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.
If anyone has any questions about Nuka World I'll be happy to answer them - but keep in mind that I haven't finished it myself yet.
@ShogunRok And people question the need for 'upgraded' hardware! As we see from a number of games these days, its a bit like buying broadband. They should say 'up to' 30/60fps and in some games 'up to' 1080p with dynamic resolution...
I'm liking nuka world so far. It's small but it feels huge! The change of environment is great too. And I really like all the new weapons and outfits it gives you. I can finally dress as rocket girl from the nuka cola billboards, something I wanted since fallout 3.
@BAMozzy Or just get the game running at 30/60 before overloading the system with additional bells & whistles, which hasn't been the case so far with Fallout 4 anyway.
@BAMozzy A Bethesda game running at a smooth 30fps on a PlayStation console? Impossible!
Is it better than Fallout 4? Lolz
@BAMozzy Funny, the PS4 has plenty of better looking games than Fallout 4 that manage to run at a consistent framerate. Improved hardware may help, but the problem here is Bethesda's refusal to go with a new game engine instead of slapping a new coat of paint on the same janky one they've been using for 15 years.
@stevejcrow These games are made on PC's and play on PC with generally decent performance from relatively basic gaming hardware. People expect gaming to 'improve' not stagnate because the console hardware is insufficient to cope with a little bit of fog or some other effect - better still just cut the resolution down to 900p, scale back all the things that create bottle-necks on the limited CPU, change the game from the one they released on PC...
@ShogunRok That would be novel - but its not just Bethesda games that don't run consistently at the level claimed. It reminds me of the broadband quotes - 'up to 80mb/s download speeds' but you never get that. Games seem to be saying a certain frame rate but often average less. Watched a video about Assetto Corsa earlier that seemed to be about 75% of the target 60fps - especially if racing with maximum number of cars on the track yet no doubt it will be classed as a 60fps game...
@BAMozzy Yeah I'm sorry, I'm all for upgraded hardware but there is no good reason Fallout 4 shouldn't run a lot better than it does on current gen gear.
I fear for the Skyrim remake.
Or you could just do without all the hassle and play Betheda games on PC or XB1 if you have either of them. I'd be worried about the Skyrim remake as well, what other Bethesda game had no major problems on a Playstation before? I bet the end result is still going to be the same even on a PS Neo.
@BAMozzy No offense but what it's developed on is irrelevant to me buying it on a PS4. And the broadband analogy is a bit of a stretch.
The engine has aged to be fair, but on the flip side, I would have expected a company of Bethesda's quality to have it in hand by now.
Ultimately its the optimisation that's the problem. Look at the hoard of Unity engine games out there, some run smooth as silk, others less so.
I honestly don't think more powerful kit will help either, as throughout all the generations I've seen, going back to the C64, new more powerful computers/consoles, see graphics getting "pushed" and framerates suffer.. I just dont expect it as much in 2016.
@BAMozzy I don't think people question the need for upgraded hardware, just how regularly it needs to be upgraded. The selling point for consoles (and one that I have read in the past from numerous people) is that you buy it, plug it in and then you have a gaming machine for the next 5-6 years without any further investment on hardware. Making that cycle 3 years (and I fully expect this to be the case, with the previous model supported, but inferior, for one more cycle before being phased out) means that there is less reason to choose console gaming over PC gaming.
I'm pretty sure the PS4 will be my last console (unless Nintendo manage to pull something special off), so I guess I'd be one of the reasons why upgraded hardware is not the great idea you might think it is.
As for Fallout running poorly, that is as much to do with the coding of the game being poorly optimised as anything else. It is running on an ancient engine that was never known for its stability after all.
Fear not, a future will exist wherein you can purchase additional frames per second for your superior gen 8.5 console. I'll be jumping back in now all the DLC is here, just a shame the mods are way off.
Lol what, PS4 is pants? But it runs fine on Xbox apparently? Huh. Fogging smog dew.
I haven't noticed frame drops any worse than the vanilla game. But I'm sure a future patch to get rid of some sort of cap or xp exploit will tank my frame rate. I have a 2 year old laptop which doesn't technically even meet the minimum PC requirements and it runs the game better than my PS4. Hardware upgrades aren't the answer, as much as Sony and Microsoft want to tell us they are. Developers need to not release games until they are in a finished state. Fallout 4 like Skyrim before it probably should have been delayed on Sony consoles.
@BAMozzy Come on mate Uncharted 4 runs 30FPS solid and it looks way better the same goes for the Witcher 3. The only thing I see is a lazy developer that does not even fix problems......
@Flaming_Kaiser Uncharted 4 does look great but it also suffers from texture pop-in, occasional frame rate drops, pop in of distant objects - not often admittedly but its not 'perfect'. Its also has a lot smaller play areas too. The Witcher 3 wasn't perfect either and 'fog' also caused a number of frame rate drops. It also suffers from pop-in too, clipping issues as well. It certainly doesn't run at a locked 30fps.
Most of the problems are caused by a 'weak' CPU (in comparison). Parts of the game that rely on the CPU are the areas that struggle the most. If you look at 'Hitman' for example, that has areas that have higher frame rates on XB1 because of the slightly better CPU - most notably areas with lots of AI.
Uncharted aside, the other games are ported from PC's with much better CPU's and GPU's. Maybe the developers should have opted for 900p (or dynamic resolution) to get better (or at least more consistent) frame rates. I would like to see you try and run these games on a PC with the same specs and get as good a performance when you have the settings to optimise the game...
This game simply isn't well optimized for any of the platforms I try it on. I had an old computer that could play Wolfenstein: The New Order on medium settings at 60 fps, but FO4 couldn't even run on it. I pretty much get 60 fps on everything I play on my new PC, except for this game, which dips to 52-58 fps at times.
I don't understand this statement in the article: " The studio has always struggled to optimize its titles for PlayStation platforms"
The PS4 and Xbox One are so similar to PC now, that I don't think optimization is any kind of issue.
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