Well, that came out of nowhere! On Monday afternoon, the official Metal Gear Solid Twitter feed revealed that a PlayStation 4 Pro patch for MGS5 was imminent, the upgrade landing in the early hours of Tuesday morning. As huge fans of the title, we were excited to see what kind of upgrades Sony's higher-spec PlayStation 4 could deliver. The end result is somewhat lacking in ambition, but it's better than nothing and at the very least, it's a good opportunity to revisit what remains an excellent title.
Konami promised performance upgrades only in its initial tweet - which is kind of curious bearing in mind that the game mostly locks to 60 frames per second anyway - but later comms talked about an upgraded resolution. For the record, our measurements have the patch delivering a 2560x1440 resolution. Yes, it's yet another PlayStation 4 Pro upgrade that delivers 1440p, with little else added to the mix. Stress test scenarios in certain cut-scenes do see performance improvements, though it's not a completely clean bill of health. That said, we're already looking at a highly optimal game, and drops from the target frame-rate are definitely edge cases. With the patch in place, expect gameplay to be as good as it ever was, if not slightly better.
In terms of upgrades beyond resolution and performance, it's slim to non-existent pickings here. The Fox Engine is capable of more - much more - as we saw in the PC version of The Phantom Pain, which allowed for super-high resolutions, massively improved shadows and big boosts to draw distance, delivering a much richer open world. In short, MGS5 clearly has scalability beyond resolution and none of these elements have made their way to the PlayStation Pro upgrade. And with no checkerboard or similar smart upscaling solution in place, this patch does feel like a barebones release. After all, as we established a long time back when we built a PC to the Pro's GPU spec, 1440p does seem to be the best natural fit for a straight, no-frills upscale to an existing PS4 engine.
In fact, it's perhaps reached the point where Sony and perhaps Microsoft might consider adding a 1440p output option to their dashboards in order to take advantage of the huge range of monitors out there that support this native resolution. In the case of Xbox One X, while we should fully expect games to run a higher pixel counts, the fact is that there's a vast range of well-equipped FreeSync monitors on the market that could potentially hand in some good results since the Scorpio Engine supports adaptive sync technology. [UPDATE: Microsoft has confirmed native 1440p support for suitable monitors, which is excellent news - and something else to add to our testing].
But right now, with MGS5, 1440p it is. Again. And this begs the question: if this resolution is indeed the basic, miminal-effort rendering sweet-spot for the PlayStation 4 Pro, where does this leave Xbox One X? What is its equivalent? Metal Gear Survive support for Xbox One X is confirmed, and we suspect that this upgrade for the legacy game may be en route for Xbox owners too. Checking out equivalent game upgrades for the new Xbox console could prove illuminating in figuring out a ballpark figure for how much more powerful Microsoft's hardware actually is. With a slew of Xbox One X patches currently in development and said to be arriving within the launch window, we look forward to finding out more.