Cyberpunk 2077 next-gen patch tested on PS5 and Xbox Series X / S

Cyberpunk 2077 next-gen patch tested on PS5 and Xbox Series X / S

Welcome back to Cyberpunk 2077, a completely transformed game on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series. The previous 'back compat plus' versions of the game update to the SDKs of the new generation consoles, allowing CD Projekt RED to make the most of its potential. We are talking about a game with a decidedly troubled history, and this new update to version 1.5 offers both 30fps mode with ray tracing and an enhanced 60fps performance mode, in combination with a whole series of upgrades offered by the new consoles, such as longer loading times. short. The question, however, is the following: what is the real extent of the upgrades offered to users? First of all, let's deal with the atypical case, namely that of the Xbox Series S. This console does not offer the possibility to choose rendering modes and there is simply a single 1440p and 30fps rendering with dynamic scaling. According to our tests, the render window fluctuates between 2304x1296 and 2560x1440. Certainly the absence of 60fps is a big cause for disappointment (although CDPR claims to be considering adding them) but the truth is that ray tracing support is also missing. Despite this, the wide range of upgrades offered by patch 1.50 make Cyberpunk more playable, but don't expect a graphics revolution on this console. For that you'll have to move to Xbox Series X or PS5, the first consoles to receive ray traced shadows for this game that work in conjunction with enhanced screen space reflection.

Although we are talking about 4K, our tests indicate with certainty that the RT modes on both consoles offer a native resolution of 1440p. Dynamic resolution may be in place, but all results on both consoles offer the same values ​​in each scenario, so the question arises: what does the RT actually do? Outdoors, the impact of RT shadows is virtually nil, making comparative images of RT mode and performance appear side-by-side mostly identical. Indoors, however, it is quite another thing, since the direct and precise lighting demonstrates the extent of the upgrade. The RT produces more realistic shadows that follow real world logic in shading diffusion depending on the distance of the object from the light source. The same goes for the vehicles, for the small items in V's apartment, even for the bed cushions. The effect can be subtle at times, but in some places the shadows develop a deeper and more realistic scene.

Ray traced shadows are also the only console-related RT upgrade. RT reflections are phenomenal in the PC version of the game, but are unfortunately not implemented on Series X and PS5. The environmental occlusion system, on the other hand, remains almost unchanged. That said, if we put the PS5 and Series X versions in RT close to the Series S that doesn't have RT, they all offer 1440p30 rendering and look very similar overall. The RT manifests itself in an impactful way only in some selected internal environments. On the streets of Night City, the upgrade is much less flashy. Additionally, texture, render distance, and amount of polygons are equivalent across all three consoles. The two admirals offer improved reflexes though, but that's really the only difference. Even the crowd density staged on Series S stands up to that of more powerful machines.

An example of the ray tracing effect on PS5 and Series X, compared to Series S in its default mode. See how the shadows are much more diffuse around the front of the car. Aside from ray traced shadows, most of the graphics settings are equivalent across the three consoles, including render distances. Another example of shadows getting an upgrade using ray tracing mode on PS5 and Series X, especially noticeable on the couch. Surprisingly, the ambient occlusion method remains similar across all three versions, and the PS5 and Series X are also devoid of RT reflexes. The difference in resolution is barely noticeable as all three versions aim for 1440p, while the performance modes on PS5 and Series X allow us to go beyond this resolution and get closer to 4K. A final shot of Night City. Series S holds its own with all the same graphics options. Determining the performance on Series and PS5 consoles in their respective 30fps modes is fairly straightforward. Aside from a few small uncertainties and rare tearing at the top of the screen, the frame-rate is always nailed to 30fps. The only real problem is that in this mode the input lag is too high, making it difficult to aim or drive. Basically, RT mode is fine if you're really interested in RT shadows, but when you compare the 60fps mode it's hardly more than an interesting experiment, but it's not the best way to play this title.

Performance mode promises 60fps with dynamic 4K on both flagship consoles. CDPR specifies in patch notes that small frame-rate drops may occur, which we confirm. The PS5 version appears to operate in a window between 1260p and 1728p. It won't be full 4K, but image quality gets a nice boost over the PS5 pre-patch version which ran in the range of 1080p to 1296p. The Series X goes further with resolution, but noticing the differences between the two consoles is difficult due to temporal anti-aliasing in action. What is stark, however, is the comparison with the same game before the next-gen upgrade patch: it is cleaner, sharper and more impactful.

Now an interesting experiment. Ray tracing vs performance modes compared starting with PS5. Here's how the scene is completely transformed indoors with ray traced shadows. Even the smallest objects scattered around V's apartment get involved. Ray tracing is usually more pronounced in brightly lit indoor environments. Shadows are spread realistically with RT activated, for example in the ground here ahead. On Series X we find all the same benefits present on PS5. Here is an example of enhanced reflections with SSR set to high, which gives more clarity to wet surfaces. The RT mode SSR quality boost adds a valid, albeit worse, extra to a full-blown ray tracing solution for reflections. A final shot of the reflex upgrades on Series X. Performance isn't always as solid as we would have hoped. For example, the older PS5 version had some issues in high-density NPC situations, possibly due to the nature of the code made for the PS4. The NPCs were therefore spaced out on PS5 and the city seemed empty. This issue has been fixed with build 1.5 (in addition to the big resolution boost) but it can happen that the performance falls short of the PS4 app running on the PS5. Around the market there are substantial frame-rate drops into the 40fps sphere, accompanied by occasional screen tearing, while the older version stayed close to 60fps. But there is also good news. In less crowded areas of Night City, performances are generally higher. Ultimately, improvements in resolution, NPC density and an overall increase in stability make this rendering mode a winner on PS5.

Moving to Series X, there is even more room for upgrade. Series X performed worse than PS5 with patch 1.23 (possibly due to higher resolution and increased NPC density). As the video attached on this page demonstrates, patch 1.5 raises the game's performance level in all areas, with the most stressful points running better than ever. The alley shoot-out zone still causes some headaches, but overall the game runs very well.

Both Series X and PS5 impress on the positive side, but which console offers the most stable 60fps experience? It is worth pointing out that the consoles are essentially on par, with gameplay in many cases stuck at 60fps over the course of our tests. But if we look for situations that push the game engine to the limit, the PS5 is the one that wins. For example, the heavy areas of the market see the PS5 lead by 5-10fps, which is no small feat. The Sony console spins the game more smoothly even at the stress point by driving after Diner, and in the alley shoot-out test that follows. But they are not representative scenes of the entirety of the game, and the Xbox Series X, thanks to its VRR support, does a phenomenal job of masking the performance drops.

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CD Projekt RED also discussed loading times and the good news is that patch 1.5 is much more optimized to take advantage of SSD bandwidth. It drastically shortens loading times compared to the previous build, as well as reloading the game from checkpoints. We did some testing, and an upload to the market area takes just 13 seconds on PS5, when it took 44 seconds on PS5 but with PS4 app. This finally brings the PS5 up to speed with Xbox Series X / S in uploads, as it was much slower before.

Overall, patch 1.5 offers great improvements on PS5 and Xbox Series consoles - resolution, performance and stability are far better, but we're still lagging behind the full-blown experience only achievable on PC. Furthermore, the RT implementation is only marginal and does not justify the sharp drop in frame-rate. The Series S lacks both the RT and a 60fps mode, and is therefore disappointing.

In our opinion, the latest Cyberpunk patch does a great thing: create a more stable foundation for arrival of future updates. Bug fixes are plentiful and CDPR is slowly refining its game to bring it to perfection. We did not experience any crashes during our tests and this is already a good start. Performance has never been better and at least PS5 and Series X are standardized with their options, ray traced shadows and NPC density. Now Cyberpunk 2077 is finally in the state it should have been in when it launched over a year ago. The game is worth replaying by those who have already completed it at launch, and for new players this is perhaps the best time to enjoy it to the fullest on next-generation consoles.

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