We often throw out the number…10 long years when it comes to Final Fantasy 15 but it’s hard to forget that it has been ten really long years. Final Fantasy 15 is finally here. What makes the release interesting is that right off the bat, Final Fantasy 15 has PS4 Pro support available. Unlike several other games which provide no option whatsoever on the PS4 Pro, Final Fantasy 15 provides two different modes if you are playing on Sony’s latest console. For a game that is been under development for so long, it’s indeed a pleasant surprise that Square Enix are supporting a new SKU since day one.
Those of you who own a 4K TV set might want to play the game in PS4 Pro’s High mode which offers a higher resolution than both the Lite mode and base PS4 version. In this mode the game runs at 3200 X 1800p and then uses checkerboard rendering to run the final image at 4K resolution. Of course this is not native 4K but there is a remarkable difference compared to the base version. However the frame rate is capped at 30fps along with very less slowdowns during combat sequences. So if you have a 4K television then this the mode you need to play the Final Fantasy 15 on. Next up is the Lite mode. In this mode the game’s engine renders the game at 1080p and 30 frames per second and drops some of the visual effects to deliver an overall better performance.
At this point in time, we are assuming that the Lite mode is not actually running as it should be. Square Enix plans to patch the game to support unlocked frame rate which in turn may possibly mean a 60 fps frame buffer but at the cost of visual fidelity and we think that the Lite mode may be best suited for this option. As far as the base version goes, we are looking at a dynamic 1080p resolution with a frame rate cap of 30 fps once again. So overall, it feels like the game has been pretty well optimized but we honestly can’t wait to get our hands on the 1080p and 60fps patch whenever it launches.
Asides the performance and visual parameters, we also wanted to talk a bit about Luminous Studio, the engine the game is running on. Character models in Final Fantasy 15 look much sharper and better than ever before and that is down to the drastic increase in polygon count. The real-time scenes in the game have 5 million polygons per frame, with each character models made up of 100,000 polygons. The game uses a skeletal based animation system which involves around 150 bones for the face, 150 for the body and over 300 just for the hair. The hair itself uses over 200,000 polygons and 4096×4096 texels texture data is used to generate a scene. These figures put Final Fantasy 15 head and shoulders above any previous game in the series.
The game’s use of aggressive dynamic lighting along with a full physical based rendering pipeline and global illumination drastically improves image quality and lighting. The PS4 Pro version utilizes the Luminous Engine to its fullest which results into better shadow quality, anisotropic filtering and slightly better draw distances. Praise is also forthcoming on the game’s excellent use of post processing effects, especially in the night which could result into some spectacular on screen action.
This brings us to the game’s support for High Dynamic Range lighting also known as HDR and quite honestly Final Fantasy 15 has the best implementation we have ever seen on the PS4 Pro. The image quality looks so much better with the perfect balance between light and dark colors which manage to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible with standard digital techniques. And all of this can be enabled with just a single toggle button provided within the game’s settings.
In the end Final Fantasy 15 is one of the best looking role playing games you will play this year, and quite possible the best from a gameplay perspective as well. With its smart use of lighting, a post processing temporal anti-aliasing solution and fantastic HDR implementation, Final Fantasy 15 is nothing short of a technical marvel on the PlayStation 4 Pro.