Dark Souls 3 Runs at 900p on Xbox One, Still Looks “Impressive” – FPS Drops Below 30 in Some Scenes

Fahad Arif

Slated to launch worldwide on all current-gen platforms on April 12, Dark Souls 3 is now up for grabs in Japan for all those who plan to play it on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. This means we can now finally check out the latest entry in FormSoftware and Bandai Namco’s relentlessly challenging action role-playing video game series on Microsoft’s latest-gen home console, only to place it among all those other titles that run at sub-1080p resolution on the system, as it has already been found that Xbox One only manages to run the game at 900p with 30 frames per second.

Dark Souls 3 on Xbox One Can't Match the Native 1080p Resolution Achieved by the PlayStation 4 Version of the Game

Yet another game has fallen victim to the malady that has affected Microsoft’s eighth generation video game console since its inception. Digital Foundry has found in its analysis of Dark Souls 3 on Xbox One console that the latest super-difficult game from developer FormSoftware runs at a native resolution of 900p (1600x900), as opposed to the game’s native full HD 1080p resolution on PlayStation 4 console that the developer has already confirmed. This lower resolution on Xbox One results in “increase in flickering across foliage across Dark Souls 3's opening mountainous area, and more pixel crawl overall on weaponry,” says the report.

“We were curious about the game's resolution, first and foremost. While Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 run at a full 1080p on PS4, there were no certainties of the resolution setup on other formats. On a close pixel count, it turns out Xbox One dials its native resolution back to a straight 1600x900 in this case. Essentially, this puts us at 70 per cent of the PS4's overall pixel output.”

That’s not all, Dark Souls 3 is targeted to deliver smooth “v-synced locked” 30 frames per second performance on Xbox One, but tests run by the Digital Foundry show the game hardly manages to maintain a solid frame rate, with fps dropping down to 25 when scenes with heavy volumetric fog appear on screen, and to 20 during some boss fights. However, these events are most probably sporadic, and the game does manage to deliver “a 30fps average for most of this Lothric section.”

"At our very first step, we get a continuous stretch of play at 25fps in the opening section - a drop incurred by the heavy volumetric fog effects around this area's frosty high-rises. Boss battles produce similar issues on Xbox One, and we even reach frame-rates at near 20fps for larger-scale encounters on the High Wall of Lothric."

That said, the report from Digital Foundary is mainly positive about how Dark Souls 3 performs on Microsoft’s consoles. The team did point out that despite the lower resolution, “the Xbox One release still looks impressive with its post AA in place,” and that “the upscale from 900p doesn't dampen the experience to any tangible degree.” The game doesn’t seem to be fully optimized yet, but a day one patch will hopefully fix things after the worldwide launch.

Early impressions of Dark Souls 3 from those who were able to secure a Japanese copy of the game are so far very positive. And while numbers do matter considering how far we’ve come with technology, the difference between the resolution isn’t something that would impact the game’s sales in different regions or on consoles. You can check out our hands-on preview of the super-challenging game here.

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