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Cyberpunk on Xbox Series X ‘has the best console visual quality by some margin’

Digital Foundry analyses the game's performance on next-gen consoles

Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox Series X offers “the best visual quality by quite some margin” on consoles, according to a new analysis of the game’s performance on next-gen hardware.

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Digital Foundry tested the open-world title running in backwards compatibility mode on Xbox Series X, Series S and PlayStation 5 and found that the Xbox versions have several advantages over the game on Sony’s console.

When played on Series X, the Xbox version of Cyberpunk 2077 offers the ability to choose between quality and performance modes – a choice that the PS5 game doesn’t.

Quality mode locks the game’s framerate to 30fps, but increases resolution “dramatically”, Digital Foundry said in its analysis. Surprisingly, the next-gen Xbox consoles also offer higher crowd density than on PS5 as well as ambient occlusion.

“Arguably the best console experience right now is Series X’s quality mode, which caps output frame-rate to 30 frames per second but increases resolution dramatically – it’s dynamic and floats around 1512p in the city, but can be reach beyond 1728p in simpler scenes,” wrote editor Richard Leadbetter.

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“Latency increases and obviously visual response is lower, but increasing the pixel count so dramatically is a boon for image quality. Cyberpunk 2077 uses temporal super-sampling heavily, meaning that information in the current frame is derived from past frames too.

“The higher the resolution of the previous frames, the higher the compound gain in the current frame – the end result is a much more attractive, less grainy and blurry game. There are further enhancements too, such as ambient occlusion, which is not present in performance mode, nor is it present in the PS5 build.”

However, Leadbetter notes that in Performance Mode – which locks the game to 1080p with an unlocked framerate up to 60fps – Xbox Series X features a less consistent framerate than on PS5.

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“In like-for-like tests, it does drop lower while areas that do not have any slowdown at all on PS5 can have some minor issues on Series X,” he said. “However, city density in terms of NPC and vehicle count sees Series X clearly running with higher settings – it’s not a like-for-like comparison.”

The $300 Xbox Series S offers many of the same improvements over the PS5 version of the game, Digital Foundry found, albeit at a much lower resolution.

“In effect, Series S works as a tweaked version of Series X’s quality mode,” Leadbetter wrote. “Resolution is clearly much, much lower – it can run beneath 1080p. However, the resolution bounds also increases beyond PS5’s best, reaching around 1296p.

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“More to the point, it retains most – if not all – of the quality mode advantages, meaning that you get the higher vehicle count and crowd density, plus features like ambient occlusion.”

Digital Foundry concluded that users have the choice of a better framerate experience on PS5, or vastly improved image quality on Xbox Series X.

“If you’re happy with 30 frames per second, the premium Xbox offers the best visual quality by quite some margin along with additional graphical effects and vehicle/NPC density,” it wrote.

In an earlier analysis, Digital foundry called Cyberpunk 2077’s performance on base PS4 consoles “unacceptable”.