Graphics settings are an absolute staple of PC gaming. We love being able to tweak and prioritise, finding the right balance between visuals and performance that suits us. When a developer gets this wrong, the bad news klaxon begins to sound, Just look at the original Dark Souls, which was a slapdash PC port if ever we’ve seen one.
While playing on consoles though, you’re basically stuck with whatever the developers think you want. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer 60 frames per second, or you’d be happy with a resolution drop for improved graphical detail - you get what you’re given.
Things may be set to change though, with the new Star Ocean 4 remaster on PlayStation 4 including a whole suite of graphics options to tweak that we’d normally only expect from PC games. This includes Shadow Buffers, Anti-Aliasing, Texture Resolution, Character Draw Distance, Depth of Field and Camera Blur. To the best of our knowledge, we’ve never, ever, seen a console game match the PC version point for point on graphics settings.
Star Ocean 4 isn’t wholly alone in this matter though. Since the arrival of the so-called iterative consoles, the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X, a number of games have offered rudimentary performance choices to players. You can play Nioh at 60fps / 1080p for example, or bump it up to 30fps / 4K. On the Xbox One X you can either play Gears of War 4 with the best possible graphics at 30fps / 4K, or downgrade the graphics slightly for 60fps / 4K. There’s an element of decision making there that console players have never had to make before.
But should the template laid down by Star Ocean 4 become the de facto standard for console players? While choice is usually good, the chief selling point of a console over a PC is that there’s not very much to mess around with. Lose this, and does console lose another USP? I think the general consensus among all but the absolute power users picking up the Xbox One X or the PS4 Pro is that they probably don’t want to mess around with graphics settings and would prefer to leave it to the devs to nail down the perfect balance. There’s an argument that this is a stuck in the past approach though, and the choice to fine tune can never be a bad thing.
What are your thoughts on this progression from Star Ocean 4? Should PC-style graphics settings become commonplace on consoles? Let us know!