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FPS Boost at 120fps: Battlefield, Titanfall and Mirror's Edge Catalyst tested

Another welcome bonus for Xbox Series consoles.

Last week, Microsoft upped the ante with its FPS Boost campaign, delivering 120fps upgrades for 12 Electronic Arts titles and an extra 60fps update for one other - and it's a terrific bonus for Xbox Series console users, albeit with a caveat or two we'll come to shortly. But to cut to the chase, every last-gen Battlefield game for Xbox One now runs at 120 frames per second on Series X, as does Titanfall and its sequel, and that's just the beginning.

The full list of supported titles is reproduced below and as you can see, not every single game in the list gets an upgrade if you're gaming on Xbox Series S - certain games are only 120fps-capable on the more expensive Series X. And in fact, in the course of our testing, we also discovered the price to pay for doubling frame-rate on the more expensive machine - Xbox One X enhancements (which usually manifests in the form of higher resolution) are disabled. So in essence, despite Series X offering twice the notional graphics performance of Xbox One X, we're looking at often substantial reductions in resolution to make a consistent 120 frames per second happen. Where this happens, FPS Boost isn't enabled by default - you need to drop into the game's compatibility menu to enable it. So perhaps wisely, 60fps at a resolution more befitting a 4K display remains the norm.

The reduction in resolution perhaps explains why Xbox Series S support is missing in some games - we can only assume that they don't sustain 120 frames per second when fully unlocked with FPS Boost, but this does lead to some strange disparities in support. For example, Titanfall 2 runs at 120fps on both Xbox Series S and X consoles via FPS Boost, but the first game only runs at double frame-rate on Xbox Series X.

FPS Boost's third wave of titles focuses almost entirely on 120fps gaming. Tom Morgan and Rich Leadbetter discuss their findings.

For our testing, we chose our favourite games in the bunch: the trio of Battlefield titles, both Titanfalls and Mirror's Edge Catalyst. Battlefield 4 is an interesting game to start with - a launch title for Xbox One and limited to just 720p resolution, with post-process anti-aliasing that doesn't hold up well to say the least. Unfortunately, FPS Boost cannot increase resolution, but the limited scope of the game does at least guarantee 120fps on Series X and Series S for the most part. Heavy use of transparency effects can cause some slowdown, which is more pronounced on Series S - especially in 64-player multiplayer, though we did spot some fleeting issues in an otherwise flawless 120fps campaign.

It makes the results for Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 5 all the more interesting. Series S support is off the table but whether it's campaign gameplay or 64-player multiplayer these titles run flawlessly on Series X at a locked 120 frames per second. DICE moved on to dynamic resolution scaling with these games, and while Series X seems to tap into the original Xbox One S codepath, we do at least get maximum resolution throughout: we measured a consistent 972p on Battlefield 1 and 1080p (not a typo) on Battlefield 5. These are much higher resolutions than those seen on Xbox One at 60fps back in the day. Sticking with DICE titles, Mirror's Edge Catalyst is also delightful, clocking in at around 936p and perfectly locked at 120fps. This one never had Xbox One X support, so there is no resolution deficit here - it's a straight doubling of performance, but only for Series X users.

Moving on to the Titanfall games, the original release retains its original 792p presentation as you would expect but runs totally locked at 120 frames per second. Again, there are no Xbox One X features here, so there are no trades to resolution in hitting 120fps on Series X, but the lack of Series S support is a bit of a puzzle. We can only assume that the boosted experience was not stable enough to pass muster - a little puzzling bearing in mind that the Series S GPU has around 2.8x the performance of Xbox One. Regardless, the game plays beautifully at 120 frames per second on Series X. Yes, it's a little dated visually, but the gameplay is still solid gold - and I had no problems whatsoever finding a game.

Game Xbox Series X Xbox Series S
Battlefield 1 120Hz -
Battlefield 4 120Hz 120Hz
Battlefield 5 120Hz -
Mirror's Edge Catalyst 120Hz -
PvZ: Garden Warfare 120Hz 120Hz
PvZ: Battle for Neighborville 120Hz 120Hz
PvZ: Garden Warfare 2 120Hz 120Hz
Sea of Solitude 60Hz 60Hz
Star Wars Battlefront 120Hz 120Hz
Star Wars Battlefront 2 120Hz -
Titanfall 120Hz -
Titanfall 2 120Hz 120Hz
Unravel 2 120Hz 120Hz

Titanfall 2 is perhaps the best game to get FPS Boost support and it supports both Series X and S consoles. Resolution was measured at the top-end of the Xbox One DRS scale - 810p, so it's a big drop in clarity compared to the temporally augmented 1512p measured outside of FPS Boost on Series X, but a game that looked and played beautifully at 60fps is super-smooth and massively enjoyable to play on Series consoles at twice the frame-rate. The game runs extremely well on both consoles and 120fps gaming is the norm - except on heavy transparency effects, where Series S can buckle into 90-100fps territory. A variable refresh rate display should help tidy this up.

So overall, it's a fascinating update from Microsoft with the latest FPS Boost titles. Targeting 120 frames per second is interesting bearing in mind the number of 120Hz-supported screens out there attached to Series X and especially Series S is likely to be limited. It's also a little disappointing to see that Series X owners need to cut down resolution quite drastically in some places to benefit from the doubling of performance but at least this does guarantee sustained performance in almost all scenarios - and the uplift to the experience in terms of fluidity and response is quite revelatory, especially for first-person shooters.

But the one big takeaway I took from this testing? Man, Titanfall 2 really is a tremendous game - a superb multiplayer experience coupled with what must surely be one of the best single-player campaigns of the last generation. Whether you're playing it at 60fps or 120fps, it's an essential experience and definitely one of the unsung heroes of the last console generation.

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About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry  |  digitalfoundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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