By Michael Thompson
Forbidden West’s resolution on the PS4 tops out at 1920x1080, but that’s not the whole story as it appears to use checkerboarding or other reconstruction techniques to hit even that level. This results in some half pixel width counts, i.e. 960 and even a reduced 900p height at times – although this may be a drawback of any reconstruction technique similar to checkboarding as well, which are almost impossible to decipher from the outside in.
Forbidden West on PS4 Pro looks like a more refined version of the PS4 version, pretty much as expected, offering the sharper and cleaner image quality as it now renders at an increased 3200x1800. While better, that’s notably still a reduction from the 3840x2160 checkerboard resolution of Zero Dawn, and it likely relies on that checkerboard method to achieve its sharp and clean final output. Regardless, the Pro’s improvement is substantial and resolves many of the issues that crop up in the PS4 output.
The PS5 uses its phenomenal power hike to offer two options: the first is native 4K via its 30fps resolution mode, which is clearly the sharpest and most visually impressive of all the options and resolves any image quality issues with a sharp and stable picture that generally blurs the lines between offline (pre-rendered) and real-time rendering. If you want 60fps, as many Horizon fans might now be used to after the Zero Dawn backwards compatibility patch last year, then the performance mode has you covered. The cost of that increased frame rate is that Forbidden West reverts to a checkerboard output like the Pro, still at 3200x1800p but now resolved via this temporally accumulated method. Moving in the larger open world it also appears to be using a dynamic solution, with a low of 2880x1620 noted in dense views. The drop in pixel clarity is very minor but can be seen in areas of the screen with lots of movement, especially within certain textures, thin foliage, reflective surfaces, and post-processing effects such as screen space reflections. That said, the doubling of the framerate more than makes up for this loss, and within a minute or so the resolution difference becomes less noticeable.