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Final Fantasy 15’s PS4 Pro patch does more harm than good

Stick with an Xbox One or a regular PS4, for now

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Final Fantasy 15’s latest patch, released today, adds PlayStation 4 Pro support to the long-in-development action game. But for PS4 Pro owners, the version 1.05 update not only falls short of Square Enix’s goal of a frame rate as high as 60 frames per second — it actually removes the one option the game previously offered for stable performance, reports Digital Foundry.

Prior to the 1.05 patch, Final Fantasy 15 gave players two choices for performance on a PS4 Pro: “Lite” and “High.” Digital Foundry recommended the former, in which the game ran in 1080p resolution at a “rock-solid” 30 fps. The High mode boosted the resolution to 1800p via checkerboard rendering — offering better texture filtering and shadows — but Digital Foundry felt that the visual upgrades weren’t worth the inconsistent frame-pacing, which produced a jittery experience.

Final Fantasy 15 v1.05 retains the Lite and High modes, but they don’t do the same things as before. The Lite mode still runs in 1080p, except now with an unlocked frame rate. However, Digital Foundry found that the frame rate hovers in the 40-50 fps range — which is exactly where it was in mid-November, when game director Hajime Tabata first announced plans for the PS4 Pro patch. The game only reaches 60 fps if the player is staring at the ground, as you can see in the video above.

Meanwhile, the High mode doesn’t appear to be much better than before. Square Enix hasn’t fixed the frame-pacing, so it’s still “very jerky,” according to Digital Foundry.

“In some ways, patch 1.05 actually feels like a retrograde step as opposed to a desirable upgrade,” said Digital Foundry, which is no longer recommending the PS4 Pro as the hardware of choice for Final Fantasy 15. “At this point, both the Xbox One and standard PlayStation 4 now provide a smoother experience.”

PS4 Pro owners are stuck with either an inconsistent unlocked frame rate that’s well below 60 fps at 1080p, or a higher-resolution 30 fps mode that “gives the illusion of running at a lower frame-rate owing to the frame-pacing issues.” Those problems are present on a non-Pro PS4, but they’re not as bad as in the Pro’s High mode. As for the Xbox One version, it runs at a lower native resolution of 900p and will scale that down to maintain smooth frame-pacing.

The one silver lining here is that Square Enix still has a number of free updates planned for Final Fantasy 15, including one that will rework the game’s poorly received 13th chapter. Here’s hoping the developers can address these PS4 Pro issues in a future patch.