Last week, we watched exclusively the PlayStation 5 version of Marvel’s Avengers for PlayStation 5, but the Xbox series code – difficult to provide in advance due to Smart Delivery complications – was not available. So how have developers Crystal Dynamics and Nixxes handled the port for both Series X and Series S consoles? The results are in, and we are looking at a game that exemplifies what we have referred to as the ‘post resolution era’ – where raw pixel counting is only one component of the game̵
In terms of the overall layout that Marvel’s Avengers offers on Xbox series consoles, it’s about the same as the PlayStation 5 in terms of delivering quality and performance mode. Series X’s quality mode is essentially the same as the PS5: compared to the latest generation consoles, users get higher resolution screen space reflections, more destruction, better water reproduction, higher resolution textures and all the other improvements previously described. It targets native 4K renderings with less dynamic resolution tweakery depending on content. Serie S? Quality mode is about the same again with a 1440p target, but lacks some visual features, including the higher resolution texture package that the PS5 and Series X enjoy. 30fps is basically a lock on all systems in this mode.
Performance mode is what sets the package apart, with the Series S operating in a ballpark 720p to 1080p window and hitting 60 fps, with additional visual cuts such as reduced leaf density, darker texture filtering and lower resolution particle effects. But it’s the PS5 vs Series X differences that are most fascinating – both are aimed at a 4K screen output, but the PS5 uses grid reproduction while the Series X becomes natural. What this means is that the Sony platform can solve higher number of pixels in similar content thanks to the clipboard solution, but for various reasons, the Series X provides a sharper image. Both still use dynamic resolution scaling, with Series X working with a generally wider DRS window. Due to the chessboard solution, the PS5’s user interface is also scaled with resolution, which looks strange.
The thing is, the makeup of the presentation is a little more complicated. The PS5 has elements after the process that work with a much lower resolution – and Avengers is a heavy game after the process. Components such as motion sharpness and depth of field are affected, and look noticeably blockier than Xbox equivalents. Texture resolution may also be affected in some scenarios, where it appears that chessboard rendering may not play as well with dynamic resolution scaling as the original Xbox equivalent. All in all, the PlayStation 5 in performance mode has more obvious image quality licenses that become clearer as the effects work up.
We have not talked specifically about the number of pixels beyond general DRS intervals here, because the resolution may seem ideally higher on PS5, but other aspects of the presentation take precedence. Essentially, the game is clearer on Series X in performance mode due to these differences in how the resolution is composed and how finishing is delivered – although the Xbox Series X can technically run with a lower output resolution as judged by pixel counting.
When we switch to performance in 60 frames per second mode, there is very little that separates the three systems. All of them still have noticeable strains on camera cuts during cutting scenes, and generally work in much the same way with very similar results. PlayStation 5 can hold 60fps a little tighter than Xbox consoles during intense destruction – presumably due to more overhead from the chessboard rendering solution – but the actual drops in performance on the Microsoft platform are minimal and barely noticeable. All three consoles run very smoothly. I was also impressed with the improvements in load time. Nixxes has taken advantage of the storage APIs on both PlayStation and Xbox Series systems, with night and day improvements over the latest generation systems.
A load segment that took over a minute on the PS4 Pro resolves in four seconds on the PlayStation 5 and rises to around six seconds on the Series X. This is where the notion of percentage differences in performance goes against the actual experience – yes, Xbox series consoles take 50 percent longer to complete a load than PlayStation 5, but when the difference is only two seconds, the difference in the user experience is not very noticeable. Marvel’s Avengers is possibly our first real look at the true generational leap stored in the new machines from Sony and Microsoft, and none of them disappoint.
All in all, I’m impressed with the work that Nixxes has delivered in that you get a proper upgrade over the latest generation of improved consoles and a night and day lift in all areas up to vanilla equivalents. However, the two approaches the developer has chosen to render the performance mode absolutely very different results. The Xbox Series X looks clearer and cleaner, a situation that is only offset by variations in performance that barely detect. In the end, Foundation Engine has never looked better – and it’s great to see significant time and effort invested in these PS5 and Xbox series conversions.