Looking at Guerrilla's eye-wateringly pretty dinosaur destroying role-playing game Horizon: Zero Dawn on the PlayStation 4 Pro initially reveals the game that you have in your imagination; it's only when the upgraded version is observed back-to-back with its standard PS4 release that the stark contrast comes into alarming focus.

First, it's imperative that we stress: Aloy's adventure looks incredible on the console that you have under your television right now. But here's the reality that you simply have to accept: it looks several times more amazing running on a top-of-the-line Sony television rendered using the PS4 Pro. Like, eye-wideningly so.

There's been much ado about the PS4 Pro's inability to render the biggest names at native 4K, but whatever voodoo science the Japanese giant's brewed – "chequerboard rendering", as it's so catchily named – it's instantly clear that the title's running at a much, much higher resolution than 1080p. Remember when you replaced the sub-native resolutions of the PlayStation 3 for the full high-definition output of the PS4? Well, the PS4 Pro appears to offer a similar eye-rub all over again.

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And when you take into account that this is all running on a system that costs $100 more than its eighth generation brethren – more like $50 if you factor in hard-drive sizes – it's immediately clear what Sony's offering here: a significant jump in image quality for the price that you paid for your current PS4 at launch. It's a very strong value proposition.

It's only when the upgraded version is observed back-to-back with its standard PS4 release that the stark contrast comes into alarming focus

But it's always worth pointing out that you won't need a fancy-pants new screen as well to take advantage of what the imminent hardware has to offer. True, the HDR functionality adds a richness to colours that you simply can't get on a standard display, but tried-and-tested 1080p screens will benefit from supersampling – which will, in short, ensure stellar image quality – as well as better lighting, effects, and potentially more.

The key part of Sony's strategy, though, is this: whichever PS4 you play on, you're going to get the exact same gameplay experience – and that's paramount. To repeat: whether you enjoy Horizon: Zero Dawn on a standard system or on a supercharged machine in 4K, you're going to get the same seemingly very entertaining game.

You could argue that such a sentence renders the PS4 Pro moot, but with the very significant improvements there for those who want them, without detracting from the experience for those who don't, Sony's delivering the best of both worlds. What it now needs to figure out is how to effectively demonstrate to everyone the differences that we saw – and that may be a challenge beyond even Mark Cerny's ability to solve.


Are you interested in the PS4 Pro at all? Have our impressions changed your opinion of the console? Upres your thoughts in the comments section below.

[via bit.ly]