September 23, 2021

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Doom’s new 4K patch analysed on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro

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Last week, Bethesda and id software released a brand new ‘4K resolution’ patch for the brilliant Doom 2016 reboot, promising improved image quality for PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Resolutions are certainly increased, but there has been some talk that performance has suffered as a result. Our tests suggest that this is indeed the case, but work carried out on the id Tech 6-powered Wolfenstein: The New Colossus may suggest a possible solution.

But to begin with, we do have to take issue with the description of this upgrade as a ‘4K resolution’ patch. There are parallels here with Wolfenstein – just like its id Tech 6 companion, Doom on PlayStation 4 Pro renders at a maximum 2560×1440, with only Xbox One X that’s capable of hitting native 3840×2160, and even then only in select circumstances. Both systems (and indeed both games) render with dynamic resolution scaling, in order to get a closer lock to their target 60 frames per second performance level, effectively trading pixels for frames for smoother gameplay.

Actual pixel counts fluctuate significantly, but Xbox One X holds up pretty well overall and the most common resolution we found in Doom is 3072×2160. The scaler can drop horizontal pixel count only, or it can scale in both directions, depending on load. We’ve seen Doom on Xbox One X drop to 2880×1620 (a 75 per cent scaling on both axes) but it can actually drop even lower than that. For its part, PS4 Pro scales horizontally only, and we’ve seen the game drop frequently to 2176×1440. At their lowest points, Xbox One X pushes 25 per cent more pixels than the Pro, but the gap in average gameplay rises to a circa 2x increase in resolution in favour of the Microsoft platform.

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