God of War (franchise)

The best PS4 Pro games: push your console to its 4K HDR limits

UPDATE: We’ve added the new game God of War to our list of the best PS4 Pro games. Hit the next slide for more information or read our in depth God of War review! We’ve also added the latest update to No Man’s Sky, called No Man’s Sky Next, which will be a real treat for fans and could be a huge draw for those who haven’t been sure about the space odyssey game up until now.

Although the PS4 Pro is one of the most powerful consoles your money can buy right now, when it comes to stocking up on games it’s definitely worth doing some research before splashing the cash online or at your local retailer.

That’s because not all PS4 Pro games have been created equal.

In fact, even calling them PS4 Pro games isn’t really accurate. Sony has mandated that all PlayStation 4 games going forward should be able to work on both the newest and oldest PS4 consoles.

What that means is that developers have to get really creative in order to create an experience that’ll scale to both machines. That endeavour is something that some seem to have been able to manage better than others. While some merely use it to firm up the performance of titles that stutter on the less powerful, older hardware.

But let’s not focus on the stuttering missteps. Instead, if you want to take advantage of the PS4 Pro in all its 4K or HDR glory, these are (at least on a technical level) the very best games to show off your new console with.

Trying to decide which PS4 set-up to get? Watch Jon and Gerald discuss the differences between the PS4, PS4 Pro and PS4 VR.

No Man’s Sky is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of game. It serves up a near-infinite, procedurally-generated universe to explore, with unique biomes and aliens to discover. For some that’s ridiculously exciting. For others it’s a bore-fest.

This July sees the launch of No Man’s Sky Next. It’s not a new game, but it’s a huge update that adds all kinds of things to the original title, including character customization, and a long-awaited multiplayer mode.

For fans of the game it’ll be a more-than-welcome update. For those who had issues with the original, it may now prove to be the game No Man’s Sky always promised to be.

Read our guide: to everything new to No Man’s Sky Next and why now is the perfect time to begin your space odyssey.

Easily one of the most visually stunning games on the PlayStation 4 (or on any console for that matter), the new God of War takes the series to epic new levels when it comes to presentation. The game looks incredible when played on a standard PS4 console, demonstrating just how absurdly talented the team at SIE Santa Monica Studio when it comes to optimisation. However, when played on a PS4 Pro, the game kicks things up a notch. In the game’s settings, you’ll find two graphics modes: favor resolution and favor performance. Naturally, the former makes the game look especially crisp and clean, bringing the resolution up to checkerboard 4K and holding steady at around 30fps, while the latter displays at 1080p and sticks close to around 60fps for the majority of the time. As cinematic as it is, we had no problem playing God of War on the favor resolution setting, as we were able to enjoy the incredible detail put forth by the game — utilizing the additional resolution to see pores and lines on characters’ faces, and the insane level of artistry in their costumes and armor, just makes the whole game even more impressive (if you ask us). It also helps to makes the game’s HDR presentation even more eye-popping.

Full review: God of War

Considered one of the greatest video games of all time, Shadow of the Colossus is back and better than ever on PS4, with its Pro update giving the game some big enhancements when it comes to visuals and performance.

Shadow of the Colossus offers two graphical settings: ‘Performance Mode’ offers smooth gameplay targeting 60 FPS at 1080p, while the ‘Cinematic Mode’ plays at a higher ‘Dynamic 4K’ resolution with enhanced textures, all while holding a solid 30 FPS.

Regardless of the mode you choose, the team at Bluepoint have brought some other tasty visual treats to their remake of the Japanese classic, including a beautiful new lighting engine (which looks incredible when combined with the game’s HDR support) and some advanced rendering techniques, which make things like fur on the Colossi look especially realistic.

Simply put, the enhancements offered by the PS4 Pro version make this the definitive presentation of Shadow of the Colossus, offering a visual experience unlike any other.

Full review: Shadow of the Colossus

Though the first Destiny game did not end up receiving a PS4 Pro update, much to the chagrin of its fan base, its sequel has come roaring out of the gate with some terrific graphical improvements.

Using checkerboard rendering to achieve a resolution of 2160p, Destiny 2 looks astonishing on PS4 Pro. Admittedly, developer Bungie employs a few tricks to display its game at 4K, including dynamic resolution scaling on the horizontal axis, meaning that the game will dynamically shift its horizontal pixel count from 3840 to 3072 (but seriously though, you won’t even notice).

At launch, Destiny 2 did take advantage of the PS4 Pro’s high-dynamic-range (HDR) capabilities, though that has since been rectified, with the game sporting a colour palette that makes its predecessor look black and white by comparison.

One thing in Destiny 2 that doesn’t get enhanced when played on the PS4 Pro is its framerate, with the game locked to 30fps across all consoles. While we would’ve liked to have seen an optional high framerate mode included, Destiny 2 is still a must own title for those who want to push their PS4 Pro to its limit.

As the first game if the series to be built on EA’s impressive Frostbite engine, Madden NFL 18 looks amazing on PS4 Pro. Developer EA Tiburon has managed to get the game running at a native 4K resolution, resulting in what is undeniably the best-looking Madden game of all time.

During core gameplay (as in when the ball is actually in play), the game is displayed at a rock-solid 60fps, only dipping during replays and television broadcast-style cutaways. That said, EA has stated that Madden NFL 18 will run at 60fps at all times when played on a PS4 Pro that’s hooked up to a 1080p set (we haven’t been able to test this, unfortunately).

On top of this, a recent update has brought HDR support to the game, meaning that lighting, skin tones, uniforms and stadiums all take advantage of the format’s wider color gamut to achieve a look that’s even closer to the real thing. If you love Madden, this is definitely the best way to play it.

If you’re looking for a PS4 Pro showstopper, Ratchet and Clank is a great place to start. It’s like playing a Pixar movie, with its colorful visuals, loveable characters and world-hopping sci-fi plot.

And, it’s actually a great case for the merits of not-quite native UHD 4K on the PS4 Pro. Rather than pumping up the resolution count to its maximum, Ratchet and Clank makes clever use of a technique called Temporal Injection. It’s essentially a very efficient and fancy upscaler, pushing the image quality up to a 2160p standard and removing jaggies without the strain of a native resolution push. At a capped, consistent 30fps and with HDR support switched on, you’re left with a blisteringly beautiful shooter that looks out of this world.

If you insist on a native 4K showcase for your PS4 Pro, EA’s latest and greatest FIFA 18 is perhaps your best option. Making up for what FIFA 17 was lacking, FIFA 18 supports HDR and it’s running at the max resolution the Pro can manage, without ‘cheating’ with upscaling techniques. Keeping a consistent 60fps throughout, it’s an impressive achievement – even if the beautiful game naturally wouldn’t have environments as complex as some of the more fantastical games listed here.

Other small enhancements include higher-quality grass (you’ll be looking at enough of it, so that’s no bad thing) and better depth of field effects.

Sure, it’s an older title getting a PS4 makeover, but Rez was always made for a silky visual set-up. Running at a native 4K / 60fps on Sony’s latest console, it’s an astonishing, trance-inducing, Tron-like shooter that’s never looked better than on the PS4 Pro. That it’s one of the best music-focused games of all time is a bonus, too, we suppose…

And, if you’re one of the lucky few to have that ultimate PS4 Pro / PS VR combo, then you’d do right by your eyes, your gear and your endorphin levels by firing up Rez Infinite on Sony’s virtual reality headset too, where it’s a subtly smoother experience.

Now here’s an interesting one. While it doesn’t offer native 4K throughout nor HDR, Diablo 3 shows Blizzard cleverly taking advantage of the PS4 Pro’s additional horsepower. It’s using a dynamic resolution scaler to allow the dungeon crawler better fidelity on consoles and improved lighting techniques, while maintaining a solid 60fps framerate.

When you’re in simple interior sections like the tavern in New Tristram or Deckard Cain’s house, you’re hitting that native 4K resolution, but when you’re more chaotic locales it can fall anywhere between 1080p and that top-end 3840 x 2160 wonder. For the most part it’s dramatically better than 1080p, scaling imperceptibly in motions and maintaining a high framerate to boot. It’s slick, and advanced bloom effects and ambient occlusion seal the deal to make it onto this list.

Sony’s smash hit conclusion to Nathan Drake’s globe-trotting adventures makes good use of the PS4 Pro, though don’t expect it to massively alter the already sumptuous feel of the original.

The PS4 Pro update for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End pushes the resolution up to 1440p, which is a marked improvement over the original’s full HD limits, even if the intense action makes a 30fps target the goal. What is appreciated though is the HDR implementation – traipsing through old tombs by lamplight, or seeing the sun filter through dilapidated shanty town and jungle trees looks astonishing on the PS4 Pro.

Another resolution scaler, and another great way to show off the fidelity of your UHD screen thanks to its HDR features, too. Deus Ex Mankind Divided sits somewhere between 1800p and 2160p, using checkerboard upscaling to dynamically tweak the resolution depending on what’s happening on screen.

For the most part, it’s a wonderful experience, with the stealth-cyborg ‘em up looking gloriously futuristic – particularly in its Blade Runner esque slums where the HDR lighting effects come into full force. However, some stuttering and a recent revert to an adaptive v-sync in an attempt to ease the stuttering mar an otherwise smooth upgrade.

This one’s been a bit of a poster boy for the PS4 Pro hardware, and it’s easy to see why – with First Light previously a PS Plus giveaway, many prospective Pro owners will already have a high-quality test-subject to put their new machines through its paces.

Both Infamous Second Son and spin-off First Light are using a checkerboard effect rather than native resolution jumps, but you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference in the way it’s implemented here. Pushed to a not-quite-but-pretty-much UHD resolution of 1800p, the open world superhero title shimmers with HDR lighting effects, bringing fingertip flames and neon powers to life on premium displays.

Whether you’re hooked up to a 1080p screen or an eye-popping 4K number, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a sight to behold, with improvements offered optionally across the board.

As we’re most concerned with visual fidelity here, you’ll be pleased to hear that the 2160p checkerboard effect is once again put to great use. Sticking close to the 30fps target, even without a HDR mode the icy adventure looks super cool. It’s pin-sharp and gloriously detailed, perfect for capturing brag-worthy screenshots with.

It may be getting on a bit now, but Shadow of Mordor has been given so much love that it’s well worth revisiting on the PS4 Pro. Though it’s using a dynamic scaler again, for the most part the game now lives at a full 2160p resolution, rolling back rarely and imperceptibly.

There’s no HDR feature at play here, which is a shame as those night-time orc encampment hunts would have benefitted from it. But for a rich and large open world to be running at a near-consistent UHD top-end, Tolkien’s world has never looked better on a console.

A full-on enhancement for the most ambitious Final Fantasy game yet, Square-Enix has yet to finish tinkering with PS4 Pro performance here, but it’s still looking a treat. Provided you can stomach a slightly jittery frame-rate (nowhere near game-breaking, we assure you), Final Fantasy 15 uses a checkerboard 1800p upscale, along with improved shadows and texture filtering. It’s a feast for the eyes.

And, if you’ve access to a HDR TV, it gets even better. Square-Enix makes full use of the high dynamic range afforded the PS4 Pro, making for blisteringly bright desert sun lights and deep dark cavernous dungeon blacks.

Think Jurassic Park, but with robot dinosaurs, and you’re on your way to the breathtaking action that Horizon: Zero Dawn offers.

From the minds behind the Killzone series, the open world action adventure was a revelation when it launched in early 2017, being one of the most sophisticated sandbox titles available to PS4 owners. From sneaky stealth sections to gigantic face-offs with hulking mecha-rexes it got the heart pumping.

But perhaps most impressive was its visuals. It particularly shone on the PS4 Pro, where its 4K HDR visuals brought the flora and fauna of for a post-human future dazzlingly to life. It’s a PS4 Pro showstopper, and a great way to show off the machine’s capabilities.