Arkane Studios’ Prey is an interesting case to analyze, especially given how the PC version of Dishonored 2 turned out last year. Prey runs on an altogether different engine compared to Dishonored 2…Arkane have utilized Crytek’s CryEngine as oppose to id Tech 5 this time around. This marks the second time this year that a major release is using the CryEngine, the first one being Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 which was somewhat of a mix bag.
However, Arkane have implemented the features of CryEngine in such a way that you won’t even realize this is running on Crytek’s framework. The art style, the physics involved, the character models and stylish environments will all remind you of the Dishonored series. So, unless you missed out on the CryEngine/Crytek logo during the intro, you will most likely assume that Prey is running on the Dishonored engine. ‘
Back to the topic at hand, how does the game fare on the PC and PS4 Pro? For this comparison, we decided to stack up the PC version against the PS4 Pro build. In order to remove potential bottlenecks on the PC build, we decided to use a GTX 1080Ti, 16GB of DDR4 memory and a Ryzen 7 1700 processor. This build will ensure that the game will run at highest graphical setting possible at 1080p resolution. The PC version comes along with a decent number of graphical settings which includes Object Detail, Shadow Quality, Textue Quality, Anisotropic Filtering, Anti-aliasing, Screen Space Directional Occlusion and Screen Space Reflections Quality.
Comparing them side by side and it’s not hard to see that the PC version benefits from higher quality shadows and better anisotropic filtering. In contrast, the PS4 Pro version suffers from lower filtering quality. Object detail and texture quality are also better on the PC…so overall, not a big surprise that the game looks better on PC. However, this is a welcome change from the various technical issues Dishonored 2 faced on the PC. The PC build also excels in providing a 60fps experience which is a game changer compared to the 30fps frame buffer on the PS4 Pro. Given that this is a first-person shooter where swift action is needed almost every time, Prey on the PC feels like a totally different game due to its higher frame rate support.
However, the PS4 Pro version feels like barebones version of the base PS4. There doesn’t seem to be any improvements and no Pro specific modes are implemented. In short, you will get the same 1080p/30fps experience regardless on which PS4 you decide to play the game on. This is extremely disappointing because Arkane have made next to no effort in providing some benefit for Pro owners…heck, they could have at the very least scaled the resolution to 1440p. Even the load times are quite bad on the PS4 Pro. It takes anywhere from 40 to 50 seconds to load a level…simply unacceptable in this generation of gaming.
Prey’s non-existent Pro implementation and its long loading times seems similar to Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, wherein the latter also did not have Pro specific modes or improvements and suffered from horrendous loading times. Is this a problem within the CryEngine then? We are not sure but there is a trend here and it will be interesting to analyze future CryEngine games on the PS4 Pro.