Prey’s Demo Is Well-Optimized on PS4 and Xbox One

Last year, Bethesda ruffled many feathers by announcing that reviewers will no longer get early access to new games. So with this week’s release of Prey, the reboot of the tumultuous franchise of the same name, Bethesda can’t rely on pre-release reviews to help move copies. Their solution? Bring back the good ol’ days of the pre-release demo!

If you’re curious about how well Prey looks and plays on consoles, you can see for yourself with the “Opening Hour” demo on both PS4 and Xbox One. We’ve spent some time with the demo running on the PS4, and found it to be entertaining if a bit hammy at times.

Dan Stapleton, writing on our sister site IGN, likes this solution so much that he calls it a “model for the future of demos.” That’s high praise — especially when you consider the long history of hostility between developers and the press over this title.

While you’d expect a new game coming out of Arkane Studios to be running on either the id Tech engine or its derivative Void engine, Prey is developed on the CryEngine instead. And in spite of the checkered history with console performance on CryTek’s platform, there’s not much to complain about in terms of frame rate.

The Digital Foundry team analyzed footage from the demo on both consoles, and found that the game is optimized well to run at a solid 30fps. The PS4 sees only the tiniest dips around save points, and the Xbox One isn’t far behind. There’s only a single problematic area in the demo that causes a noticeable drop on the Microsoft side.

While this demo doesn’t take advantage of the PS4 Pro‘s extra horsepower, it does look a bit better on Sony’s hardware. The PS4 renders natively at 1080p, and the Xbox One is stuck at 900p. However, the PS4 suffers from some slight input lag, so some of us will prefer the Xbox One experience. However, the developer is aware of the issue, and it should be smoothed out in the full release.

The anti-aliasing solution on consoles is sub-par, and the visuals are far from cutting-edge, but Arkane Studios has effectively sold their product by letting regular people actually play the game for themselves. After playing the demo, it’s easy to tell exactly what kind of game this is.

But regardless of the minor technical issues on the console releases, we have a much bigger bone to pick. If you’re a PC gamer, you simply don’t have access to the demo. That stands out as particularly worrisome because Arkane’s last game, Dishonored 2, had significant issues on the PC. It’s a different team on a different engine this time around, but you might want to hold off on your purchase until the reviews hit.

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