While using the action mode, Nioh presents resolutions including a full 1080p, 1728×972, 1665×940, 1472×828 and even 1280×720 in rare instances. In comparison, the movie mode sees a variation in resolution ranging from 2160p to 1800p down to 1440p. The variable movie mode even exhibits drops to 2304×1296 at points. This option also enables slightly higher resolution shadow maps, while the increased pixel count helps enhance texture filtering.
Our frame-rate analysis tools suggest only minor dips below 30fps in busy scenes, which is already a disappointment coming from the stable 60fps mode, but the real issue lies in the judder that manifests in this mode. Although frame-pacing is correct and the average frame-rate generally holds stable, there is an inherent stutter present in this mode that results in a jerky overall experience.
The variable movie mode suffers from this issue to an even greater degree with both an unstable frame-rate and lots of visible judder. In theory, we appreciate the inclusion of an uncapped, high-resolution mode but it just doesn’t feel very good to play in this mode.
When using the action mode, Nioh spends a lot of time at 720p mark but regularly jumps up to higher resolutions, such as 1600×900 or 1728×972. You can expect these higher resolutions when pointing the camera towards less complex scenery but on average, image quality is visibly less refined on the base system. For those demanding improved image quality, movie mode bumps the game up to 1080p at 30 frames per second. We still spotted the odd drop in image quality now and then but it’s 99 per cent locked at 1080p using this option.
What of the standard PlayStation 4 then? After all, this is likely how the majority of Nioh players will experience the game. Thankfully, in action mode, we see a level of performance very close to that of the PS4 Pro. A few additional dropped frames crop up in like-for-like scenarios but by and large, it feels like a steady 60fps. The sacrifice here stems from the lower average resolution which often hangs at 720p. Movie mode suffers from the judder issues that we encountered on the Pro but appears to stick to its 1080p resolution target.
About loading times in NIOH
Another aspect that is important to the Nioh experience are the loading times. You will lose your life often in Nioh but the time between dying and revival at the nearest shrine is ridiculously short for a game like this. Games such as Bloodborne and Dark Souls III could take upwards of 30 to 60 seconds but Nioh gets the job done in less than five seconds. The speed of loading helps keep you engaged in the action and willing to retry repeatedly.
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