October 23, 2021

Xbox One X

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Battlefield 1’s Xbox One X patch adds 4K support – but multiplayer is compromised

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Three months shy of its second birthday, Electronic Arts surprised gamers with news of an Xbox One X enhanced upgrade for Battlefield 1 earlier this week, the full 5.8GB patch arriving the following day. Patch notes from the developer only mention support for “full 4K resolution” – an upgrade that is by and large delivered, though there is a sting in the tail: at the time of writing, the game’s signature multiplayer mode isn’t working quite the way it should be.

Quite why BF1 is getting the upgrade treatment at all is something of a mystery, bearing in mind its vintage. Perhaps DICE is gearing up for Battlefield 5 support later this year by using its predecessor for proof of concept work, but regardless, the options open to the developer with this one are mouthwatering. With PlayStation 4 Pro support, the lack of RAM and memory bandwidth saw DICE pursue a checkerboard resolution bump only – but with Xbox One X’s more lavish spec, the door is open to incorporating some of the PC’s more lavish features – and veering closer to PC’s ultra preset would be a huge win for the console.

Stacking up the console BF1 experience against the fully enabled PC game, it’s clear that there’s much that could be added: improved textures, more detailed terrain rendering and more GPU-accelerated particles just for starters. As things stand, however, the X patch delivers a resolution bump and little more. And so, by extension, X’s visual feature set is a match for the PlayStation 4 Pro upgrade. In common with Pro, DICE employs dynamic resolution scaling, ramping up to the full 4K promised by the patch notes but also dropping from the target under load, where resolution can dip to 3456×1944 in more intense scenes (a 90 per cent resolution scaling on both axis) while one measurement saw the scaler drop further to 3360×1890 – the lowest resolution we saw during a 64-player conquest mode skirmish. Temporal anti-aliasing softens the scene anyway, making resolution transitions virtually impossible to notice, and the overall presentation impresses on a 4K screen throughout.

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