June 19, 2021

Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition: how does PS5 compare to Xbox Series X?

We've already discussed 4A Games' marvellous work on Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition on both PC and Xbox Series consoles, but today we can complete the set as we look at the PlayStation 5 version - and it's an absolute treat. Just like all the other versions of the game, it's using the latest rendition of the 4A Engine, rebuilt from the ground up to support hardware accelerated ray tracing, which is used to deliver phenomenally realistic global illumination. And similar to its console brethren, 60 frames per second is the target. Oh and while it's brand new for PlayStation 5, owners of the PS4 version get a free upgrade.

So let's cut to the chase - what's the difference between PS5 and Xbox Series X renditions of the game? The first thing I noticed is that colours are darker and richer on PlayStation 5, when stacked up against the other renditions of the game - and this is curious as I'm not sure it's correct but at a superficial level, I think I prefer it on the Moscow level, but found the Xbox presentation more appropriate on the Caspian stage. When using the initial calibration menu, it seems clear that the darkest details appear to be 'crushed' and aren't visible - and strangely, it is comparable with the PC version with the 'deependark' launch option active. We've had some issues with PS5's gamma output being skewed, but that only applies to SDR video - with Metro, this seems to apply to both SDR and HDR. It's a little strange overall, but we're noting it more to explain the change in tone you may notice in the video embedded directly below. It's not going to impact your enjoyment of the game.

Beyond that, the Enhanced Edition's visual feature set on PlayStation 5 is entirely consistent with what we saw on Xbox Series X. It has the same level of detail, the same suite of ray traced effects, and the same trades up against the PC version. Even the limited variable rate shading support (used only on forward rendered elements of the presentation) is identical - though the implementation of it on consoles does not necessarily require hardware support. Similar to the VRS used in Call of Duty: Warzone, what we're seeing here can be achieved through exploiting the multi-sample anti-aliasing hardware within the GPU. And it is a bit of a shame that the full Tier Two VRS implementation isn't used on any rendition of the game, not even PC. Temporal upscaling is also used to deliver a decent-looking 4K presentation: internal resolution is lower, but detail is accumulated across frames and incorporated into the one currently rendered.

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