The good news: Cyberpunk 2077 is technically playable on a standard PlayStation 4 console. It runs – just about. The bad news: you should not, under any real circumstance, be playing the game on Sony’s original system. While we’ve put together our own impressions – and were mildly satisfied with the results, based largely on our low expectations – the actual analysis from experts Digital Foundry is flabbergasting.
The game runs at 900p on Sony’s ageing hardware, but it’s dynamic, and for the most part you’ll be seeing a resolution of 720p. Pair this with CD Projekt RED’s aliasing solution and you have a blurry, shimmery picture, which the analysts compare to the Nintendo Switch port of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Not a particularly flattering place to begin.
Worse still, the framerate is not smooth, despite the compromises to image quality. While it stays closer to its target of 30 frames-per-second during indoor sequences, it can go as low as 10fps – particularly during one early chase sequence. When you’re driving around the city, you’re looking at sub-20fps, with huge stuttering as the title loads in assets. This is all with a dramatically reduced population count.
The PS4 Pro fares a little better – but barely. It goes up to about 1188p in the best possible circumstances, but it drops as low as 972p when stressed. Again, the framerate hovers around the 20fps mark when you’re exploring the city, and while it’s marginally better than the standard PS4, it’s not that much of an improvement. Both consoles suffer with assets failing to load in, although again the PS4 Pro is slightly better in this department.
Digital Foundry notes that even when playing on PS4 Pro, the HUD is rendered at 1080p, so the game isn’t even trying to hit 4K or anywhere close to it. Obviously the framerate is much higher on PS5, and it generally hovers around 60fps based on our experience, barring some stutters and dips when driving around the city. We wouldn’t be surprised if the resolution is the same as the PS4 Pro, though, because it looks sub-HD to us at times. We await further analysis on that.
The question is: is this acceptable? Clearly this is an ambitious title and CD Projekt RED wanted to get it to as wide an audience as possible, but we’d argue this title should never have released on a standard PS4 to begin with. Digital Foundry does note that the performance is similar to that of, for example, Grand Theft Auto V on the PS3, which fans were generally fine with at the time. We’d argue, though, that perception has changed – and this kind of performance is unacceptable in 2020.