Guardians of the Galaxy made a big impression after our tests on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The game itself is fantastic and a true highlight of 2021 – but what’s equally clear is that the Dawn Engine is demanding on console hardware. This all begs the question: How do the previous generation of machines handle the game? In a world where the PS5 and Series X struggle to keep up with 1080p60 in performance mode, can a PS4 or Xbox One machine deliver a decent experience?
Obviously, there are changes from the current console experience – so the option to choose between a 30fps quality mode and a 60fps display option is out of the question. It’s 30fps and that’s its terrain, similar to the Xbox Series S. Reducing the resolution as well as the frame rate is another obvious way Guardians of the Galaxy can change size: so the base PS4 renders with a dynamic resolution range from around 900p to 972p, while the Xbox One drops that down to 720p ( DRS is a possibility here, but all count up to 720p, oddly enough). Due to temporal anti-aliasing in the game, the lower the resolution, the less sharp the image, but it’s still a good looking game: only the hair and fur elements are really affected.
Moving on to better machines from the previous generation, the Xbox One X is a real surprise, with a huge boost in image quality – as you’d expect from a dynamic resolution range of 1440p-1890p. Image clarity is greatly improved and hair and fur artifacts are far less of a problem. It’s also nice to see that the texture quality, anisotropic filtering, shadows and even drawing distance have all improved based on the Xbox One. The PS4 Pro also aims for 4K with the same DRS range as the Xbox One X, with the difference that the dynamic pixel count is usually lower.
At this point it’s worth updating our review of the PS5 and Series X Quality Mode, which also runs at 30fps—that’s actually native 4K for the vast majority of games, but DRS can drop to 1800p. The more interesting is the developer’s choice to set the S Series to 1080p30 – a curious choice considering that both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X look fairly clean due to their high pixel counts. The S Series is a generation ahead and yet any close hair or fur scheme suggests that the One X, in particular, offers a huge advantage in resolving sub-pixel detail. However, perhaps predictably, the resolution is not the full story. In fact, despite the low pixel count, the Series S implements higher scene settings. There is a slight improvement in shadow quality on the new machine and most notable is the increase in texture quality on the S series – a curious situation considering the lower rendering resolution.
There are other questions to answer as well – if we consider that the PS5 and Series X provide twice (or more) the GPU power of the previous generation of advanced machines, how are the rendering resolutions relatively close? The answer here is approximate: the graphics quality is more impressive. The texture quality is greatly improved, the drawing distance is increased, the shadow quality is higher, and the geometric density is also greatly improved. The new console also incorporates leaf physics, perhaps taking advantage of the additional power provided by the CPU.
There’s also the issue of performance to consider – there’s a real problem here based on previous generation machines. Based on PlayStation 4. Even with its dynamic resolution of 900p-972p, the frame rate impresses in cinematics and combat, where we can drop to 20 frames per second. It’s great at exploration, but whenever the action escalates, the game clearly has problems. Seeing as how each new battle introduces a new mechanic, a new guardian, or more abilities—such as elemental rounds—it’s worrying to see this become progressively more problematic. The Xbox One has issues as well, but it appears that its locked 720p resolution offers less aggressive performance dips. Overall, the Xbox One tackles most areas better than the base PS4, but it’s still far from ideal. Image quality, blocking, geometric pop-ins – all remain a serious problem for the experience.
However, if you’re playing on the Xbox One X, Guardians of the Galaxy in general holds up admirably, offering similar performance to the S series—it’s essentially a 30fps lockup, though from time to time. There are some obvious streaming hits when moving between regions or across camera changes in kinematics. It has sporadically one-frame drops—while the worst cinematics drop briefly into the high 20s. Again, this isn’t ideal, but it’s a huge improvement over the previous generation versions. Not much else to say here, except that it’s impressive when the One X does it all at a higher resolution than the S series. As far as the previous generation versions go, this is the one that has to be purchased, and it is quite playable.
It’s a two-part game on the PS4 Pro: On the one hand, it’s a pleasant 30fps combat experience, while maintaining that level of performance even during most of the exploration phases. On the other hand, there are moments in sports and cinematics that inexplicably descend into the 20s. The PS4 Pro is best described as a mix: again, it’s very playable, and the image quality is worthy of the name. You can think of it as an Xbox One X-like experience, only with a slightly less stable frame rate in cinematics and in unexpected moments.
At this point, we’ve covered all seven console versions of Guardians of the Galaxy and the end result is that the PS4 Pro is the “minimal console spec” we can recommend for smooth gaming, with the Xbox One X being the better alternative to all machines. Is. of the last generation. Both superior consoles deliver a reasonable 30fps performance level with a sharp image that looks good on a 4K screen. Both the PS5 and Series X miss the high quality details, foliage, textures, shadows and physics – but they do a really good job. With the base console, you’ll have to endure regular dips to 20fps—especially on the PS4—with a significant impact on resolution, where the Xbox One native produces the worst results at 720p.
Final Thoughts: It’s clear that Guardians of the Galaxy Engine is demanding console hardware, but given the results for the PS5 and Xbox Series X, it was surprising to see how well the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro handled it. . It’s a great release and you’ll still have a great experience if you’re still playing on any of these machines. my last thought? Looking at the presentation of the Xbox One X, expect developers to offer a higher resolution upgrade for the Series S—it may not have the raw power and bandwidth, but 1080p30 seems like a pretty deep cut for a junior Xbox Series console.