PlayStation 5 backwards compatibility tested – and it's fantastic

It’s one of the most crucial components of the PlayStation 5 experience – and yet right up until today’s review embargo, we knew so little about it. Just how good is the backwards compatibility feature in the new console? Are we getting the same experience on legacy titles, including their performance limitations? Or is the news more positive: does PlayStation 5 mirror Xbox Series X’s remarkable ability to dramatically improve existing games? Today, the mystery is finally solved and there’s good news: PlayStation 5 backwards compatibility is excellent.

While there’s the sense that it is a little rough around the edges in some scenarios and doesn’t enjoy the full range of bonus extras Microsoft lavishes on Series X, PlayStation 5 has got it where it counts. If a game runs with an unlocked frame-rate or has the option to disengage a 30fps cap, you get the same transformative experience that you get on Xbox Series X. In fact, for reasons we’ll go into later, the performance multiplier is actually higher when stacking up PS5 vs PS4 Pro against Series X vs One X. On top of that, there’s the same revelatory increase in CPU performance too, meaning that the often lacklustre ‘high frame-rate’ modes seen in many PS4 Pro games now all lock to 60 frames per second.

All of this doesn’t factor in that Sony has started to roll out specific PlayStation 5 patches for key first-party titles. We’ll be looking at those more closely in future, but the headlines are simple enough: Sucker Punch’s impressive Ghost of Tsushima now runs nigh-on flawlessly at 60 frames per second on PlayStation 5 – and it’s simply brilliant. Equally as transformative is the PS5 patch for Bend Studio’s Days Gone: again, it’s a beautifully slick 60 frames per second. Surely it’s only a matter of time before The Last of Us Part 2 sees a similar upgrade?

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