Fallout 4: Patch 1.2 Detailed analysis
Another big multi-platform game and another big bout of patches and updates are incoming. With the huge open world of CD Projekt Red seeing its own medieval tale within itself of updates across PC and console alike to fix issues and in the process improve performance and bugs. Bethesda has also followed suite with its second patch across platform since its now standards day 1 release update.
This new download comes in at around 512mb, around the same total memory available for last gen consoles now mostly not enough to deliver even updates this days. So does this relatively minuscule update bring any improvements or changes from its outgoing version suffix?
Well as per my first look at the game and the early sections it was clear that the XboxOne had the most consistent performance across the consoles, with still both versions dipping in the usual places of saving and sector loading at fixed points across the map. But this minor stutters are not that common across play, with the more action oriented sections causing more prolonged dips. But what we saw then and now with my much further and stressful tests is that the when these dips happened the PS4 version was dipping lower and for longer periods of time. With these identical tests you can see that at the begging Deathclaw fight the XboxOne with rail gun spinning handles the entire battle and mini nuclear type explosions with ease, hardly dipping below the 33ms rate. But the PS4 does not achieve anywhere near this level of solidity, with it spending most of the battle nearer the 25 and nearly 5fps can split these two machines at times.
The first thought would be the alpha effects are causing this or GPU load but as I mentioned in my first video I am pretty sure that this is not the case at all, but the same old CPU resource and possibly contention issues are the biggest cause here.
You can see that even when I only hit an enemy the damage calculation system causes these 50ms spikes to occur. But when a huge car explodes we only see a single dip again from the inflicted damage most likely rather than the load. To put this into practise the same patched 1.1 release here on both versions hitting the wall cause only a minor dip at the start on PS4 and from then the smoke load not affecting the 30fps rate on either. But the battle tells another story.
This continues and even gets worse in Later sections like the infamous Cortega factory as we see here, both versions exhibit the same streaming stutters as we enter the sequence, but was loaded and a near like for like combat ensues the XboxOne is the clear leader in this regard, with it again holding a much more solid metric rate.
Moving inside things only get worse with dynamic volumetric lighting, multiple AI and even more combat and damage system in place we see both machines struggling to hold a 30 rate but the PS4 is nearly always behind the XboxOne. But not all these drops are related to fire fights as the game can simply dip while walking through a door and is telling of the released game state being still a little rough at times, but to be fair this is a huge and dynamic world with a huge load happening over time within the world. But a near locked 30 should be an expected level to aim at which on both machines is never fully achieved. But things get worse lower into the basement, faced with more enemies and zombies we have a section that again see's large dips on both machines, but yet again the ps4 loses out some 5fps more over the XboxOne, with it losing around 17% of its target rate here but the Sony machine comes in twice that level dropping nearly 34% of its frames dropped here with prolonged points at 20, again as I mentioned in my first video.
You can see the day 1 stats within the video with these like for like examples, now both versions suffered from these dips and neither ran what you would call solid, but throughout the game these sections although annoying do not overtake or swamp the games performance, but an improvement and patch was needed more so on the Sony machine, which is just what we get here and it is a revelation in terms of the PlayStation with the XboxOne benefiting to a much lesser degree which is understandable as it needed less bump.
But as you can see from the claw battle the where the PS4 before struggles to hit the target now not only are the bullets hitting them but the frame-rate is also, now running a near locked 30 and much more in line with the earlier XboxOne release.Later sections also see the same level of drastic improvement and the PS4 now achieves the same or better levels that the XboxOne in these identical sequences and as close to a locked 30 as you would expect. These improvements are across the board with the XboxOne now dipping below the Sony machine in the very same firefights it was earlier a good portion ahead, but the gap is never as large now between the 2 as it once was.
But does this all come for free you ask? Well to be frank no, we do seem to have had a reduction in visual fidelity with the loss of the earlier dynamic volumetric light removed in this interior scene which has happened on both version. While other areas seems to exhibit the same lighting before and after the update with the caustic reflections remaining visually the same. And although this is a shame to see some visuals reductions it does seem to come with a superior performance level and is obviously a quick fix solution to increase framerates and is most likely a complete engine change across all versions.
But other areas do perform better that never had these volumetric lights presents as shown earlier, so the team have improved the issues and I would imaging later patches will come and we may even see these effects re-instated as the team work with more time. You can see the new level of the PS4 is now a pretty much locked 30 and the XboxOne comes behind that now with a close second after this latest patch. But from the last version the performance bump should please many and will always be a more noticeable change than the light changes.