’ existing work on the excellent PC game, or else sensible upgrades to leverage the PS4’s additional GPU power. For example, while both PS4 and Xbox One releases operate at full 1080p during gameplay, only PS4 retains the full pixel-count during cut-scenes – the Microsoft platform drops here to 1440×1080. The differences are minor though, owing to the heavily post-processed image.

Watch: Zombies invade Croft Manor in Lara’s Nightmare DLC

To celebrate 20 years of Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider will shortly add some nostalgic DLC that takes Lara back to Croft Manor, her once-swanky family mansion. Among the DLC is Lara’s Nightmare: a mode in which she fends off a zombie home invasion while scrounging for ammo and destroying hovering Skulls of Rage. See how we cope in the video below.

Also coming soon, Forza Horizon 3 refreshes its open-world racing with the diverse environments of a new Australian setting, the outback oomph of Australian utes (“utility vehicles”, Mike tells me) and, by making you the boss of the Horizon festival, the power to hire and fire your friends as on-staff racers.

Show of the Week compares this solemn responsibility with other ways in which we have, given the opportunity, screwed over our friends in video games.