Performance Analysis: Overwatch beta on PS4 and Xbox One
A near-flawless 60fps.
A Blizzard game at 60fps: we wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks to a recent preview event showing PS4 and Xbox One beta versions of Overwatch, it's clear the developer's new hero FPS is a strong performer on console. All three versions (including PC) are slated for a May 24th launch, and 60fps is a very viable target on Sony and Microsoft's machines - something borne out in our tests below.
Blizzard has already confirmed both PS4 and Xbox One run at native 1920x1080 too, albeit with a dynamic resolution system in place. It means Overwatch can lower its pixel count when the action heats up, but this does ensure gameplay performance is always smooth (a trade-off we can fully get behind based on the results seen here). Despite this, we've yet to notice any visible hit on image quality, and we suspect its resolution scaling logic is very rarely put into effect on PS4. Even in heavy battles - taking the explosive Junkrat character for a spin on the Hanamura map - the game remains sharp at all times. Based on PS4 tests so far, we're sticking at a true 1080p for the majority of play.
Letting loose with this hero's explosive mines and grenades, PS4 isn't troubled in its pursuit of 60fps either. This is exactly how it should be for a competitive shooter - a locked 60fps line, with almost zero hitches throughout. The only moments we see a momentary hiccup is when the camera switches to the kill-cam view, incurring a minor blip. But during actual gameplay, the worst on record is a single torn frame on PS4 once - as we rev up Junkrat's ultimate ability. Even with all action congesting in the centre of a dojo, there's simply no slip from that top 60Hz refresh.
But what about Xbox One? Well we tried the utopian Numbani map - a point capture match where we again picked Junkrat to push the Overwatch engine. In Xbox One's case, performance once again sticks to 60fps 99 per cent of the time. It's almost faultless in its frame-rate, and again, for such a fast-paced game hitting that top target really pays off in controller response.
Xbox One isn't entirely without issue though, and the console does resort to screen-tear more often than PS4, alongside one or two extra hiccups. This means when the action really picks up, some screen tearing can sneak in - causing a horizontal tear line to appear. You might miss it, and this only crops up in short bursts alongside the game's grander explosive effects. At a broadly solid 60fps refresh, Xbox One still delivers a superb level of performance, and despite its extra tearing it still plays really well.
Due to our Xbox One footage inadvertently being captured at a different setting to PS4, an accurate pixel count analysis is hard to achieve in this case. It's possible the dynamic resolution is more actively applied on Xbox One - something we've seen in other multi-platform titles - but we'll have to dissect its image quality nearer release. Our experience with Overwatch has been enlightening; it's a beautifully stylised shooter, and at 60fps the two console versions stand in very good stead next to PC. All signs point to Blizzard making the right judgement call on how to optimise for each machine, and at a technical level, the prospects for its May release are promising.
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