Six months have passed since Cyberpunk 2077’s 1.5 Update – the milestone patch which finally added native support to current generation consoles – and it’s now six months. CD Projekt RED is not idle, however, the latest 1.6 ‘Edgerunners’ update arrived last week to tie in with the anime. While there are many new content features added, the main focus of this piece is the Xbox Series S performance mode. There are also optimizations to the PS5 Series X 30fps ray tracing modes. These are the areas where long-standing complaints about input lag have been addressed. We had two objectives when we started this project: to test Series S’s 60 frames per second mode and to measure the latency improvements on more powerful consoles.
Series S was limited to 30 frames per second at dynamic 1440p resolution. This dropped to 2304×1296 when dynamic scaling enabled. There was no mode toggle as on Series X and PS5 – so there wasn’t an option to choose between performance or quality. Series S did not have the option to use ray-traced Shadows, which was a further disappointment. Although patch 1.6 does not add RT features to the game, it does provide the ability to toggle between frame-rate and fidelity.
Today’s Quality mode for Series S works exactly as before the patch. It runs from around 1440p to about 1296p with a tight 30fps lock and consistent frame-pacing. Some settings will be affected by the new performance mode. We can see a range from 1080p peak to 800p below. This is most evident in areas where the game cannot maintain its 60fps target. CDPR’s engine uses TAA and reconstruction as well to generate a final resolve of 1080p.
It looks less soft than the 1440p quality modes, but it is still very strong. The increase in fluidity is a clear win. The only thing that can ruin the presentation is fine sub-pixel elements such as wire fences. TAA upscaling does not have enough data, which results in shimmering mesh, most noticeable in the outback. This is not an issue in the city.
First impressions are generally positive. Although image quality is affected, 60 frames per second is the default. However, in our stress testing scenarios and most other cases, the game performed reasonably well. Any performance drops that occur within the VRR window will be well contained. This update should be a good thing for Series S. Performance-wise, there is parity between Series X (PS5) and Series X (Series X), even though resolution may take a dip to 1080p or below.
Cyberpunk 2077 can be operated at 60fps with other compromises beyond resolution. Targeted drops in quality to shadows and textures are taken. Depending on the angle and distance to the object, interior lighting can show more pixellated edges. NPC counts have been reduced in the Series S performance mode. Crowd density has been significantly reduced. Similar things happen on Series X and PS5, with the GPU and CPU being less burdened by this change. This result is so good on Series S that you have to wonder what additional challenges CDPR had in reaching 60fps and why this feature took so much time.
Another area of focus for testing this patch is improvements in input lag in Series X/PS5 ray tracing modes. I recorded 50 shots with a handgun using a 240fps camera. The time between button presses and firing the weapon was measured. Series X’s average latency is 136ms on patch 1.6. This is still quite high, but it’s an improvement on patch 1.5’s 163ms latency. It’s a 27ms average reduction in input lag across all 50 measurements. The average time on PS5 was 135ms with patch 1.6, which is another 27-28ms improvement. This is a noticeable improvement on the older version. Performance mode is still a great option if you want the best experience. My Series X result was just 51ms. This is an amazing result.
The Edgerunners update is a great news story. While improving input lag in Series X RT mode on PS5 and Series X is welcome, the addition of 60fps for Series S is a great addition. It’s solid, and I feel that the sacrifices made to get it are fair. I am willing to accept the res drops, lower shadows, and lower NPCs. Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most technically demanding games out there, so the idea of a £250/$299 console delivering that experience at 60 frames per second is brilliant.
While work continues on the game, the Phantom Liberty expansion will be available next year. It is only available for PC and the current generation of consoles. The need to support older consoles was always a limitation of the game. There are high hopes that the game will continue pushing its technology forward without being hampered by older hardware.