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Redout on Xbox One X falls short of the PS4 Pro experience

UPDATE: Developer responds, confirms dynamic resolution.

UPDATE: Developer 34BigThings has responded to our analysis of Redout, taking issue with our findings - specifically the 1080p rendering resolution of the Xbox One X version. "We managed to scale the resolution between 90 per cent and 50 per cent of native 4K, which means the resolution goes from the upper limit of 3456x1944 to the lower one of 1920x1080," CEO Valerio Di Donato says. "More technical details on this will follow in the next days, when everybody will be back from holiday vacations but meanwhile let us spell it out: it's not 1080p."

First of all, apologies to 34BigThings for the flak attracted by our article - we updated it once additional data from VGTech came in, which demonstrated that an error had been made, and have since pulled the video which is not so easily updated. We will revisit the game and post a new version as soon as we can. However, it is still clear that Redout has issues on Xbox One X that aren't anything like as pronounced as the smoother PS4 Pro version, and the developer says they will work on improving them.

"As many users reported, there are still some frame-rate hiccups where the game can't keep the 60fps pace and significantly drops below the 45+ threshold, which is something we are aware and very sorry of," Di Donato continues. "This happens more frequently where many AI opponents are factored in, while it's close to nonexistent on time attacks, solo races and races with few opponents. We are aware of these issues and we'll keep working on those as long as possible.

Original story: As powerful as it may be, not every release for Xbox One X can be a winner, but we genuinely expected more from Redout: Lightspeed Edition. The potential's certainly there: the original PC version of the game remains an excellent piece of work, but it's clearly a demanding title for consoles - only the PlayStation 4 Pro version can consistently deliver full 60fps gameplay. According to Microsoft's X-enhanced games list, Redout should be delivering ultra HD 4K on the new console. It's not, but that's actually the least of its issues.

As things stand, there seems to be a running theme of Redout over-promising and under-delivering on consoles. An interview with developer 34BigThings claims that the PS4 Pro version runs at checkerboard 4K with most of PC's epic settings enabled, while simultaneously claiming that Xbox One X would hand in native ultra HD with all visual presets ramped up to the max. That's an enticing prospect bearing in mind how beautiful the PC experience is, but all of our pixel counts resolve 1080p resolution only on both X and Pro consoles. [UPDATE: Tip of the hat to VGTech here, for confirming dynamic resolution scaling with a different shot selection to ours. How the scaler works is something we'll take another look at, as even the simplest shots in our sample came in at native 1080p.]

That's not necessarily a bad thing though. In a WipEout/F-Zero-style game like this, frame-rate is king, and stacking up the unlocked and wobbly base PS4 version of Redout with the slick Pro version offers up a clearly improved experience, with Sony's super-charged console handing in a nigh-on locked 60fps. Last September, 34BigThings told us that a 4K checkerboarding update would be deployed when we contacted them about the Pro's 1080p pixel counts, but looking at the game today, nothing has changed.

All of which leads up to the recent release of the Xbox One X upgrade and it's here where the game could really stand to benefit from increased GPU horsepower. The base Xbox One version only manages a 972p native resolution, with some settings downgrades, such as pared-back distance detail compared to PS4. But it's the frame-rate that is the real issue here, where we found that Microsoft's console ran at a disappointing 30fps with frame-pacing issues. There is genuine improvement with the X upgrade with a push for 60fps gameplay, but we're still falling short of the Pro experience.

First of all, rather than running at the equivalent of PC's epic preset, Redout on Xbox One X looks uncannily similar to the base Xbox release, with the same LOD cutbacks compared to the PlayStation versions. Native rendering resolution increases and frame-rate is unlocked, but in terms of upgrades, that's your lot. Despite the claims of 4K resolution, the only aspect of the title we found that actually delivers ultra HD is the HUD (which is a 1080p asset on Pro, curiously). Redout is still a handsome game, with the visual cutbacks unlikely to be noticed in the thick of the action, but the real issue here is that unlike the PS4 Pro release, the X game fails to consistently hit 60 frames per second.

Running the same content side-by-side with the Pro, it's clear that the Sony machine has an obvious performance advantage. Rare, single frame drops on the Pro pass by unnoticed, but bouts of judder that take the game into 50fps and even 40fps territory are an unwelcome feature of the Xbox One X release. Bearing in mind the additional compute power and memory bandwidth offered by the Scorpio Engine, it's hard to believe that Redout is under-performing to this degree, especially once the slight visual downgrades are factored into the mix.

The bottom line is that Redout on PS4 Pro has the edge visually and makes a much better fist of hitting its 60fps target frame-rate, with Xbox One X falling short of the target in both regards. We've seen games on the new Microsoft system effortlessly outperform the Pro, or deliver a range of resolution improvements with no impact to frame-rate. We've even seen titles that match performance, while massively increasing pixel counts and adding visual features. On the flipside, we've seen X titles that push resolution so hard, that performance can take a hit compared to the Pro version. However, Redout is the first X-enhanced title we've seen that pares back the visual feature-set compared to Pro - and actually delivers worse performance. We have our fingers crossed that the developer will come back with a revised, improved take on what is a really impressive racer, but as things stand, Redout on Xbox One X is a disappointment.

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