Warzone 2.0 Crossplay: Are Last-Gen Console Players Competitively Disadvantaged?

With the Warzone 2.0 servers live for a few weeks now, it’s clear that the PS5, Xbox Series X and Series S are running the game brilliantly at 60fps – or even 120fps. But what about the older consoles, the millions of PS4s and Xbox Ones still in use? And what about the expanded consoles PS4 Pro and Xbox One X? To find out if any of these last-gen options are competitive with current-gen consoles and PCs in terms of frame rate or settings, we returned to Al Mazrah for more testing.

Let’s start with the base PS4. This console is surprisingly well optimized for both campaign and 6v6 multiplayer, more or less fixed at 1080p at 60fps. Warzone 2.0 though? Unfortunately that is a different story. 60fps is possible while on a plane or during 2v2 Gulag matches, but when you’re out in the world frame drops are inevitable and texture pop-ins are hard to ignore. Frame rates of 40-60 fps are common, and these drop to the 30s during the most hectic moments of combat.

Here is the full overview of last gen Warzone 2.0 in video format.

This is true despite resolution drops on both the horizontal and vertical axes, at 960 x 540 lowest and upscaled to 1080p with TAA; in campaign resolution, scaling only affected horizontal access. The lack of definition makes it difficult to pick distant players and ensures those on PS4 are at a disadvantage.

We’d expect even worse results on Xbox One, as this is the most power-constrained console of the last generation and isn’t likely to be a leading platform for development efforts. And indeed we see a lower 900p resolution target scaled down from a minimum of 800 x 450, resulting in a muddy image. However, settings like shadows, textures and foliage density remain the same as on PS4, suggesting there aren’t any bespoke Xbox One settings that are “less than low”.



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Here’s a first look at the performance – which is anything but a locked 60fps on most last-gen platforms.

The lower resolution means that shimmering on grass and noise is more noticeable when working with fine textures, nor does it prevent some pretty heavy texture pop-ins from occurring. Oddly enough, the Xbox One also suffered from audio issues in my testing, with certain channels of the mix – music, environmental effects – dropping out completely for a few seconds before the world fully loaded. Framerates are exceptionally poor too, averaging 10fps lower than the PS4 version, so 30-50fps is the norm, complete with tearing at the top of the screen – something I also spotted on Xbox One X.

The low frame rate, in turn, has a negative impact on the input latency. There is a noticeable delay in turning, shooting, or picking up weapons, which is a definite disadvantage compared to enemies on any other platform. So Warzone 2.0 runs on Xbox One in the broadest sense of the word – and is best avoided if you have alternatives. (In related news, the Series S recently dropped to ~£190 and would offer a sterling upgrade over the original Xbox One.)

The two premium consoles One X and PS4 Pro perform significantly better. PS4 Pro runs the game at a smooth 50-60 fps at dynamic 1512p, typically scaled to 1536 x 1512 on the horizontal axis. This isn’t a locked 60 fps, but it’s surprisingly close. Xbox One X, on the other hand, aims for a full 4K picture and drops to 1080p, but this relatively steep target resolution can cause framerate drops on PS4 Pro and even PS4 in some leafy scenes.


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PlayStation 4 Pro

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All four last gen versions compared to the spectator camera. In terms of resolutions, Xbox One aims for 900p, PS4 guns for 1080p, PS4 Pro for 1512p and Xbox One X for full 4K – although dynamic scaling pushes all those pixel counts much lower, sometimes significantly.

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The image quality visibly separates the four machines of the last generation. Also, SSR quality has been improved on the newer Pro and One X models, although core world details are largely the same.

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PlayStation 4 Pro

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Texture quality is identical across the board. However, both the base PS4 and Xbox One have trouble loading texture assets, resulting in pop-ins. This will leave a blurry substitute texture map in place for a few seconds. Also note the difference in grass pull over ground that favors the Pro and One X.

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A bonus shot of reflections. Honestly, up close, the SSR is similar between all four machines.

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Looking at a four-way comparison, Al Mazrah’s geometric layout is identical across last-gen consoles, while shadow detail and grass streak distance are also relatively close. The biggest dividing factor is resolution, with the One X far ahead in image sharpness and the Xbox One far behind. However, PS4 Pro is the most balanced option, closest to delivering 60 fps.

A final point concerns the field of view (FOV) adjustment in the PS4 version. The default setting of 80° is pretty narrow, so going wider will result in performance degradation? Based on two tests comparing 80° and 120° settings, yes – but it depends. We noticed a minor 1fps drop in a less challenging scene, but a relatively variable ~5fps drop when looking at the intruding gas. So for the best framerate it’s advisable to stick to the narrow default FOV, but overpowered consoles can go up to 120° without significant ill effects – so this might be a better reputation for the current-gen consoles and PC.

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Looking at all four Xbox consoles, it’s clear to see the bandwidth at which Warzone 2.0 is rendered on a Microsoft platform. The X/S Series maintains a locked 60fps while also boasting greater grass density and longer grass draw distances. Interestingly, however, picture quality isn’t as sharp on the Series S as it was on the older One X.

With these tests behind us, the scalability of the IW Engine is (as always) hugely impressive. The fact that we see such a range of machines with different specs outputting the same world is truly remarkable. But there’s a feeling that its true potential is anchored in the past – especially with the Xbox One trying to keep up.

The bottom line? Warzone 2.0 does not hide Infinity Ward’s intentions. It’s capitalized in the sub-40fps drops on Xbox One and the texture pop-in that’s even afflicting PS4. It’s a project that moves away from a last-gen focus to create the optimal experience for the PS5 and Series X/S. It also speaks to the future of the Call of Duty series, which is rumored to not have a major release in 2023. Warzone 2.0, meanwhile, will overtake fans of the series as a major cross-platform, cross-gen effort. After this? Who knows, but I hope we see unabashedly next-gen Call of Duty in 2024.

Download at: https://www.eurogamer.net/digitalfoundry-2022-warzone-20-tested-on-all-last-gen-consoles

Fry Electronics Team

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