Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is out now. Although it fell short of our expectations thanks to the lack of a single-player campaign, high price tag, and obscene day one patch size, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will have its takers due to its slick gunplay and game modes like Blackout, Zombies, and multiplayer. While our Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review was based on the Xbox One X version, we've spent some time playing it on the PS4, PS4 Pro, and Xbox One S as well. So if you're wondering what console to but it for, we have you covered.
From a visual standpoint, you can tell that developer Treyarch created Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 with the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro in mind. The game looks great on both consoles with detailed environments, be it the sprawling fields of the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout map or the tight quarters of the Titanic in gory Zombies mode gunplay. Of the two, visuals on the Xbox One X seemed a bit crisper, possibly due to it outputting at a higher resolution. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 looks fantastic on either console. You really can't go wrong with the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One X.
Between the Xbox One S and PS4, the differences are a bit more pronounced. There's an odd shimmering effect on buildings and trees on Microsoft's less powerful console and it looks consistently worse compared to the relatively sharp graphics of the "regular" PS4. Details like foliage and sun rays are a tad blurrier while character models such as Specialists in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's multiplayer and enemies in Zombies mode appear pixelated at times on the Xbox One S as compared to the PS4. Certain elements like grass loads up are visible on the Xbox One S only as you get closer. All of this makes the standard PS4 a happy compromise if you have to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on a budget.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 frame rate PS4 vs PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S vs Xbox One X
Traditionally, Call of Duty games have maintained 60 frames per second. It's one of the franchise's major differentiators as you're guaranteed a responsive experience on all consoles. With Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 this appears to be true on PS4, Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, and Xbox One X in both multiplayer and Zombies modes with smooth gameplay through and through. Though in the case of the PS4 and Xbox One S, we spotted occasional image tearing to keep a steady frame rate.
During Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout, however, things appeared a bit different. The standard consoles exhibited visible slow down in busier sections of play and it was evident on the Xbox One S more often than on the PS4. Neither version got to the point of unplayable but they did falter often enough to make us want to go back to the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. And before you ask, both high-end options felt fluid with no noticeable trade-off in visuals in Blackout.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 PSN versus Xbox Live
With a large part of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's appeal being in online play, it made sense to pit one online service against the other. Connecting to a multiplayer match was equally fast on both PSN or Xbox Live but that's where the similarities ended. It was much easier to find matches for Zombies and Blackout on the PS4 and PS4 Pro via Sony's PlayStation Network as compared the Xbox One S and Xbox One X with Xbox Live. Getting into both of these modes took a whole lot longer on Xbox Live too.
We tried playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 tethered to a 4G/LTE connection on our smartphones, and a 50Mbps broadband connection, and the result was the same, with sluggish matchmaking, and server connection errors on Xbox Live. Although your mileage may vary and this could better with time, it's something to keep in mind before choosing which platform to go with.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 exclusives PS4 vs Xbox One
Thanks to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 publisher Activision's exclusive marketing deal with Sony, PS4 and PS4 Pro owners get limited time events, new playable characters known as Specialists for multiplayer, the fan-favourite Nuketown map, and what's being referred to as "map updates, expansions and new Blackout modes" for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle royale mode. Are they worth shifting over to Sony's camp for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4? No.
You see, it's exclusive to the PS4 for just seven days before coming to Xbox One. There isn't anything that's critical to the experience that Xbox One owners are being locked out of. So if you're playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on the Xbox One, rest easy, because you aren't missing much in terms of content.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 PS4 vs PS4 Pro vs Xbox One vs Xbox One X - what to buy it on?
From a graphics standpoint, the Xbox One X version is the best looking version of it, but not by much as the PS4 Pro, while underpowered in terms of pure specifications, manages to put up an almost identical showing, just not as sharp as what it is on the Xbox One X. Although the easiest entry point into Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is with the regular PS4, in part due to available bundles that bring the overall cost down if you don't own a console yet and the overall stability of PSN in this case gives Sony's box a slight edge. And while this might change with a patch or two from Treyarch, the PS4 and PS4 Pro are the way to go for now.
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