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8 Games that Take Advantage of an 8K Screen You Can Play Right Now
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 03:45pm 10/03/21 | Comments
We look at a handful of games you can play on console right now on an 8K panel that will live up to the next TV resolution hype...

You’ve heard it, and you’ve probably said it: “there’s no point in worrying about 8K right now, because the content just isn’t there”. It’s a fair statement, and one we explored already in our review of the next panel leap in eye-candy realness, but what if we implore you to look again? To get All In on this new quantum leap, so to speak. Because All In, or AI, is how you’re going to see the value in staking your 8K claim, where you’ll be rich in golden content once that vein reveals itself and lines your ocular pockets with a visual clarity the likes of which you couldn’t dream. And like any good mining operation, you’ve got to start digging somewhere to see those first specks.



With that in mind, and after having had the luxury of being serviced visually by Samsung’s Q950TS 8K panel in the 75” range, we’ve diligently explored the best new console titles that take full advantage of the 8K-ready new-gen machines in PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. Out of the gate, here’s an important disclaimer: None of what we talk about here on the TV front is rendering in native 8K, however, the panel in question is using its impressive AI Upscaling to give even the best 4K content an extra level of oomph. And we’ll explain just how this works shortly, but know that those games on Series X, for example, that now have that little X|S symbol displayed on their library thumbnail -- those are the types of games we’re exploring here today.

"The setup we’re exploring here today offers a different experience to that of a desktop, and it’s also one that sets up gaming and streaming/viewing experiences down the track in an ease-of-setup way with immediate results...”



And until consoles and panels match NVIDIA-level technology, this is the next best thing for the couch room army, too. So for the myriad Kostas out there -- yes a GeForce RTX 3090 running DLSS Ultra Performance on a monitor that outputs event horizon level space-time-tearing quantum computations is, naturally, the shit. But the setup we’re exploring here today offers a different experience to that of a desktop, and it’s also one that sets up gaming and streaming/viewing experiences down the track in an ease-of-setup way with immediate results. No tinkering or troubleshooting required.

Not Robot AI, Upscale AI




WAITING ON...

There's still games to arrive on console in more embiggened states, similar to those already mentioned here in more detail. And we couldn't rightly suggest shifting into future-proofing yourself and your gaming now, without reminding you of what else is still to come an 8K panel like the Q950TS can truly amplify. Here's eight games yet to make the new-gen leap, or are yet to even be released but are just around the corner.

1. Cyberpunk 2077
2. Deathloop
3. DOOM: Eternal
4. Far Cry 6
5. Horizon Forbidden West
6. Metro: Exodus
7. Resident Evil 8: Village
8. Subnautica: Below Zero


There is more, naturally, but in the spirit of the number eight, these are our most anticipated.
We’ve used the word “quantum” here a bit already, and that’s partly because the Q950TS features Samsung’s Quantum Processor to turn HD images into 8K. As mentioned earlier, this isn’t native, the upscaling just performs some serious maths and squeezes more pixels of a previously set number into something numerically more impressive. A 4K image, for example, displays over 8 million pixels whereas an 8K image is more than 33 million, the maths then fills in the gaps between the 8-odd million to that 33-plus million.

This is done using Samsung’s Machine Learning Super Resolution (MLSR), which is part of its AI processor, allowing for the panels that utilise all of this to correctly fill the required Pixels Per Inch (PPI) on a given display. Moreover, this is all done in real-time and also reaches into a databank of information designed to help the AI Upscaling tool to effectively ‘fill in the blanks’ on images that would otherwise show degradation on any other run-of-the-mill upscaling tool in panels not utilising Samsung’s setup. What all of this means, essentially, is that the Q950TS and other 8K displays from Samsung showcase not just the potential of running 8K imagery, but also how sub-8K content can be sat alongside the eventual native stuff in a near lossless way.

"Upscaling on already optimised content for new-generation machines, which includes bonuses like real-time ray-tracing, HDR and higher frame-rates...”



While the panel in question here only has one HDMI port for 8K content or for content to be upscaled to 8K (admittedly annoying when having to switch ports for PS5 to Xbox Series X|S and vice-versa), upscaling on already optimised content for new-generation machines, which includes bonuses like real-time ray-tracing, HDR and higher frame-rates alongside the panel’s baked in noise reduction, sharpening, pure blacks (in areas like shadows that don’t crush or bleed), and >14ms input lag (perfect for gaming) just elevates it above even the best dedicated 4K screens on the market. And what all of the above does for console games already pushing the limit of the latest platforms, as well as what it will do for upcoming games built from the ground up to take full advantage of more power puts this 8K range front and centre for anyone looking to future-proof their lounge-based viewing and gaming over the next few years.

Here’s our pick of the draw for games you’ll get the most visual pull out of when using a panel featuring all of the above.



Games Ready to Rock8K



Assassin’s Creed Valhalla - PlayStation 5> and Xbox Series X|S

We’ve literally flogged this to death, but can’t stop, won’t stop. Playing on Series X, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla came in as our 2020 GOTY, was largely the game we utilised in our Q950TS review as a visual benchmark, is an exploratory experience we couldn’t get enough of, and is also something we’ve done absolutely everything in: all Achievements, all collectibles, all secrets, all treasures, all cosmetics. ALL. EVERYTHING. DONE.

Related: How Assassin's Creed Valhalla's World Stories Present the Series at its Best



But there’s more content to come, which both excites us and helps equally champion the game as an 8K-like experience when playing on the Q950TS, hence its place on this list. With some tweaking, the panel’s best-in-class HDR output simply makes Ubisoft Montreal’s medieval England pop with colour. And this is amplified with a stunning draw distance and rock-solid frame-rate that just looks better on a big 8K panel (especially at 75” and over).



Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War - PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War wins its own battle to join this list for a number of reasons. One: Of last year’s new-gen/last-gen bridging titles, the various teams at development play for Cold War delivered on the visual front, and then some, despite the transition. Two, the game(s) itself just offered up so much, and continues to do so. There’s almost no reason Cold War won’t still be doing the rounds come year’s end, begging the question (for another time): should Activision just support this release in seasonal form and stretch Call of Duty development beyond annual iterations?

"At 8K on a 75” panel, the classic River Raid has never looked so good...”



We’re not wholly here to discuss that though, what we can tell you is that on the Q950TS with AI Upscaling, Cold War is ridiculously polished. The game’s solid 60fps never hiccups, and on Samsung’s 8K screen you just get a more involved sense of immersion. Particularly in the game’s many multiplayer and co-operative modes. But it’s even the fun, smaller additions that standout, such as the Activision arcade cabinet Easter Egg finds riddled throughout the experience. At 8K on a 75” panel, the classic River Raid has never looked so good.



Control: Ultimate Edition - PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S

Control on console might be just under two years old, but when it was released in 2019 on PC, it was a visual revelation. That revelatory delivery of Oldest House janitor sheen now buffs up nicely on both the PS5 and Xbox Series X in the game’s Ultimate Edition, which also collects all released content to-date but, more importantly, brings the game closer to its PC personality (sans DLSS).

"A game that is all about those small things; peripheral storytelling, explosive components that sell the game’s sci-magic blend of action and confrontation...”



Already an incredibly detailed game with many, many moving parts thanks to a robust and dynamic physics engine, at the highest lounge resolution without being native, Control: Ultimate Edition truly delivers on its re-release titular promise. And gives players a choice between a graphics boost with ray-tracing, though at 30fps, or a slicker 60fps experience without the UE eye-candy-plus. But more importantly, as a game that is all about those small things; peripheral storytelling, explosive components that sell the game’s sci-magic blend of action and confrontation, at 8K regardless of your in-game Display choice, Control just sings at the highest resolution.



Forza Horizon 4 - Xbox Series X|S

Seriously, we can’t wait to see what Playground does with Fable on new hardware, as part of a new generation of games and, really, off the back of what it has consistently produced over the years with the Forza Horizon series. Very specifically here, in what we’ve all seasoned through with Forza Horizon 4, which has been optimised for Series X, bringing it in visual line with the PC release of the game.

Related: Microsoft Flight Simulator - The Past, Present, and Future



This makes the list largely because even before said optimisation, playing the Xbox One release of the game on the Q950TS already brought big smiles to our faces, but now it’s just more and more gravy. And few studios can make a gloomy overcast day in a racing title still look jaw-dropping. Add the higher resolution here alongside a plethora of gameplay and you’ve got a winner of a game to settle on when going down the 8K rabbit hole. In terms of longevity alone, Forza Horizon 4 almost trumps all in this list. And who doesn’t love good things that come wrapped in shiny bows?



Gears 5 - Xbox Series X|S

It stands a little to reason Gears would make it to this list. The series over the years has always set a benchmark for high-end gritty visuals. Stunning lighting, highly-detailed textures and an over-the-top world and art style keeps the game front and centre when you drop names like Marcus Fenix, Baird or Cole. Now, with a newer generation of ‘kids’ twisting and turning as cogs in the war machine that is the series’ foundation, lead by Gears 5 which is now an optimised title for Series X|S, the visual beast that is Gears of War remains a staple in the action genre.

"The good news with that, however, is that there’s plenty outside of MP to sink your saw into and, well, did we mention that on an 8K screen it’s just glorious?”



On the Q950TS at an upscaled 8K resolution, the game just grinds out grit and grime. Every pustule of blood that sprays from sawed in half locusts draws you into the fray in ways few games of this nature can. The delightful mix of cover, ranged and melee combat elevates every Gears experience that little bit more, and while it can be said the series has barely changed in its lifetime, it doesn’t really need to beyond offering more options through co-operative play and multiplayer, which in this iteration is near seasonal in delivery and downright intimidating if you’re a returning player. The good news with that, however, is that there’s plenty outside of MP to sink your saw into and, well, did we mention that on an 8K screen it’s just glorious?

Because it is.



Ghost of Tsushima - PlayStation 5

There’s a few Xbox exclusives in this list, but Sony isn’t to be left out in the cold, and what we’ve highlighted here is an older game that not only stands tall on an 8K panel with AI Upscaling, but one that takes full advantage of the extra grunt underneath the space-case of the PS5. Ghost of Tsushima’s remarkably smooth leap from 30fps to 60fps out of the gate with the PS5 is to be applauded, and highlights what a bit of love can do to longstanding games capable of filling in the gaps as we wait for more tailored high-end content.

"As a ready-to-go franchise, we can’t wait to see what the PS5 future holds for an inevitable sequel...”



Like so many of the other games mentioned here, and deliberately we might add, Ghost of Tsushima also comes packed with hours upon hours of gameplay, an excellent story that can be picked apart as a three-act opus, or in its peripheral tales spread throughout the vibrant game-world and its myriad nooks and crannies. As a ready-to-go franchise, we can’t wait to see what the PS5 future holds for an inevitable sequel, but for now even as a last-gen release, Ghost of Tsushima through the power of both the PS5 and an 8K panel, shines like a one-thousand layered damascus katana glistening in the sun.



Immortals Fenyx Rising - PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S

There are two reasons to jump into Immortals Fenyx Rising from the team that brought you Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. One: It’s really, really funny and fun; never taking itself seriously yet adding layer upon layer of challenge, exploration and character growth to a brand new world brimming with colour and inspired art-direction.

Related: The Winners and Losers of Rainbow Six Siege Year 6



Two: It unashamedly borrows HEAVILY from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- perhaps one of the best games of the past decade. And if you consider that for just a moment… how many of you would die to play Breath of the Wild not only in 4K, but on an 8K panel with AI Upscaling in tow? Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen, at least not officially, but the next best thing is Immortals: Fenyx Rising which in itself is no slouch in the innovative and engaging gameplay department. In particular, the game’s combat and upgrade system is inspired and certainly keeps players on the hook for what is a sprawling journey penned in homage to the Ancient Greek writings of old. Immortals is a bit of an unsung hero among a library of stellar games we felt perfectly fit here. Especially because of just how vibrant it is on the Q950TS.



Ori and the Will of the Wisps - Xbox Series X|S

This is an interesting one, because you can choose to have the game running at 60fps in native 6K, or at 120fps in 4K. Obviously pushing either option to an 8K screen with AI Upscaling presents the best version of one of the best games on Microsoft’s platforms (60fps for the visual win though). But to have the choice is still nice, and if you’re a visuophile, you’ll both appreciate the option and will likely pick up on the differences between them.

"Metroidvania in design and painterly in presentation to (oh-so-good) eye-bleeding levels, this forever franchise for Microsoft is a wonderful escape...”



For those who are new to the series, or steered clear because of its 2D realness, don’t be fooled by old-school presentation. The Ori series is serious gaming. Metroidvania in design and painterly in presentation to (oh-so-good) eye-bleeding levels, this forever franchise for Microsoft is a wonderful escape wrapped in an ever-engaging and super-challenging frame-perfect game that comes packed with the right amount of old-school nostalgia married against modern tech and design sensibilities. It’s also another lengthy excursion, adding to the now hours-long quota we’re building as we round out our list.

The Luxury that is Time



GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE THAT WAIT

Naysayers will point to a lack of native content, without really understanding that content is already here. It's what we've been highlight. When NVIDIA's RTX 3000 range of cards dropped, there wasn't (and still isn't) a lot of "built-for" content available, but plenty of tech-first titles still take advantage of what the cards are capable of, and the same is true here. These screens, and in particular Samsung's 8K range, feature incredible HDR technology, Quantum Dot technology and the heavily lauded AI Upscaling we've talked about. And top content is taking advantage of that with amazing results. Now, look at all of this and cast your mind forward to a native 8K content world...
This list is fairly extensive, and it’s not even everything we could have mentioned. Upscaled titles like The Last of Us Part II, Horizon Zero Dawn, Sea of Thieves and more all offer something at a bigger resolution. Helheim, God of War looks super-impressive on an 8K panel, as does Red Dead Redemption 2. And all of these are games longer in the tooth, but that were built with an eye towards high-end visual output.

The other angle we wanted to play up here though, is the amount of time you can set to invest in games of the ilk mentioned here upon investment in a full 8K display. If we were to add up the guestimated playtime for everything mentioned here, excluding ongoing time where multiplayer is concerned, you’re looking at more than 450 hours of gameplay. And again that excludes any level of longevity you pull from titles like Call of Duty, Gears or Forza Horizon. That’s taking into account completion and investment in the worlds in which you’re playing, and not including the other titles you’re waiting on or might still be playing as part of your library.

And additionally, anything that’s HD (that is, 1080p and above) upscales anyway. So, while not all "optimised for new-gen" titles will look as good as those mentioned above, you’re still getting more visual bang for your buck, while also being ready for the 8K content we know is gearing up for mass market inside the next few years.





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