If you were around for that whole saga with Far Harbor's horrible frame rate issues on PlayStation 4, then you'll know that we here at Push Square take technical performance quite seriously. Fallout 4's previous expansion ran terribly on Sony's console when it launched, constantly dipping below the 20 frames-per-second mark as you explored the add-on's island setting. This was mostly due to the heavy amount of fog that enveloped the landmass, but eventually, developer Bethesda actually removed much of this weather effect in order to improve performance. Not the most subtle solution, but at least it worked to some degree.
Of course, this is just about par for course when it comes to Bethesda. The studio has always struggled to optimise its titles for PlayStation platforms, and that's why we feel the need to write articles like this. Nuka World - Fallout 4's last slice of downloadable content - should run perfectly fine on PS4, but after the mess that was Far Harbor, we're not taking any chances. After all, we consider Fallout 4 to be one of the system's best games, and we'd like nothing more than to see our vault dweller's adventure end on a high note if possible.
The instant good news: Nuka World doesn't have any fog - hurrah! - so you can thankfully count out any fog-related frame rate problems. Taking place in a Raider-infested theme park based on the super popular Nuka Cola pre-war drink, Nuka World's setting is split up into multiple main areas, each with their own weird attractions and aesthetic. It's certainly a cool idea for an expansion, and the variety means that the park's arguably more exciting to explore than the dusty old Commonwealth.
Based on what we've played so far, we're happy to report that, for the most part, Nuka World appears to run no worse than vanilla Fallout 4. While it does drop a couple of frames here and there - particularly in busier areas - it's certainly nothing game-breaking. In truth, this is quite refreshing to see, because Nuka World itself is a dense location that's filled with detail.
However, it's not all good news. The Galactic Zone - an area that depicts pre-war America's vision of a space-faring future - has a bad habit of running rather poorly. As far as we can tell, there's nothing to suggest that this area of the park is particularly demanding in terms of performance, so it's difficult to determine what's causing the frame rate to fall in this area alone.
To make things even more confusing, the Galactic Zone's frame rate problem doesn't seem to be consistent at all. We've revisited the location multiple times, and, for whatever reason, the frame rate doesn't always feel the need to drop so heavily. We've gone there during the day, during the night, with a companion, without a companion, guns blazing, sticking to the shadows - it feels like we've tried just about everything, and we still can't figure out why it only drops every now and then.
Frustrating frame rate mysteries aside, Nuka World runs as well as you'd expect on PS4. Like the main release, it does stutter a little now and then, but for the most part, it seems to be technically solid - and it's shaping up to be a fun final adventure to boot.
We'll have our full review of Nuka World ready to roll in the near future, but until then, let us know if you've been gunning your way through Raiders in the comments section below.