July 25, 2021

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Kingdom Hearts 3 plays best at 60fps – but which console gets closest?

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We’ve been waiting for this one for quite some time. It’s been just over 13 years since Kingdom Hearts 2 debuted on PlayStation 2, before continuing its journey via a range of handheld releases. But a full-blooded home console sequel? That only arrived yesterday, with Square-Enix deploying the strengths of Unreal Engine 4 to deliver a new series entry with a far wider scale and scope compared to the originals. Not only that, but the new title aims high with a peak 60fps frame-rate. The question is, which console is most successful at locking to it? The answer is surprising.

The truth is that alongside recent releases like Resident Evil 2 Remake, Just Cause 4 and Ace Combat 7, there’s another firm divide in the quality of the experience depending on the console you play. If you’re gaming on an enhanced machine, you’re in for a good time, while the base machines can’t really compete – a situation that’s exaggerated owing to a key limitation in the game: its inability to deliver a capped 30 frames per second with consistent frame-pacing.

The main dividing factor though is, of course, resolution. Perhaps inevitably, sitting at the top of the pile is Xbox One X, delivering a native, locked 2560×1440. PlayStation 4 Pro follows up, with a 2304×1296 pixel-count, around 81 per cent of the X’s output. There’s a big gap that follows, with the vanilla PS4 dropping down to 1600×900, while Xbox One S languishes at a disappointing 720p. Image clarity drops according as we descend the console power ladder, with the drop in resolution also impacting the quality of both texture filtering and anti-aliasing. The standard PS4 just about holds up, but it’s not a great turnout, while Xbox One definitely suffers. Beyond that, the only difference in terms of cross-platform comparisons comes down to ambient occlusion – the base consoles look rather dithered here, while the enhanced machines deliver this aspect in a more attractive manner.

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