Digital Foundry: Battlefield 4 PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One
Digital Foundry have released their definitive comparison:
As many know, they did a face-off a while ago, but the code was not final, and the Xbox One had weird issues with colour and artificial sharpening.
The comparison is now retail code:
The PS4 had the higher internal resolution, a considerable performance lead in motion, and the addition of extra effects such as horizon-based ambient occlusion entirely missing on Xbox One. But now, with the retail releases out in the wild, we can see to what extent this disparity is set in stone, and whether DICE's implication of further tweaks to the Xbox One release actually makes up any ground.
In motion, it's the Xbox One version that suffers from the greater temporal aliasing - a flicker artefact on thin geometry and power-lines while panning - but also a general muddying of enemy outlines on the horizon. A post-process anti-aliasing method is in place for both versions, but it's simply not enough to pull the Microsoft release out of the muggy mire as far as image quality goes - it stands as a real shame.
The messed up colours on the Xbox One version, the black crush (which some people thought was a good thing lol), has been corrected:
Secondly, the black crush previously seen on Xbox One is gone for the consumer-side product, meaning the colour space is now a much closer match to the PS4's.
The weird sharpening filter the Xbox One applies to games has also been removed (again, for some reason some people thought this was a positive):
As is the case for Xbox One games such as the recent Call of Duty:Ghosts, some titles rendering at below 1080p make use of a hardware upscale that artificially sharpens the image. This produces a prominent halo effect around around details - the idea being that it adds "pop" to some elements, but with the largely unwanted side effect of emphasising aliased edges.
Thankfully for Battlefield 4, these sharpening artefacts have been entirely removed for its final release on Xbox One. The aliasing issues still persist in a typical manner for a 720p game, but not in such a vicious capacity as was once the case. This doesn't excuse the Xbox One's image quality by comparison to the 900p output on PS4, but it's one less point of concern if this is the only version you intend to buy.
The lighting issues on the Xbox One version have been fixed too:
Moving past image quality matters, we're pleased to see HBAO reinstated on Xbox One as promised by DICE's tech guru Johan Andersson, who specifies that it uses the "same tech as PS4/PC". In practise, the effect is most easily spotted as a light shade around a player's gun when approaching a wall, and pulls the Xbox One release in line with Sony's platform as far as effects, lighting and shadows are concerned.
Other than the resolution being 900p on the PS4, and 720p on the Xbox One, textures and effects are completely identical on both consoles.
As for framerate:
The Xbox One scrapes a singular lead during an early set-piece, involving the floor giving way to a sea of alpha and particle effects - but this is an anomaly given what follows.
For every other sequence, we see a consistent delta of 10fps in the PS4's favour; from the docking of a rainy, battle-torn Singaporean beach to the ripping in half of an airship carrier. At its peak, the PS4 takes up to a 16fps lead also, leaving the Xbox One stuttering along in the face of alpha effects during the Baku mission's towering explosions. Let there be no doubt that the PS4 has a huge advantage in frame-rate and overall smoothness of control, then - just one which doesn't satisfactorily translate to the multiplayer side.
The PS4 have a massive advantage in terms of framerate (usually 10fps, but as much as 16fps).
Digital Foundry's overall verdict is the PS4 version is significantly better:
Regardless, a clear-as-day recommendation still goes to the PS4 version, and while there are glitches on both consoles that need to be addressed, the embracing of seamless, behind-the-scenes updates should at least ease some of Battlefield 4's growing pains.