15 Amazing Graphical Effects That Were Possible Only Due To PS4 And Xbox One

And of course, this automatically applies to gaming PCs.

Posted By | On 13th, Jul. 2014 Under Feature, Slider | Follow This Author @Pramath1605

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There is something to be said for having pretty ass games. Yes, ultimately, how engaging or compelling a game is comes down to how well it plays, but looking great never hurts its chances. And while focusing only on graphics, like so many people do these days, is a bit misguided, appreciating great graphics in games that we know are already good (or will be good, simply judging by precedence) doesn’t hurt much either.

So let’s stop and appreciate these fifteen absolutely amazing graphical details, that are small, and that you probably wouldn’t notice by themselves, but ones that stand out as being indicative of incredible technological adeptness on the part of their developers, as well as indicative of the developers wanting their worlds to be as realistic and immersive as possible. The following 15 graphical effects are amazingly thoughtful and considerate- and they are so specific, they exist only because the extra power on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One makes them possible.

Of course, any of this would be (and is) possible on a great PC, with a game designed to take advantage of higher end rigs as well; however, as far as consoles go, developers probably even considered putting these features in because of all the extra resources afforded by the Xbox One and PS4. And in fact sometimes, they found that they could pull these effects off on last gen hardware too (if they were developing a version of the game for last generation systems, that is).

Without any further ado, then, here are 15 amazingly detailed graphical effects made possible by the PS4 and Xbox One, presented in no specific order:

Watch Dogs – Road Drying Up In Real Time

Watch Dogs wet road

Watch Dogs has become infamous by now for the controversy surrounding its graphics- it debuted way back at E3 2012, looking absolutely stunning, and it became our first indication of what a next gen console could achieve, before next gen consoles had even been announced. Watch Dogs garnered a lot of hype on the back of its great looking graphics- until when the time came for it finally release, it seemed like it had been graphically downgraded from the incredible demo that had started it all all those years ago.

Whether or not Watch Dogs was downgraded is an entirely different matter; the point remains, however, that it is an incredibly pretty game. It’s still one of the few games out so far that when you see it running, looks next gen.The game is full of these little graphical details, stuff that probably wouldn’t even occur to most developers to include, but which greatly enhances the realism of Watch Dogs’ world. Consider, for example, how wet roads in Watch Dogs (which look great to begin with) will dry up in real time, even as you walk or drive across them, realistically. Some great stuff, this.

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  • d0x360

    Only possible on new hardware? PGR 4 had weather simulation with rain and snow. Rain could dry snow could melt. Both effected handling and it changed dynamically based on road temp.

    All of these “effects” were always possible. They have just been improved.

    • albatrosMyster

      Hey I really love their bit about motion capture, it’s like they never played The Last of Us, the Uncharted games or the Quantic Dream games (among many others).

      Seriously, that Ryse bit was the worst of all, at least they can claim they forgot about the older games, never played on PC or though they were completely different in nature (to be fair, the rain in DriveClub looks significantly better than anything similar done before… but this is not 100% new).

    • d0x360

      It’s not a bad article its just the title that’s the issue. It should be more like…

      “Most improved graphical techniques this generation”

      Or something like that. I mean…basically all of this stuff existed on the PlayStation 1 it just looks a whole lot better now.

      The one I’d most disagree with is watch dogs water. Its…OK. It looks decent but its not a full simulation and I’ve definitely seen better. There is no interaction with wakes, it doesn’t properly splash (scripted effects) and the effects that it does have don’t propagate properly either.

    • albatrosMyster

      That was my feeling when the ps3 and 360 came out, the previous consoles, especially the xbox, could manage pretty much everything we saw on the new machines, if you scaled back on resolution, texture size and shader effects.

      The first xbox was a pretty powerful console for its time and it had a hard drive!

    • d0x360

      It was pretty nice especially if you installed a mod chip. My Xbox had about 300 games on a hard drive array along with every genesis, SNES and nes game and it also acted as my home media server

    • albatrosMyster

      I did that too, I had the biggest harddrive it would let me put it along the original version of xbmc!

      Never got that many xbox games per say, it was very much an emulator/media center box… and I played 90% on PC back in those days, I just could not get why people would play a shooter at 30fps at such a low resolution (compared to a good PC monitor of the day) with a controller! .. times don’t change that much, PC gamers keep saying the same things about consoles, they have been since they first got VGA cards, before then it was Amiga/Atari gamers that had the upper hand.

    • d0x360

      I had/have a large game library. I never trade anything in so when the original Xbox was hooked up I’d just buy a game and install it to the drive then put the disc in a box in the basement.

      God I miss that…I never modded my 360 cause it seemed harder to do with less features. Hopefully since the new consoles are like the original Xbox just a PC in a box there will be mod chips. Its less likely as security improves but I can hope.

      I don’t even care if the chip blocks piracy and just allows homebrew. I suppose I could just build a small PC and hide it behind my TV too. It just is more fun to hack something to do more than designed.

      I remember the first softmod for Xbox using save files to overwrite the bios. Mind blowing at the time. The first time I booted up an emulator i was just stunned lol.

  • Kamille

    come on 15 pages… I’m not reading this crap then.

  • generic-user-name a.k.a GUN

    “I hate games that emphasize cinematism over gameplay”

    The calling card of the anti Sony brigade and lo and behold here it is under The Order, a PS exclusive. Not that I’m targeting this at the author, I just think it’s funny to see it.

  • Jason Mounce

    You hate cinematic games? Guess MGS4 or the series entirely isn’t for you either… Even though I’d argue MGS is a good combination of Cinematic and Gameplay. Especially MGS5.

    • Failz

      MGS is a good series but honestly you like sitting around for 30mins just to watch the same movie over and over again? I would rather play the cutscenes. Its just a cheap form of them making your game look good.

    • Neco The Sergal

      xD Well, that’s what a Skip button is good for.

      MGS is known for at least having an average playtime of 12-14 hours with/without cutscenes included. There are times when what you say is quite impossible though ‘Play the cutscenes’? Kojima is a movie-buff and some things just really need to be orchestrated by a puppet master.

      Which is also at least another benefit being MGS5 has seamless in-game cutscenes that transition from cutscene to gameplay – And is skippable.

  • If you’re taking the Uncharted video as representative of gameplay, then you get to take this as representative of H5 gameplay.


    • Beingomni

      Excellent point.

    • kradendarkstar2

      Except Naughty Dog has come right out and said it’s game play. http://www.lazygamer.net/general-news/uncharted-4-trailer-is-apparently-in-game/ I really hope halo 5 looks that good though. Looking forward to both.

    • https://twitter.com/Corrinne/statuses/476209528367620096

      This Uncharted 4 trailer is captured from a real Playstation 4.

      That ≠ Gameplay

      The way that tweet is composed, they might as well have been running a blu-ray disk and captured it via a standard capture card. Still = capturing something running off a ‘real’ PS4. (as apposed to a fake one?)

    • kradendarkstar2

      @ZirpPop Our U4 trailer is an in engine real game level running on a real PS4,Paolo.Our trailer doesn't look good enough to be prerender CGI— Corrinne Yu (@Corrinne) June 12, 2014

      This was more of the tweet I was going off

    • Not_true

      That tweet doesn’t prove it’s realtime.

      Imo the Uncharted 4 trailer is a pre-rendered in-engine movie like all of the Uncharted and The Last of Us cutscenes.

    • Our trailer doesn’t look good enough to be pretender CGI

      Downplaying their abilities to emphasize hype? That trailer looks gorgeous – but even if it isn’t CG, then that still doesn’t equate to gameplay. Maybe it’s the cinematography (like with XO’s Ryse), but it isn’t gameplay.

      And yet, with the wording, that’s what they’re subliminally implying.

    • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

      But the Halo 5 trailer wasn’t even in engine or on system, the Uncharrted one was both of those…

      I mean H5 will look amazing, as will Uncharted but this comparison is stupid.

    • Failz

      Just because they say it runs off real game engine doesn’t mean it will look that good on release. We have seen many times this gen games get downgraded on release. That scene shown in UC4 could be using every bit of power just to achieve that 1 scene, any Engine focused on 1 scene can look as good as you want. Don’t believe everything they show you, remember everyone saying Killzone SF MP running at 60/1080p when its 1080i and averages 50 frames.

    • Not_true

      The Uncharted 4 trailer is probably a pre-rendered in-engine movie like all of the Uncharted and The Last of Us cutscenes.

      Of course gameplay won’t look as good as cutscenes, that doesn’t mean gameplay was downgraded.

      KZ multiplayer is not 1080i.

    • Failz

      The point is they say gameplay when your not actually playing it. Cut scenes look good on any game.

    • Not_true

      Ok, but when they show actual gameplay you know it’s not going to look as good as the cutscene by default.

    • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

      I know how it works, probably way better then anyone here. Heck I’m modeling right now!

      I know it is essentially a tech demo with no AI/physics or anything load bearing happening. It’s all visuals, but it is still running on the system, you can tell by the drawbacks the PS4 caused. It isn’t comparable to a straight up CG trailer,Naughty Dog just used some extrmemly clever visual tricks to make it look that good, and chances are they will use those in the actual game. Though I doubt it will be 60fps.

    • albatrosMyster

      Those shadows flickering in Drake’s wrinkles killed it for me! such low precision 😉

      Failz: You cannot magically make the XB1 do that kind of thing that Killzone:SF or the Uncharted 4 reveal does, otherwise MS would have shown it, one way or the other, they would have said “hey we can do amazing AA, lighting at 1080p 60fps or even at 30”

      Yet right now we have the good looking Forza Horizon 2 that looks like a cartoon compared to DriveClub, the new released Sniper 3 that has so much screen tears on the XB1 that they had to add a 30fps limiter only for this version! …

      Yup Killzone:SF MP did not run with the same image quality as the campaign, but that was still beyond XB1’s reach.

      As for frame rate claims, we will wait and see, so far on consoles there are very few games that run on a locked 60fps (I think the expectation of true 100% 60fps on any demanding game is a little bit of a troll piece, a game that runs at an average above 45 is plenty playable given the hardware in the current consoles… even the PS4).

    • Michael Norris

      Yea compare a launch title that was rushed and was made in 2 years to a game made by ND that won’t be out for over a year,Good job…..It runs at 1080p…..it just updates differently.How about i talk about how Forza 5 can look like this


    • You completely missed the point.

    • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

      I don’t think you understand how these things work, I do.

    • Clearly you understand less than you presume to.

    • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

      No, just read the post then look it up. It’s pretty basic stuff to understand.

    • RadApples

      Tooting our horn a bit mate?

      I’m going to throw out some of my experience to give you a little ethos.

      I have 7+ years of programming experience and 2 years applied commercially.

      I have worked with game engines for pushing 4 years now. I started on Source and have transitioned into UDK. I am currently working on a Project in Unreal Engine 4.

      I have worked with 3D Modeling Software like Carrara, 3DS Max, Maya, and Blender.

      Now with that being said, let me clear some of this up. The Uncharted 4 footage is running on a PS4 and it is not a CG Render, but that does not mean it is a representation of real gameplay. The trailer is likely even captured IN ENGINE, but that does not mean it is actually gameplay. A developer can get more visual eye candy out of an engine when creating a cinematic, than it can when gameplay is actually going on. There are a lot of background processes that are halted during a cinematic, therefore freeing up the hardware to allocate more for visuals.

      Does this make sense? You may be working in modelling but this is more of a trick in the programming than a track in the modelling.

      I hope that helps a bit.

    • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

      I pretty much wrote that above yesterday -_-

    • RadApples

      Then I think you are misunderstanding Butterfly. He is saying that trailer is not an accurate representation of gameplay. It isn’t. It is running in the game’s engine, but is merely a cinematic and the actual gameplay wont be as detailed.

    • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

      He was comparing it to a full out CG trailer though, I was just pointing out that it is not the same. Even if the U4 demo thingy was just a tech demo it was still running on console, comparing it to a flat out Video is crazy. It doesnt even begin to compare to Cg.

    • Solid Snake

      lol no.

      Uncharted 4’s video was captured on a real PS4 running in real time in the in game engine.

      Halo 5’s trailer is just a normal CGI trailer.

    • albatrosMyster

      Man, the Halo 5 video was not even claimed to be running on the real hardware, in real time /whatever

      IF MS wanted to present their game as looking like this they would have made the claim, it’s that simple.

      Now having your players in full body armor with hidden faces is a great way to save on rendering hair, facial details, or any kind of tissue!

      I am saying it here, Halo 5 will look worse than Killzone:SF.

    • Your intelligence is subnormal.

      Also, you clearly missed the entire point of my post.

      Also, you’re even more subnormal than initially thought if you think that H5 will look worse than SF.

    • albatrosMyster

      I was trying to be polite, but it seems you did not get it, so I will spell it out clearly, maybe you will understand the long form:

      The Uncharted 4 teaser video is what the final game will look like, that or the final game will be improved upon it, Naughty Dog has a history of delivering on their claims, pure and simple.

      The Halo 5 video is pure Bullshot (in video form) to the level of the PS3’s “target renders” poor, normal, people like you throwing that around in discussions about real time graphical effects set themselves up for disappointment, at the very least the final Halo 5 will have much more jaggies.

      Anyway, even MS did not claim that the game would look anything like that teaser, so I wonder how some people came to believe the game would have that kind of fidelity when no game on the XB1 has anything close to this to show, in part or as a whole. While on PS4 if you take Killzone:SF, then go to Infamous:SS, previews of DriveClub + The Order you see the clear progression and how that could lead to a game that looks like Uncharted 4 running 1080p 60fps.

      You should have yourself, as a whole, checked out.

    • YOU DENSE MOTHERKCUFER! YOU DO NOT GET IT! I am NOT saying that video is Halo 5 gameplay! I am simply saying that if YOU (and those gullible enough to be lumped into the same group) believe UC4’s trailer to be GAMEPLAY (not a cinematic sample), then you get to take H5’s MP beta trailer as multiplayer gameplay.

      Do you get it? Do you understand the sarcasm? I’m saying that NEITHER game will play like what we were shown! Neither will Bloodborne – neither will Crackdown – neither will Zelda – neither will Mortal Kombat X – neither will ANY of these “teaser trailer titles” that we were shown at E3!

      You want gameplay? Look at Smash Bros. Look at Forza Horizon 2. Look at The Division. Look at Far Cry 4. Look at Rainbow Six. Look at Little Big Planet. But DON’T look at what we were shown of Uncharted – DON’T look at what we were shown of Halo 5 – as representative of gameplay!

      Doing so only makes you look foolish – just like saying that a Guerrilla launch-title will look better than a 343 title that’s undergoing a 3-year dev-cycle with full access to DX12. It just makes you look the fool.

      You, sir, should check yourself out of the internet and anywhere that you think you have the authority to attempt to “politely” correct anyone. You are either a fool to believe the words that your original comment consisted of, or you need to reeducate yourself regarding comparison and logical operations.

    • albatrosMyster

      Don’t talk about sarcasm you don’t know what it is, I will leave it at that.

    • Michael Norris

      ND already said that the UC4 trailer is running in engine,no matter how you say it,That Halo 5 is CG….CG it’s not the same troll.

    • In engine means jack.

  • Beat


    • Beingomni

      I love Titanfall on Xbox One but I’m still confused about that res …

    • Not_true

      It’s an ideal framebuffer size for 32MB. Same reason Watch Dogs is 792p.

  • Γκέραλντ

    console fanboy article

  • Γκέραλντ

    explosions?? first crysis has far better explosion than Watch Dogs


  • Γκέραλντ

    number of characters on screens? play a Total War game or mmorpg

  • Kumomeme

    maybe what this article means what this generation console capable than last gen…please dont confuse the reader

  • Mark

    Eh Pramath, u need to replace the Witcher 3 with Quantum Break……..c’mon man! Lol. Oh, also u should find space for Star Wars Battlefront 3, as it was in engine. Graphically, I’d go with Star Wars, Uncharted, Quantum Break, The Order, Ryse and Alien Isolation. Gimme COD: AW with that too.

    • Not_true

      Driveclub looks great for a console game too.

  • Failz

    PCs are capable of these effects years ago, only held back due to Consoles. These are nothing new only to console gamers. Crysis 3 with everything on still looks better then any next gen game and that was released years ago.

    • Rubix99

      Yet games sell like crap on PC. Regardless of their better quality.

      PC version of Watcg Dogs sold 0.16 million copies as of June 28th 2014.
      Plasystation 4 version of Watchdogs sold 2.20 million copies as of June 28th 2014.

      Every console version of the game sold more than the PC version.

    • albatrosMyster

      I don’t think the sales number argument defeat the fact that a good a PC can run most games better than any console out there.

      However, as for what that other guy said of Crysis 3, even before we had the new consoles I did not like the characters models in it, the faces look like plastic and the don’t animate that well… as far as graphics in general, I though Killzone:SF looked at least as good, obviously you can always tweak the PC settings on Crysis 3 to give you better AA, a steadier frame rate and a run it at a higher resolution, it does not change the fact that a 400$ console can hold a candle to your 2500$ PC, this is a feat.

    • Rubix99

      Totally correct.
      And if I bought a $2500 PC now……would that PC still be running the latest games perfectly well by the time the PS4s lifetime is at it’s end?

      The way I see it is that what a system is capable of compared to what actually happens are 2 very seprate things.

      If I was a PC “master race” only gamer…..I would still not have Red Dead Redemption and still be waiting for Grand Theft Auto 5. Which happen to be 2 of my favourite games of all time.

      Plus PCs are generally more prone to system failures…..more so if you use that PC for more than just gaming. Consoles are generally a safe investment to ensure we get to play the latest games without constant needed upgrades and worries if it will run a certain game etc. I certainly take this method and sacrifice a bit of extra graphic power that becomes totally irrelevant anyway once I start really getting into the game.

  • Anders

    “Number 13: Characters on screen” io interactive did manage that with glacier 2 in Hitman. So Dead Rising might not be the best example.

  • Not_true

    In-engine simply means they used the game engine to render the movie file. With The Last of Us they used 8 PS3s linked together to render the movies using the same game engine, but also using higher quality models, better visual effects, etc. than what you see during realtime gameplay.

    Attached photo of the PS3 movie render farm. They’re probably doing something similar for Uncharted 4 linking PS4s together to render the movie files for the cutscenes “in-engine” using higher quality models and effects.

  • Babbre

    If they’re assuming that the Uncharted 4 teaser was actual gameplay, then it should have been in all the previous reasons


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