What's the Point of Frame Rate Mode?

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#1 Posted by xanadu (2034 posts) -

***ELITIST PC USER FRAME RATE RANT INCOMING***

I've been playing God of War on my PS4 Pro recently. I am still somewhat early on but I am thoroughly enjoying my play through so far. The presentation of the game is also second to none. At first when I heard about the game being one camera shot with no loading, I was worried the game might not have a cinematic presentation without camera cuts. I was definitely wrong and the cut scenes have been very engaging. Most of the time I forget that the whole game really is one camera shot. Anyways...onto the actual point of this thread.

I legitimately do not understand why developers choose to have frame rate mode as an option. I also dont understand why people would prefer it. Now, I play a lot of games on PC, I love me some 60fps. I wish I could play almost every game in 60fps (even at the expense of lesser graphical fidelity on consoles). But the problem is, frame rate mode never means 60fps. Unless I'm mistaken, it seems to me that frame rate mode usually just means: game running at 1080p with unlocked frame rate. This creates a fluctuating FPS that is constantly going up and down. As a frame rate snob, I don't just want more frames. I want a CONSISTENT frame rate. Either have the game run at a mostly locked in 30fps or a mostly locked 60fps. As long as the frame rate is consistent, I am totally fine with 30fps. It is when the frame rate is constantly jumping up and down between 30 and 60 is where I have a problem. Unfortunately, this is what frame rate mode always means in every game that has this feature, not just God of War. Final Fantasy XV and Horizon Zero dawn do the same exact thing. You can choose 4k checker board scaling at a pretty consistent 30fps or a 1080p signal with a constantly fluctuating frame rate, usually hovering around 40ish fps. To me the choice is clear every time, pick the prettier option with the consistent frame rate. One of the only games that I know which truly does 60fps is Everybody's Golf...and they actually call this mode 60hz mode and not frame rate mode. It seems Infamous: Second Son is also much, much closer to running at a consistent 60 but I believe you need to have the frame rate unlocked in the settings as well as have the PS4 Pro running in boost mode. In the case of God War: I started the game in resolution mode but switched to frame rate mode when you first get control of the camera. I was actually surprised, I am not a cyborg and can not read frames per seconds with my eyes but it felt really smooth. It also seemed to be pretty consistent. However, I moved onto the next area and immediately saw/felt a frame rate dip. I then switched back to resolution mode and haven't touched that setting since. All in all, I just dont understand why people prefer this mode.

Am I completely wrong here? Do others share my frustration with frame rate mode? This statement is completely coming out of my ass and I am by no means a game dev: but it feels like all they do is force the game to run at 1080p and unlock the frame rate in their engine console. I really wish they had time to really turn down assets and graphical features to make it a true 60fps. But I have to imagine that me and everyone else who cares about fps this much is an extreme minority. Ultimately, we are never going to be worth the devs time since most of their audience straight up doesn't care or is even aware of the frame rate.

***END ELITIST PC USER FRAME RATE RANT***

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#3 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

I agree that unlocking the framerate isn't a great solution, at least until TVs and consoles support variable framerates. For me a large part of higher framerates is latency though for me though so even if the framerate isn't consistent if it feels more responsive I'd probably take the framerate option.

Options are good, but it would be nice if the game was more consistent in its implementation.

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#4 Edited by ThePanzini (727 posts) -

I think every console game should have unlocked framerate option and dynamic resolution upto 4K even if the games never touch either, it would future proof for when better hardware comes along as we've seen with the Pro/1X and likely see again next gen. And also not counting alot of folks aren't bothered with variable framerates, but any game with Pro support means boost mode doesn't/won't do anything.

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#5 Posted by imhungry (1111 posts) -

I don't own a Pro but if it actually works the way you describe then I agree with you 100%.

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#6 Posted by Neurogia (145 posts) -

Either keep the game a consistent 30 or 60 fps.

Variable frame rates are the biggest downside of the PS4 Pro.

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#7 Edited by ll_Exile_ll (3014 posts) -

@opusofthemagnum said:

I agree that unlocking the framerate isn't a great solution, at least until TVs and consoles support variable framerates. For me a large part of higher framerates is latency though for me though so even if the framerate isn't consistent if it feels more responsive I'd probably take the framerate option.

Options are good, but it would be nice if the game was more consistent in its implementation.

The Xbox One X is actually compatible with Freesync monitors, and there are some TVs being announced with freesync as well, so variable framerate support on consoles is starting to be more of a thing.

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#8 Posted by OurSin_360 (6137 posts) -

Once freesync is standard it will probably be the best option, for now if they could keep the fps between 45 and 50 IMO it's better than capped 30. If it's dropping more than 5 frames at a time the judder is too much , even if they cap it at 45 it would be worth it IMO.

Watching the digital foundry when the game runs at 60 in the unlocked mode it looks amazing, too bad it seems it's only in quiet scenes with nothing happening.

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#9 Posted by nutter (1981 posts) -

Give me 60fps locked. If you can’t lock it at 60, lock it at 30 and squeeze in all the extra pretties you can.

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#10 Edited by LeStephan (1214 posts) -

I agree, consistency is the most important thing for me too when it comes to framerate.

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#11 Posted by AlisterCat (8069 posts) -

I think it's just so that they can say it has a framerate mode. The PS4 Pro support for this game is very poor.

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#12 Posted by Ares42 (4315 posts) -

Growing up on PC gaming I actually feel quite the opposite. I'm used to variable framerates, most of the games I've spent an inordinate amount of time with (on PC) had variable framerates. I pick framerate mode in games with the hopes that when the resolution mode would buckle framerate mode still manages to hold a decent FPS.

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#13 Posted by Slaegar (900 posts) -

@nutter said:

Give me 60fps locked. If you can’t lock it at 60, lock it at 30 and squeeze in all the extra pretties you can.

As a PC 60fps goof myself; I am pretty conflicted, but in the end of the day I'll take a solid 30 fps over a 31-59 fps that jutters and tears unless I need all the game refresh I can get. I will sometimes settle for 30 fps if the game looks super pretty and that's why I am there; I played some of The Witcher 2 like that.

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#14 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4245 posts) -

oh wow. I thought framerate modes were done to tune the visuals down to attain a stable 60 fps, while pretty modes were about tuning all the visuals up & play at 30 fps. Didn't know that they just let the FPS fluctuate at the framerate mode. That seems shitty. A fluctuating framerate doesn't scream 'performance' mode to me.

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#15 Posted by WheresDerrick (326 posts) -

I can't stand 30FPS anymore after using my 144hz monitors for a while, but I can tolerate 60.

However I can't tell when/if the framerate is fluctuating between 30 and 60, so an unlocked framerate is preferable to me.

Locked 30fps is unbearable.

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#16 Posted by LiquidPrince (17073 posts) -

Having an unlocked framerate future proofs the game. Whenever the next version of the PS4 Pro comes out with more power, or when the PS5 comes out and has backwards compatibility, the games will be able to hit 60 FPS just by turning on that setting without having to patch older games.

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#17 Edited by rethla (3725 posts) -

I dont understand how anyone would play with anything but the framerate mode. Its unplayable FPS on "favor resolution" and the difference between 1080p and the fake 4k is not noticeable.

edit: I usually play 144hz on the PC but i have no problem with GoWs variable ~50hz, the favor resolution hurts my eyes though. Also there just no way the favor resolution manages a consistent 30fps, it dips just as much as the framerate mode if not even more.

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#18 Edited by rethla (3725 posts) -

@liquidprince said:

Having an unlocked framerate future proofs the game. Whenever the next version of the PS4 Pro comes out with more power, or when the PS5 comes out and has backwards compatibility, the games will be able to hit 60 FPS just by turning on that setting without having to patch older games.

Patching old games? Ahh... you must mean remaster old games.

All old GoW games got locked 60fps remasters so no doubt this one will have it aswell.

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#19 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@ll_exile_ll: until it becomes ubiquitous however it will probably be very rare. Most console games use vsync, framerate locks, etc that negate or reduce the impact of that stuff. The Xbox can output that stuff but games have to as well, and tbe console probably needs some sort of system level control that unlocks framerates for freesync users that want to see it.

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#20 Posted by Bollard (8151 posts) -

Monster Hunter does the same thing, but for me the framerate mode is the only way to play that game. Yeah it's just 1080p with an unlocked framerate, but the 4k checkerboard mode actually runs at sub 30 and fluctuates a ton too, which looks way worse than something fluctuating at ~40 fps. Both stink, but the Resolution mode in MonHun is horrendous.

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#21 Edited by VoshiNova (2406 posts) -

Is there a list or something that clearly defines what games benefit from PS4 Pro's extra power and what impact those unlocked framerate/boost mode things do.

What I mean is, does Sony actually define what your getting from title to title? I read "Boost Mode" in there and that sounds like some bullshit.

I don't have a PS4, and I'm honestly just curious as to what has been clearly laid out. Well shit I'll just google it.

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#22 Posted by xanadu (2034 posts) -

@voshinova: boost mode allows older ps4 games that don't have pro support run at the pros full power. It helps gain additional fps in games like bloodborne

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#23 Posted by CrazyBagMan (1644 posts) -

This game looks great in framerate mode to me. Oh well.

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#24 Edited by frytup (1261 posts) -
@rethla said:

I dont understand how anyone would play with anything but the framerate mode. Its unplayable FPS on "favor resolution" and the difference between 1080p and the fake 4k is not noticeable.

edit: I usually play 144hz on the PC but i have no problem with GoWs variable ~50hz, the favor resolution hurts my eyes though. Also there just no way the favor resolution manages a consistent 30fps, it dips just as much as the framerate mode if not even more.

Resolution mode isn't quite perfect, but it's close enough to consistent 30fps that I doubt an actual human being would notice. I very much do notice the the instability of frame rate mode, on the other hand.

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#25 Edited by TechnoSyndrome (1610 posts) -

Yeah I've never understood this either. 30 FPS sucks, but a locked 30 is way better than a framerate that's bumping all over the place and very rarely (if ever) actually 60. My only guess is these kinds of modes are put in to future proof games for more powerful hardware down the line that can actually manage 60. I think there's some Xbone games that can run at a nice consistent 60fps on the X.

60 FPS is a large part of why I primarily play games on PC though, and it sucks when the occasional exclusive like Breath of the Wild or Yakuza 6 rolls around and I'm stuck playing at 30fps.

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#26 Posted by AcidBrandon18 (1380 posts) -

I always pick resolution over framerate. I have a 4K TV and I'm going to use it. God of War runs perfectly fine in High resolution.

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#27 Posted by FrostyRyan (2909 posts) -

You should check out Shadow of the Colossus's framerate mode. It's probably the most consistent one of these. fluctuates between 50 and 60. Only dips when there's a bunch of action of course. THAT game's framerate mode is good. I'm currently doing my second playthrough with it.

Can't say I share your actual frustration though. It's just an option. Don't like it, don't use it. You have a choice. Some people might prefer the framerate mode even if it's as flawed as god of war's

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#28 Posted by TuxedoCruise (248 posts) -

I prefer the uncapped framerate mode.

Yes, it does fluctuate quite often, but I get used to the fluctuations after a while, and they become predictable for them to no longer be jarring. I know I will get between 40-45 FPS during combat phases, and 50-60 during quiet, exploration moments. I've rarely had moments of 30 FPS dips, they happen infrequent enough for it not to become bothersome.

Framerate is an important gameplay necessity to me; it conveys visual information and provides visual feedback from my inputs. The more often I can get that information, the overall better my gameplay experience is. But again, it only helps when I can anticipate framerate fluctuations, and I can in most games on the framerate mode.

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#29 Posted by handlas (3388 posts) -

How can you even play in the resolution mode? There's like a prominent 1-2 second delay on button presses compared to framerate mode.

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#30 Posted by AcidBrandon18 (1380 posts) -

@handlas: I haven't noticed any latency issues and have been thoroughly enjoying the game.

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#31 Posted by frytup (1261 posts) -

Me either. I've got my TV on game mode in this case, so that probably helps.

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#32 Posted by Jeroenske (8 posts) -

I prefer framerate mode by a mile. Yes it's not perfect but much smoother overall and a lot more responsive.

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#33 Edited by tatsuyarr (244 posts) -

I play in framerate mode because I've only got a 1080p TV and I really don't know what people are talking about when they say the framerate is all over the place. It looks consistent. Before reading this I even thought it was constant 60fps. Are people really seeing a difference ? I'm not judging, just asking because maybe I'm blind but I'm unable to tell the difference.

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#34 Posted by frytup (1261 posts) -

I play in framerate mode because I've only got a 1080p TV and I really don't know what people are talking about when they say the framerate is all over the place. It looks consistent. Before reading this I even thought it was constant 60fps. Are people really seeing a difference ? I'm not judging, just asking because maybe I'm blind but I'm unable to tell the difference.

I notice the frame rate dips during busy scenes with heavy movement. Whether consistent 30 bothers you more than fluctuating 45-60 is entirely subjective and I imagine a lot of people are like you and don't notice. By the way, the Pro will do supersampling with locked 30fps in resolution mode on a 1080p TV. You can try it yourself and decide which you like best.

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#35 Edited by totsboy (493 posts) -

I started playing in performance mode, which is what I go for most of the time, and now decided to give resolution mode a try.

It's pretty bad, the low framerate hurts the fluidity of the game a lot, and I see some artifacts around Kratos (more noticeable on the head). Also a noticeable input lag. And to be honest, I can't notice the improvement, despite me having a very good 4K tv.

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#36 Posted by Finstern (791 posts) -

I started playing in 4K mode at midnight and the performance was just dreadful when fight scenes would really pick up, to the point where I started feeling like I was doing badly because of missed frames. I was also getting weird lag spikes just wandering around.

Once I hit the lake I went for framerate and didn't look back. Usually I don't mind a 30 fps game but that was taking the cake.

I haven't tried 4K mode since and I hear the patches fixed some performance issues but I've already finished it and I'm not likely to play again anytime soon.

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#37 Edited by OurSin_360 (6137 posts) -

I think locked 30 depends on 2 things, motion blur and using 30hz on the television(I believe most console games do this under the hood). If either of those things are missing 30fps can be a choppy mess. For example i would rather play ac orogins on pc at 50-60fps than lock it at 4k30 because it feels slow and choppy. They have the 30hz option which helps but no motion blur. I drop as low as 45fps for quick seconds because the pc port isnt great, but it still feels better than locking it to 30. On the other hand uncharted 4 felt great on ps4 despite being locked at 30 because the motion blur was well implemented.

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#38 Posted by VoshiNova (2406 posts) -

@xanadu: right on. That makes perfect sense really. I really hope whatever console Sony and Microsoft decide to release next has less room for interpretation/patching/etc. I understand with Xbox procedurally including original Xbox games having a "grey zone" for specifications, but when one of a main platforms selling points is "Boost Mode" I can't help but feel like it is in disingenuous. I'm a recent adopter of the Xbox One S and I'm seeing huge improvements visually from the original model. But I am constantly questioning whether or not I should invest in an X. My decision has come down to Microsoft sweepstakes instead of investing 500 dollars, but with the Pro I feel like they sold people something that doesn't actually fill the dollar amount spent. (retail I guess)

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#39 Edited by gerrid (669 posts) -

I started on resolution mode, but in the first area switched to the framerate mode. Just turning about in the woods made me feel a little weird - something about it just felt off, either latency or the framerate I don't know, but I did not like it.

Switching to the framerate mode it was immediately smoother and I felt better, and haven't considered switching back. Presumably some of the numerous updates the game has had since it started have been to these modes, but I probably will stick with what I'm used to now.

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#40 Posted by Strangestories (424 posts) -

Started in performance mode and was pretty impressed. I switched to resolution mode and couldn’t handle it for more than 5 minutes. It didn’t look noticeably better (to me) and it was just sooooo chunky. There was also absolutely brutal input lag which other people have mentioned.

It was so bad that I thought something was wrong with my PS4 but I’m glad everyone else is having the same experience as me.

Sticking to performance mode from now on.

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#41 Posted by MeierTheRed (5895 posts) -

I would rather have above 30 variable fps, then have a higher res cant cant even hold 30 constantly.

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#42 Posted by Tennmuerti (9455 posts) -

Just started playing this yesterday and yeaaaah, oh boy people weren't kidding about the framerate. This game cant hold a 60 at 1080p on a Pro, lol 4k? what a joke, the moment i tried it it almost made me barf from motion sickness in that mode. Technological marvel and achievement my ass. Ugh.

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#43 Posted by beforet (3470 posts) -

I finished playing this on an original PS4 and I don't remember seeing any significant framerate issues? And usually I'm sensitive to that stuff. Is there any chance that this is just one of those games that plays worse on a Pro for some reason?

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#44 Posted by xanadu (2034 posts) -

@beforet: It plays fine on a pro. In resolution mode the game is almost always 30fps which would be similar to the version you played. The framerate mode is what fluctuates and doesnt have a steady fps. As others have argued, frame rate mode is better in terms of latency in combat. However for myself, I'm only playing on regular/easy difficulty and dont need the extra amount of responsiveness.

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#45 Posted by Quipido (1555 posts) -

I can totally understand the argument for steady locked framerate over a higher but variable one, but this game felt much better with the unlocked one to me. Maybe it's because I choose framerate by default and I got used to it before I tried the resolution mode, but I couldn't go back by then.

It's mostly a question of personal preference - which is why they include these options to games in this weird half-gen machines. To have more options is a good thing, if you don't like it, don't use it, seems pretty straightforward to me!

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#46 Posted by jtatz (5 posts) -

Yeah, I tried out resolution over frame rate and immediately had to switch back to performance mode for the FPS. It does noticeably dip in combat and big cinematic moments, but I am more than willing to accept that; given that the game has an ample amount of down time where the 60 FPS truly shines.

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