Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn had promised to give the users a superbly enjoyable experience not just by means of gameplay but by means of slightly swanky graphics and the game quite lived up to that. The PC and PS3 versions had come out late last year and the difference between the two had been starkly apparent and explicit with the PC version soaring miles ahead in the graphics race. Only now, did the PC have an equal stacked against it. The PS4 version of FF XIV was launched on April 14th, and it has commendably utilised the gaming consoles’ new architecture and hardware to make the game look beautiful.
So how does the PS4 version of the game fare against its PC counterpart? Splendidly well.
The PC version of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has a fairly modest minimum system requirement which enables it to be run on almost all modern and most of old systems too. You could have an AMD 4 series card and not face any major issue with the gameplay experience with the graphics cranked to the lowest. For a more visually stimulating experience, of course you need a good rig but again, you do not need to splurge for that.
A card like the Nvidia 650Ti can handle the game nicely at high details although there might be some issues with the frame rate but the probability is as good as none, so that’s some good. Whereas, AMD’s 7700 seems to disappoint a fair bet. The card sounds like an F-22 broke its engine trying to take off but still hasn’t burnt out. Not too good. You’ll get decent graphics with cards the like of the 650Ti.
But even with the 7700, a noticeable drop in frame rate occurs only when you encounter a number of enemies, or are in a large environment with a lot of allies et al. Otherwise, the game can sustain an almost stable frame rate of around 35-40 fps with a mid-range graphics card. Needless to say, a high end graphic card can effortlessly maintain a decent frame rate of anywhere between 40-60 fps even in the worst case scenarios with every setting turned up.
The PS4 on the other hand has some issues with the frame rate. Although not a frequent problem, it can most certainly spur a user into a frenzy of ire as this happens usually in the most dire and difficult of the situations when you need the experience to be the smoothest, that is, usually in boss fights when you’re participating in jolly co-operation with your allies. But again, the cases are as good as not worthy of mention.
Coming to the actual comparison of the two platforms, there isn’t actually any difference. You cannot descry the difference between the visual performance of the two systems unless you run the game on both the machines with the screen for comparisons side by side. Even then, the difference is not apparent, if there happens to be any, that is. The PS4 version is essentially the PC version with everything turned on. Although, running the game on a system that equals the console’s hardware configuration would not render equal results.
The PC version in this case would tend to be slower because of the PS4’s optimsation and it being not dependent on different cards using different shaders or being subjected to different architectures. This is a slight advantage for the console but it doesn’t count for much provided you have a decent enough computing system.
Where the PS4 DOES lack is when you get involved in FATEs (Full Active Time Events) which occur spontaneously in the game at any time and tend to involve all the players in the vicinity. Although the PS4 can go upto 60fps (capped due to heating issues) – usually maintaining a 30+ frame rate without effort – , participating in FATEs with a lot happening around can make the frame rate go even as low as 15-20 fps.
Also, the shadows on the console version seem to be rendered differently. They aren’t bad, not in the least. But pitting them against high end rigs makes you feel as if they haven’t been done as nicely as the PC version. No matter how slight the difference.
The game runs at 1080p on the PS4 and having a 30+ frames per second rate isn’t anything to mope around about. Of course having a killer gaming rig would mean that you can easily manage frame rates in excess of 50 even in situations that might sweat your OC a bit in full HD. The PC version also gives you superior customisability options; especially useful for systems that can’t handle the game at maximum settings to make the experience smooth and enjoyable.
All in all, the game on both the systems look almost identical. For those to whom the above said things don’t mean a squat, it doesn’t. You will never know (or bother). The game in general looks beautiful to say the least. The shadows are nicely rendered, the draw distances are decent, the number of polygons rendered in a particular frame again is something worthy of mention and commendation.
Ambient occlusion is average, nothing to brag about. The game physics are nothing to complain about and the game treats all objects, their reflections and shadows as they should be. Shiny objects reflect light amply while non-reflective surfaces like skin, wood, armour yadda yadda yadda, give off a waning light as should be the case with the object in consideration.
Anisotropic filtering again is not excellent, but it isn’t something that would typically pique anyone’s ire. Water reflections look real nice, so does the grass although it could have been polished further to look appealing.
The PC version again letting you tweak all of the aforementioned things in addition to letting you set the quality of anti-aliasing, textures, HDR, reflections, shadows, blur et al. Needless to say, the customisability options are aplenty for anyone who wants to test their PCs with this game.
There were no issues of horizontal tearing in the game, or any lag of sorts. Except the occasional frame rate drops, there was nothing that I found that would hamper the gaming experience. Square Enix has done a heck of job in making the game look so imposing by MMO standards, on the PC and the PS4, both of which are a gargantuan improvement over the old PS3’s performance.
Console gamers might think that they’d be missing out on the eye candy with the PC master race and their high end rigs capable of churning out ridiculous amounts of data. You’re not. Allay your fears. Even the console controls are quite intuitive and easy to adjust to. So, either way, you’re good to go and trample or hobble through Eorzea equally well, PC or PS4.