Nioh may be the game to motivate action fans to invest in Sony’s newer hardware.
Nioh comes to us from team Ninja, a studio with a long history of demanding action ties to solid frame rates.
As such, we’ve been expecting a lot of it, and according to Digital Foundry, Nioh really delivers the goods – especially on PS4 Pro.
Although the video above describes Nioh as “visually conservative”, with minimal or no modern post-processing effects, it manages to front detailed, modelled environments and much better character models than Team Ninja’s recent efforts. It also boasts some nice weather and lighting effects, with specular highlights and screen space reflections and effects.
Nioh also boasts very short load times between death and respawn, something Souls fans will find refreshing, and it seems to have a clever trick of animating groups of enemies at a lower frame rate on those rare instances you meet them in numbers – in other words, when you’ve made a serious error.
As for performance and resolution, that depends on your hardware – and your priorities. Nioh is almost unique in offering console players the choice of how they want to play the game: “action mode”, locked to 60fps with adaptive resolution; “movie mode”, locked to 30fps but the best possible adaptive resolution; or “variable mode”, with the best possible results in both, at the cost of consistency. Rise of the Tomb Raider is the only other game I can think of to give PS4 Pro players a choice in what is prioritised.
According to the report, on PS4 Pro, Nioh’s action mode holds very solidly indeed at 60fps, and this will be the mode chosen by hardcore action fans. The resolution scales between a full 1080p down to 1280×720.
In movie mode the 30fps target is again very solid, with resolutions scaling between 2160p down to 1440p, while in Nioh’s variable mode the frame rate is all over the place, although it stays above 30fps, and resolution gets as low as 2304×1296.
On a base PS4, Nioh spends a lot of time at 1280×720 in action mode, so the average image quality much lower than PS4 Pro, but it stays almost solid at 60fps except in areas with lots of effects. Again, movie mode is very solid at 30fps, but variable mode is all over the place, and in both cases resolutions are significantly lower than PS4 Pro.
Although both action mode and movie mode will appeal to different groups of gamers, the report is pretty unimpressed with Nioh’s variable mode, which is very jerky and juddery – and highly inconsistent, obviously. The problem was especially bad on a base PS4.
What’s really interesting is that the report concludes that Nioh is the first game “where the PS4 Pro really comes out on top”, according to Digital Foundry. Most of the time there’s little real difference between the two hardware variants, but this time, action fans who want to play games at high resolutions will really appreciate the extra oomph the PS4 Pro offers.