Elite: Dangerous Digital Foundry

Is Elite Dangerous on PlayStation the definitive console version?

Digital FoundryIs Elite Dangerous on PlayStation the definitive console version?

Pro powers ahead but Xbox One has better performance than base PS4.

Frontier Developments' celebrated Elite Dangerous arrived on PlayStation 4 recently, joining the already established PC and Xbox One versions. There's a reason we've held off coverage until now: the PS4 build launched with v-sync disabled, resulting in a sub-optimal presentation. Frontier asked us to wait for a hotfix to roll out, which duly arrived on Monday. The outlook improves with the new update in place but it's still not quite right.

At the base level, both the base PS4 and Xbox One versions of Elite Dangerous operate using a sub-set of the PC's expansive range of graphics options, with all versions delivering a native 1080p resolution. PlayStation 4 Pro is also supported with two modes - quality and performance - but again, 1080p is the final resolution here, with no higher resolution functionality integrated yet. We have parity in resolution then, but there are differences in visual settings deployed for each device. Using the training missions as the basis for like-for-like comparisons, the Pro's performance mode offers the exact same visual set as the base PS4 version of the game - as you might expect, it's simply running the same visuals at a significantly higher frame-rate.

In turn, the Xbox One game looks much the same, the most immediate difference coming from terrain detail. Distant detail is better defined on PS4, compared to Xbox One's more simplified rendition. However, the Microsoft platform enjoys a small but significant advantage of its own: its anti-aliasing solution is a closer match for PC's top setting - SMAA - while base PS4 and Pro's performance mode opt for the less impressive FXAA, which adds a distinct blur to texture detail. Elsewhere, PS4 and Xbox One are very close with just small variations: shadow quality is matched for example, but object draw distance has an advantage on Sony's hardware.

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