Intro

Outriders launches on April 1st, and there is a free Demo available now. The game and demo are available on PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One (S), Xbox One X, PC and Google Stadia, but this Technalysis video focuses on the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, with a little Series S sprinkled on for good measure.

I’ve tried to keep this one brief as it’s a demo and the content is subject to change so it simply doesn’t warrant weeks of analysis, but the brief time I’ve spent with it turned up some interesting details.

As always the video is available in 4K60 with HDR, and I’ve included 3D headset audio from the games as well. Everything you need to get a quick look at the game without being told what’s what!

Performance Targets

The PS5 and Series X both render at native 4k with some of the effects rendered at a lower resolution to maintain performance. That’s not to say the profiles are identical or that People Can Fly have limited either console to maintain parity with the other; there are definite differences in lighting, shadows, depth of field effects, and other details that warrant more thorough exploration when the game releases. Assets and textures all appear to be consistent between the 2 consoles.

In gameplay both consoles target 60 frames per second. The PlayStation 5 achieves a tight lock on this framerate, but the Xbox Series X isn’t quite so consistent. In the early parts of the demo it is frequently seen to drop a frame or 2. These drops don’t hinder gameplay, but it seems reasonable to expect more severe performance drops as the 3 player co-op missions ramp up the spectacle.

Cutscenes target 30 frames per second but both consoles struggle here, so much so that the performance counters I recording on cutscenes were too uneven to be used reliably. I haven’t included these in the videos, but both consoles recorded frame rates as low as 7 per second. This appears to be a consequence of stutter rather than rendering, so please don’t take this number to be more meaningful than it is; cutscenes need smoothing over on both consoles. People Can Fly have promised improvements in this area, as well as updates to the character facial animations that are decidedly unimpressive right now.

Next-gen CPU and SSD

Outriders can look quite pretty when the particle effects and dramatic environmental conditions sing in harmony, but it’s foundations are clearly rooted in the previous generation of consoles. AI opponents are passable fodder at best, and friendly AI in the peaceful areas of the game won’t blink as they barge through any player in their tracks. Dense foliage sways and moves as a player trundles through, but that’s about the extent of the impact a player can have on the environment.

The SSD is utilised effectively, with load times on both consoles never exceeding a couple of seconds. A potent quality of life feature it’s easy to forget as we get accustomed to this hardware.

Audio

The game doesn’t use next-gen spatial surround sound, but both consoles do a fantastic job taking the surround sound of the game and virtualising it for a headset with Sony’s Tempest 3D Headset Audio or Microsoft’s Windows Sonic (with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X as options).

Honestly I couldn’t discern a winner in audio even if the difference exists, but I have captured the headphone output for Tempest and Dolby Atmos so it you’re an audiophile or have a keen ear for sound then grab any headphones you want and check out the video to hear any difference for yourself.

Xbox Series S

I had no intention to cover the Xbox Series S in this video but some mixed messaging from People Can Fly forced my hand. Their marketing material listed a Series S performance profile of an unimpressive 1080p30 but they made a statement to correct this apparent error, claiming a performance profile of 4k resolution and 60 frames per second.

I’ve spent very little time with the Series S version of the game (in fact the footage in the video covers almost all of it). However, it was immediately apparent as soon as the game started that it is not running at a 4k resolution, or anything close. At a glance I would place it at 1080p.

That isn’t to say that the initial claim of 1080p30 is on the money either; the Series S version of the game definitely targets 60 frames per second. Unfortunately it very rarely reaches this target. In fact the frame rate fluxuates between 40-60 frames per second and honestly the fluxuations are quite dramatic, and I did not find the game pleasant to play on the Series S. Hopefully this little console gets some serious care and attention in the run-up to launch.

The Winner Is…

If you’re lucky enough to own both consoles and you’re not sure which version to pick up then…. Well, the demo is free. The best thing you can do is try it and make your own mind up.

If you’re basing your decision off of this technalysis then the PlayStation 5 edges it, with superior lighting and near flawless performance in gameplay. Saying that, you can bet your bottom dollar that Outriders will continue to see updates up to launch and beyond, and the margin between the consoles is close enough that it might swing the other way at a later date and realistically the descrepency in technical performance here isn’t severe enough for most people to to base their purchasing decision.

 

This analysis really only scratches the surface of Outriders. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll provide answers if I can (or I’ll at least say hello)! If you want to know about how the game performs on the numerous other platforms that you can play it then comment to let us know.

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