Play the PS4 version now, or wait for the PS5 version?
December 4, 2020 1:36 PM   Subscribe

I'm planning to get a PS5, but not right away - I don't have the money or the patience to fight for one. I'm probably going to wait until demand settles. There are a couple of games I'm really interested in that will have PS5 versions, but are available on the PS4 much sooner. Should I wait to play them? Can anyone who owns both consoles tell me how different the experience really is?

I've seen Youtube videos showcasing the amazing, pretty graphics, and while I do care about amazing, pretty graphics, I don't care as much as some people might. For example, I only just got a 4K TV a couple months ago - until then I was playing on a tiny, several-years-old who-knows-what, and it was good enough. I enjoyed the visual design of the games more than the graphics quality, even though I oohed and aaahed a bit when I got my new TV.

There's also things like differences in loading times to consider, and those I have a worse sense of. How do those compare with games that have PS4/PS5 versions?

For example, I'm really interested in Cyberpunk 2077. Some of my friends will be playing it when it comes out, and I'd like to have the experience of playing it as a new release (after initial reviews come in to make sure it's not a total bust). But do we think that the quality bump will be worth waiting for the PS5 version anyway?

I'm not the type of person who typically replays such games, so "play PS4 now, enjoy free upgrade to PS5 later" isn't one of the choices here.
posted by Kutsuwamushi to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
(And yes I know that Cyberpunk: 2077 won't have a PS5 version for a while, so the problem isn't me not having the console. But some games I'm interested in already have PS5 versions or will have them sooner. I mention Cyberpunk: 2077 because the visuals are one of the things that's so hyped about it so I think it's a good example of the dilemma.)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:41 PM on December 4, 2020

What I'd do: check if Digital Foundry have any coverage of the titles, if anything they mention is both a dealbreaker for me and something that will probably be improved in the PS5 version then wait; else play now.

It's going to be different for each game, and the only title you specified isn't even out for PS4 yet.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:46 PM on December 4, 2020

I saw that at least one game (Assassins Creed?) was offering a free PS5 upgrade if you had the PS4 version. That may actually end up being common, at least among the handful of games that are on both platforms (It's more than a handful now, but that will change over time.) The Sony website might say something about that.
As far as loading screens go, there just aren't any on the PS5, the hard drive is that fast (one game that wanted you to read the tips and stuff had to add fake loading screens). Any game that's taking advantage of all that speed won't even run on the PS4.
If it's available on both platforms, it's going to be 'scaled up' from the PS4 version, not 'scaled down' from the PS5. I'd go ahead and get the PS4 version of whatever you like now, especially while all the sales are on. (FWIW, I picked up Death Stranding for only 20 and it looks amazing on the PS4. Control is also super-fun, but it uses a lot of HDR effects...I think the PS4 pro (and a probably your new one) that can handle that would have improved the graphics a lot for me...some things were kind of hard to see on my tv.)
posted by sexyrobot at 6:32 PM on December 4, 2020

I'm waiting until I get a PS5. I'm only willing to play a game through once and I'd rather have the best possible experience. Also my fear is most of the PS5 games now were written with PS5 in mind and the PS4 ports will be shaky. That's certainly the case with Watch Dogs: Legion.

Practically speaking, the main visual difference you'll see is ray tracing. Which means fancy reflections and shadows in PS5. Other than that the whole game experience should just be better; crisper textures, faster loading times, etc. I don't think it will be a huge deal though. If you're super excited to play a game, play it now.

There's a special case for waiting for Cyberpunk: 2077. CDPR has a very bad track record selling broken buggy software that the eventually fix. 2077 is particularly notoriously behind schedule with the software team being worked in unpaid overtime for 6+ months and some massive day one patch coming. I don't expect the game to be reasonably stable and playable for a few months anyway, regardless of what platform you play it on.
posted by Nelson at 7:05 AM on December 5, 2020

I have one of each and I think you can wait for now. The games coming out on PS4 right now are squeezing every last drop out of the console and they look great. I played Ghost of Tsushima on both, for instance, and the only real difference to my eyes was the framerate - and it wasn't bad on the PS4 at all. Load times are shorter for sure, though.

I think that will be the rule for this in-between period - the games will run better and look better on PS5, but not that much better. I would feel perfectly fine playing anything coming out in the next 6-8 months on PS4. After that I think is when the thing that Nelson notes (designing for next-gen first) will really start coming into play. Ray tracing for example is used by almost no games whatsoever at present but will soon become standard.

I'm playing Cyberpunk right now on PC, by the way, and yes, it is very buggy. You can safely wait on this one specifically!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:47 PM on December 5, 2020

> I played Ghost of Tsushima on both, for instance, and the only real difference to my eyes was the framerate

This here is what I mean when saying it will vary for each game and each person: I don't care about GoT at all but if I did, considering it's only 30fps on PS4 but 60fps on PS5 backwards compatiblity, it would 100% be a "wait for PS5" game.
posted by Bangaioh at 4:35 AM on December 6, 2020

A brief DF analysis of CP2077 on PS4 and PS4 Pro is now available, btw.

Performance is a trash fire with sub 20 fps drops on both but, despite not being shown on today's video, the framerate is uncapped when running on PS5 BC. Another definite "wait" imo.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:37 PM on December 10, 2020

Cyberpunk 2077 maker apologizes for terrible PS4/Xbox One launch, promises refunds. The developer shipped broken garbage knowing it was broken garbage.
posted by Nelson at 10:04 AM on December 17, 2020

Sony Removes Cyberpunk 2077 from PS Store, Will Offer Refunds to PlayStation Players Who Already Bought It. Basically a full recall. Note the PS5 version of the game isn't out yet; only PS4 or running on PS5 in compatability mode.
posted by Nelson at 8:37 PM on December 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

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