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The Last Guardian may push you toward buying a PS4 Pro

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Slows to a crawl on original consoles

After nearly a decade in development, The Last Guardian is finally out on PlayStation 4. Despite its lengthy production and beautiful art design, the game arrived with some serious graphical shortcomings on older PS4 models — and tech analysis from Digital Foundry may make some people think twice about playing The Last Guardian on anything but a PlayStation 4 Pro.

Digital Foundry uploaded the tech comparison video above, demonstrating The Last Guardian on a launch model PlayStation 4 and the newfangled, high-powered PS4 Pro at both 1080p and 4K settings. The differences, as noted in the accompanying write-up, aren’t always major: The Last Guardian is an artistic marvel, but when it comes to performance, things take a serious turn.

“The only option available to PlayStation gamers in getting a regularly smooth 30 fps is to use PlayStation 4 Pro, running at 1080p,” according to Digital Foundry. The video shows that the game dips to the mid-20s on a PS4 Pro running in 4K with some regularity. On the original PS4, The Last Guardian’s frame rate often hangs around the low-20s.

Some have found that playing The Last Guardian on the OG PS4 can result in even larger frame rate dips. The video below, from PlayStation Universe, shows the game crawling along at under 10 frames-per-second. The issue was only resolved by restarting the console entirely.

Digital Foundry didn’t find anything that egregious in its playthrough, but the inconsistent frame rate may remind players of another Team Ico classic. Shadow of the Colossus often fell to a frame rate in the teens back in its PlayStation 2 release; that was stabilized for its PlayStation 3 remaster.

The Last Guardian was in development for so long that it missed the PS3’s entire lifespan, however, so some may be disappointed by the graphical problems. The PS4 Pro’s increased horsepower may make it the top choice for playing the long-awaited adventure game — if not the only choice for those who prioritize visual performance above all else.

We found issues with the frame rate in our playthrough as well, as we noted in our review. For more on whether The Last Guardian is worth playing at all, check that out.