Very recently, we talked about last-gen games that play best on current-gen hardware. We included eight games that we felt took advantage of the hardware and delivered higher resolution, frame rate, loading times, or features like raytracing. The fact is there are 100’s of games to choose from in this department as a lot of developers from all over the industry have put in a lot of extra work to make their games the definitive versions of what they are on the console using the extra horsepower of the PS5 and the Xbox Series X|S.
Talking about more than a hundred games would be very taxing, boring, and unnecessary, but giving you eight out of many isn’t fair either, so we return today with more games to talk about that utilize 9th-generation hardware and make 8th-generation games look and play even better. Not all upgrades across every game made are game changers, but increased frame rates and faster loading times are alone enough for a free upgrade at the same time; not all of them are free, so that’s something to contend with. The games we featured on our last list truly play better on current-gen consoles, so we hope to accomplish that goal again and give you eight more games that are incredible on current-gen consoles. Without any more delays, let’s take a look at them.
Control Ultimate Edition
The first game on our list is, unfortunately, not a free upgrade but a separate buy. At the same time, it’s a damn good game with a damn good upgrade, so it’s worth mentioning. Developed by Remedy, “Control” is an immaculate third-person shooter that tells an incredible and creepy SCP-inspired story taking place inside a building simply called “The Oldest House.” The game uses Remedy’s in-house engine, Northlight, and it looked fantastic on last-gen. Photorealistic character models and environmental design with destructible environments, physics, and a lot of particle effects. The catch here was that the game ran at 30 fps, and because of how stunning it was and how taxing it got, it struggled to maintain the 30 fps drop and constantly dropped frames on the PS4 and Xbox One.
Enter “Control Ultimate Edition,” the ninth-generation version of this game, which not only improved the frame rate problems but added a ton of improvements on its own. There are two modes to choose from, with quality mode running at a dynamic 4K resolution at 30 fps with ray tracing enabled, and the already incredible visuals were elevated all thanks to it. Ahti, the janitor of The Oldest House, must be doing a pretty good job, as the surfaces inside the building are incredibly shiny, and ray tracing takes full advantage of it. Reflections wherever you look, Jesse, the main character, reflected on windows and shiny surfaces alongside all the enemies and everything present in the environment. Raytracing added a layer that we didn’t know existed before, and the framerate was rock solid this time around, all thanks to the extra power. Thanks to ray tracing once again, the red glow that the hisses emanate looks even better and makes the atmosphere even more terrifying as you walk the halls of The Oldest House.
If you don’t care for the ray tracing part, don’t worry; the game also offers a performance mode that runs at 60 fps and is rock-solid as well. I struggled to pick what mode I wanted to play this game in, as 60 fps is always good, but the ray tracing here was fantastic. Solid upgrade that also comes packed with both of the game’s DLCs, “The Foundation ” and the fantastic tie-in to “Alan Wake “,“ the AWE “ expansion. I am not a fan of the fact that this upgrade isn’t free like other games, but at the same time, I am not mad at it because it’s really fantastic and well worth replaying the game.
A Plague Tale: Innocence
Asobo Studios recently delivered “A Plague Tale: Requiem,” and if you have played it, then you know how good that game is and how much of a visual showcase it is. What about the first game, though? “A Plague Tale: Innocence” was a surprising masterpiece when it came out and surprised everybody with its gripping story, tight stealth gameplay, and thousands of rats on screen. The game was already gorgeous as it was, but I guess that wasn’t enough for Asobo Studios, as they decided to upgrade it to the current-gen.
The game now runs at 1440p resolution at 60 fps on the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, and somehow it looks and plays even better thanks to it. The character models and the areas were already borderline photorealistic with tons of granular details and tons of rats, and thanks to this upgrade, all of that came to life even more. The lighting here also deserves a special mention, as fires and lights are some of the most important sources you interact with across the course of this game, and thanks to boosted resolutions, everything looks crisper and more vibrant. On the other hand, the addition of 60 fps makes the gameplay even smoother, and this game truly shines because of the extra work the developers put in. The difference may not be night and day here, but it really boosts everything up and makes this experience the definitive way to play “A Plague Tale: Innocence” on consoles.
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot
This entry is a bit of cheating, as the upgrade isn’t out yet, so bear with me on this. I could’ve skipped this and replaced it with something else, but what we have seen so far looks so promising that it earned a spot here. We have a review for “Dragon Ball Z Kakarot” here on our site, so feel free to check that out if you are interested. “Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot” is an open-world RPG that retells the entire DBZ story while at the same time being a fighting game that is very fun to play. The game looked good on last-gen, and the design and detail oozed Dragon Ball through and through, but it lacked one thing that stopped it from reaching its full potential.
It’s Dragon Ball, so you know you’ll be getting into a ton of crazy fights with lots of flashy moves being thrown around all over the screen. Wouldn’t that look and play better at 60 fps? Looks like CyberConnect2 heard that and is giving us a free next-gen patch for this game on January 14th, 2023, which will run the game at 4K resolution at 60fps, all the while upping the world detail, adding more foliage, and I feel like there’s some color corrections/enhancements made here as well as the game looks more vibrant. Better looking water, environment, reflections, character models, and effects, all of which will run at a buttery smooth 60 fps, await us when this upgrade comes out soon, and CyberConnect2 is also releasing a second season pass alongside it, which will deliver three new expansions starting with “Bardock Alone Against Fate.” It looks like the perfect time to re-download this game or jump into it for the first time if you haven’t already!
I have sunk more than 4000 hours into “Destiny 2,” and I am not proud of it, nor do I like talking about this game as, over all my years of gaming, I have never played a game as addictive as this, and quitting it was one of the hardest things I ever did. That doesn’t take away the fact of how beautiful and incredible the current-gen patch for this game is. Bungie nailed it out of the park and delivered “Destiny 2” to us, now running at 4K resolution at 60fps with a FOV Slider and Crucible(multiplayer) having the option to run the game at 120fps. Simply brilliant. I won’t be talking about the game too much here because of the mentioned reasons, but the experience between last-gen and current-gen here is truly poles apart and is as transformative as it can be. The worlds in this game were already gorgeous, but they look even better here thanks to all the upgrades made, and the lighting here is just “chef’s kiss.” If you are a fellow Guardian, then you know what “Destiny 2” is about, but I cannot recommend any new players to this game as it is a huge time and money sink with other issues I’d rather not mention. So, yes, the upgrade is phenomenal, and the game looks all the better for it, so check it out if you are a regular, and if you are new, please stay away and save yourselves before it is too late.
We have a review for “Metro Exodus” on the site, so feel free to check that out, and let me say this at the very beginning, this is the best upgrade I have ever seen. It truly transforms the game into something else and makes it look “next-gen.” 4A Games are some of the most talented and hardworking developers in the industry, and they went many extra miles for this upgrade. “Metro Exodus” is a first-person story-driven shooter that was already a gorgeous game with incredible graphics and sound design, but it is on another level on current-gen systems.
The game now runs at a dynamic 4K resolution at 60 fps with ray tracing GI and AO on. This is some technical wizardry here, as developer 4A Games accomplished something here that many would deem impossible on consoles. The game not only looks better with incredible lighting and texturing but plays even smoother at 60 fps, and despite using so many technologies that are very taxing on the hardware, it runs without a hitch. God knows how many hours they put in to optimize this game so it may run flawlessly on consoles, all the while boasting such a massive feature set.
Raytracing and HDR work in tandem here to deliver light, darkness, and colors as accurately as possible, giving the image a sense of believability with how natural everything looks. The game also uses 3D audio and Dolby Atmos, which transform the audio experience as well. I know I say this every time, but I can’t help it. Go and play “Metro Exodus.” This game is something else, and the team behind it has all my love and support for the toils and troubles they went through to deliver us games that I’ll remember for years to come. Massive kudos and respect here.
I don’t care what anyone says; “Biomutant” is not an average game; it’s a good and incredibly ambitious game. Period. On last-gen, the game had good visuals and visual variety, to begin with, with a ton of color and vibrancy and a lot of environmental details. There were bugs to contend with, and the audio had issues, but visually, this game was always a treat.
With the current-gen upgrade, Experiment 101 gave us three modes to choose from and added HDR support and faster loading times on top of it. First, you have the quality mode, which runs the game at dynamic 4K resolution at 30 fps. This makes everything look incredibly crisp, and the framerate, though at 30 fps, is solid and doesn’t waver. Second, we have the performance mode, which runs the game at 1440p at 60 fps. You lose some of that crispness due to the lower resolution, but the frame rate makes up for that compromise, as it is rock-solid and doesn’t drop that much. Finally, we have the quality unleashed mode, which is an interesting one; it runs the game at Dynamic 4K and targets up to 60fps, the best of both worlds in a way. Yes and no, as neither the resolution nor the frame rate is solid here. It’s not bad, but it’s not the preferred way to play this game, so try it, and if you like it, then fine, but if not, either stick to a higher resolution or higher framerate based on your preference.
“Biomutant” isn’t perfect, but this open-world, third-person action RPG is one of the most creative games that have come out in recent years. There are a ton of things to see and do here, with fun combat in a very colorful and vibrant world. Check it out if you haven’t, and play the current-gen version if you can, as it’s the best way to experience “Biomutant” on consoles.
We have a review for “DOOM Eternal ” on our site, and let me keep this one short and sweet because this game needs no explanation, nor do its upgrades. A 4K 60fps mode and two other modes that run at lower resolutions but offer raytracing or 120fps gameplay. It’s an already gorgeous and fast game that has become even more beautiful and faster thanks to these upgrades. I, or anyone for that matter, don’t need to tell you how badass “DOOM Eternal ” is, so do yourself a favor and play this masterpiece if you haven’t somehow.
Finally, we have “Hitman 3,” the finale of the world of assassination trilogy, which gives us control of Agent 47 once again to go and murder our targets across various locations around the globe. Each game in this trilogy looked good when it came out, but “Hitman 3” looks just phenomenal. This is one of the cleanest games I have ever seen in my life, with stunning visuals and rendering techniques. The last-gen versions look good, but this game shines on current-gen as it runs at native 4K resolution at a rock-solid 60 fps. There’s not a lot to say about this game, but if you wish to learn more, feel free to check out our review for “Hitman 3” here on our site. This is an incredible game that looks equally good on current-gen systems, which is the best way to play this game if you are on consoles.
I felt like including a bonus game here, which is Don’t Nod’s fantastic RPG called “Vampyr.” It’s a third-person open-world game where you take control of Dr. Jonathan Reed, who has turned into a vampire and wakes up in a mass grave in the city of London, where he must find a way to cure the people of a plague, all the while following the Hippocratic Oath and fighting his new vampire instincts and not killing anyone for their blood. There’s a lot to this game that we’ll discuss sometime in the future. I wanted to include this because it’s one of the most underrated games I have ever played and is a very good experience, so it was surprising to see this one getting a free current-gen patch out of nowhere. If you play this on Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5, you’ll get 1440p resolution at a rock-solid 60 fps, and yes, it looks and plays brilliantly. Check out this hidden gem!
That’s been a handful of more last-gen games that run and play best on current-gen. As mentioned, there are a ton more, but I think you get the idea now of how these improvements work at this point. The games we have featured here are some of the best examples of how boosted resolutions, framerates, or both, in some cases, alongside upgrades like raytracing or faster loading times, change the experience for these games. I personally wish for more games to get these upgrades, as this is a fantastic way of preserving games, and some of my favorites, like “Watch_Dogs 2” and “Batman Arkham Knight,” among a few others, can benefit from these upgrades. Maybe we’ll get them someday; who knows? But until that day comes, there are tons of games that’ll keep us occupied, so no worries! What are some of your favorite games that run best on current-gen hardware? Happy holidays, gamers, and as always, see you at the next one!