How Star Wars Battlefront 2's gorgeous tech scales throughout consoles
DICE’s Frostbite engine kicked off the console era with Battlefield four, and the know-how has advanced significantly over the past 4 years. Star Wars Battlefront 2 could be its most spectacular outing but. Importing and enhancing lots of the new options from final 12 months’s Battlefield 1, our impression of the latest 2 beta is that we’re not merely taking a look at newer maps, weapons, and characters, however a transparent visible improve that brings us even nearer to the definitive Star Wars videogame expertise. It is all about authenticity – Frostbite’s function set is a terrific match for the Star Wars aesthetic.
Take the battle set on Naboo. The capital metropolis reveals a degree of element considerably past that of the primary Battlefront. The gorgeous buildings are rendered with complicated geometry and loads of intricate element, filled with combatants by way of the 40-player Galactic Assault mode. Transfer contained in the palace and DICE’s exemplary use of physically-based rendering and photogrammetry (with floor properties scanned in from real-life supplies) creates a definite look to the presentation that’s pure Star Wars.
This degree of element can be evident on Takadana, a planet from The Pressure Awakens the place resistance forces battle in opposition to a floor assault by the First Order. The forests surrounding Maz’s fortress are alive with particle physics within the type of particles and leaves blowing within the wind, whereas the overall degree of element on provide is great, on par if not higher than essentially the most dense maps from the primary Battlefront. Lighting, shadows, and post-processing are additionally expanded upon too, with heavy use of movie grain, chromatic aberration, and lens distortion – although maybe some elements listed here are layered slightly closely.
Fortunately, whereas graphical complexity has elevated, DICE has additionally managed to enhance console picture high quality too. The primary Battlefront runs at a hard and fast 900p on PS4 and 720p on Xbox One, whereas dynamic decision scaling is in play on its sequel, with pixel counts raised and lowered in response to rendering load. The online result’s that for almost all of the Game’s length, Battlefront 2 additionally runs at the next decision than its predecessor – an incredible endorsement of the advantages of this method.
On PS4 we’re taking a look at between 972p to a full 1080p, however exterior of extra demanding scenes the Game sticks very carefully to its full HD goal, so consequently, picture high quality is noticeably cleaner and clearer. Extra softness solely begins to creep in because the engine is put beneath load in additional complicated scenes, however drops in decision hardly ever final for lengthy. It is a related story for Xbox One, which fluctuates between 792p to round 1000p, normally hovering across the 900p mark for prolonged durations. As anticipated, PS4 tends to ship a extra constant, sharper expertise, however the usage of temporal anti-aliasing ensures that scaling artefacts are hardly ever a difficulty on both platform – each seem , although gentle at occasions.
In the meantime, PS4 Professional decision will increase to a most of 1440p, although 1296p appears to be the most typical end result throughout common gameplay. It isn’t the very best improve in decision for these utilizing a 4K display screen, however the Game does help down-sampling, so picture high quality on a 1080p display screen is improved over base PS4. Decision seems extra constant, and the temporal AA can be boosted by the additional protection down-sampling offers.
On prime of that, there’s proof of settings tweaks to the engine, giving an improved look general. Briefly, the sense we get from this preliminary look is that the PS4 Professional Game encompasses a stability of visible boosts and determination, much like Battlefield 1. The distinction with final 12 months’s DICE epic is that checkerboarding appears to have been eliminated.
Our solely bugbear with the Game’s visible presentation based mostly on what we have seen to date is that the heavy use of post-processing usually yields a softer presentation than we would anticipate to see. The movie grain fits the look of the Game, however chromatic aberration and lens distortion can really feel misplaced. Fortunately, DICE’s lighting lead on the challenge has said that these parts are set for be tweaked, so it will be attention-grabbing to see how the developer chooses to rebalance the post-processing pipeline for the ultimate launch.
Past decision, the visuals are subtly tweaked throughout every console. Comparability factors within the beta are restricted, however the Professional advantages from improved ambient occlusion, increased high quality light-shafts and barely extra complicated use of tessellation throughout some surroundings, such because the rocky hillsides discovered on Takodana. In the meantime, base PS4 affords up barely increased decision shadows and reflections over Xbox One, together with a refinement in tessellated surfaces. Curiously, asset streaming is quicker on base PS4 than on the opposite consoles. Maybe that is all the way down to particular person exhausting drive tolerances, as all machines are outfitted with 5400 RPM drives. Or it could possibly be all the way down to this being unfinished beta code, and that not all elements of the Game are totally optimised but. Usually although, there is a sense that the Battlefront 2 expertise options extra refinement as you enterprise up the console energy ladder, regardless of some occasional anomalies.
Battlefront 2 delivers a visible enhance over the unique Game then, whereas additionally tweaking the expertise for every platform. However what does this imply for efficiency? With increased resolutions and extra complicated graphics in play, it is clear that the present model of the beta is hitting base PS4 and Xbox One more durable than the unique Game. Whereas the unique managed to ship a virtually stable 60fps on PS4, and solely minor dips on Xbox One, this sequel struggles at occasions to offer a secure degree of efficiency. The large Galactic Assault modes usually drop into the mid to low 40s throughout each consoles, with frame-rates hit slightly more durable on Xbox One. It is the extra open areas in heavy motion scenes that have a tendency impression upon efficiency right here, with particle results and enormous numbers of gamers taxing GPU bandwidth and CPU processing energy.
Transfer into much less irritating conditions, such because the Naboo palace inside, or the strike mission set on Takodana, and frame-rates come a lot nearer to hitting 60fps. It isn’t good, however the dips are much less noticeable than the Galactic Assault mode, and the Game spends extra time at that buttery , flawless updat charge. Out of the bottom consoles, the PS4 comes out barely forward, with fewer drops in efficiency when the engine is beneath load, with matches feeling slightly extra constant when it comes to smoothness. As compared, the PS4 Professional usually comes very near hitting 60fps, and efficiency there’s a lot to nearer to the unique Game working on Xbox One.
In fact, it is value making an allowance for that this can be a beta construct we’re taking a look at – unfinished code that hasn’t been totally optimised. So, it is anticipated that efficiency and different elements of the visuals could also be improved for the ultimate Game. In reality, DICE has a monitor file on this space. With the primary Battlefront, efficiency fell quick in earlier builds, however delivered a nigh-on locked 60fps within the closing launch.
No person can wager in opposition to DICE on the subject of optimisation so it stands to purpose that we may see the same enchancment with Battlefront 2 as nicely. That stated, the visible upgrades on this sequel are pushing the consoles more durable than earlier than, so whether or not the taxing Galactic Assault phases can obtain the identical silky-smooth consistency stays to be seen. It’ll definitely be attention-grabbing to see what Xbox One X brings to the desk on this regard, particularly if the visible function set is additional elevated over the present consoles.
However for now, based mostly on the energy of the beta, Battlefront 2 is shaping up properly. Whereas efficiency could possibly be extra constant (and hopefully can be in closing code) the feel and appear of the Game is in any other case wonderful throughout all platforms. The brand new places and house battles look spectacular, whereas the acquainted sound results and John Williams rating actually assist to ship an genuine Star Wars really feel all through the Game. The multiplayer side holds up nicely too, with dependable matchmaking and largely secure in-game netcode.
However having absorbed the beta over the previous few days, it is the single-player marketing campaign that is still the nice unknown. Set from the attitude of an Imperial Stormtrooper, this seems to be to be a singular tackle the Star Wars story. And on a visible degree, there’s the potential for memorable set-pieces alongside one other enhance to graphical complexity too – parts that ought to take full benefit of the Frostbite engine. The beta has been a visible deal with – we’re fascinated to see if the single-player mode can trump it.