Home New Resident Evil 4 on the iPhone 15 Pro aims to replicate the PS4 gaming experience, yet falls short of achieving its objective

Resident Evil 4 on the iPhone 15 Pro aims to replicate the PS4 gaming experience, yet falls short of achieving its objective

Resident Evil 4 on the iPhone 15 Pro aims to replicate the PS4 gaming experience, yet falls short of achieving its objective

One of the most brilliant remakes of 2023 was Resident Evil 4, a daring and contemporary retelling of Capcom’s 2005 action-horror masterpiece. Together with the PS4, it seemed fantastic on all current-generation systems, including superb lighting detail and amazing visual design. At the end of the year, Capcom released the first mobile version for RE4. Resident Evil 4 is now playable on the fastest Apple mobile hardware—the iPhone 15 Pro—as well as iPads with M1 and M2 processors as part of the company’s latest triple-A gaming push. So, similar to Resident Evil Village, is the game bogged down by performance and setup issues? Or can the console code be converted using RE4?

Although Capcom also released the game for PS4 gaming systems, Resident Evil 4 was primarily a current-generation console and PC game. On Sony’s eighth-generation systems, the graphics were mostly retained, but there were some noticeable compromises. Most notably, texture streaming might be rather sluggish and texture resolution suffered greatly. Other lighting reductions included the elimination of screen-space reflections and a decrease in the quantity of light sources that throw shadows.

It is important to consider these compromises, since the PS4 code exhibits the closest match among the console versions for the iPhone findings. We essentially get one basic visual experience on the platform with some options to tweak lens distortion, depth of focus, and motion blur, as we experienced on all console versions of the game. Resident Evil Village has a PC-style settings menu, but RE4 lacks one.

First and foremost, it should be noted that the iPhone version, for some reason, has a very noticeable blue tinge. I would advise anybody else playing the game in SDR to do the same, since it’s also much darker than the PS4 version at the normal brightness. Most of the textures in the two versions seem to be comparable. However, if you examine carefully, you’ll see that several of the game’s landscapes use notably lower-resolution texture graphics from the iPhone code. These aren’t really significant variations, but overall the world seems a little hazier and less distinct. Strangely, despite the iPhone’s far quicker storage, many of the same texture loading problems were seen on the PS4.

There are several differences in the degree of detail settings between the iOS and PS4 versions while navigating the world. There are some very notable changes in the density of foliage, and this is especially visible on tiny incidental items. Although areas of grass and shrubs are thinner on the iPhone than the PS4, treelines still seem quite comparable. The lighting in the two games is mostly comparable. This mostly relates to the overall operation of the lighting in RE4, which has a lot of baked lighting that is translated equally across the two platforms. There are no screen-space reflections either, which is probably a positive thing for the game’s overall graphics, as those who are acquainted with the RE Engine SSR will confirm. Positively, volumetrics are back, however resolution has somewhat decreased in comparison to the PS4.

When it comes to shadows, most scenes don’t have very good real resolution, but a quick peek at the PS4 code shows that the shadow resolution on that device is pretty close. The dither pattern that’s used to create the appearance of soft shadows is, in my opinion, the main problem here. It seems very fine-grained on the PS4, but incredibly coarse and unconvincing on the iPhone. Since the MetalFX AI upscaler has issues with several features, I believe this could be due to the iPhone version’s very low internal resolution.

Post-processing suffers as well. While watching some of the more action-packed cutscene scenes, I notice that sometimes the motion blur is rather jerky and undersampled. However, I continue to believe that this might be because the iPhone has a lower internal resolution. Not as evident is depth of focus, which may show some very unpleasant artifacts at character boundaries. While these effects seem OK on the smaller iPhone screen, they don’t exactly have the same dramatic flare as those on the PS4. When it comes to overall graphic settings, the iPhone code is on par with the PS4. Although the visual experience isn’t quite the same as what we’d see on a console, the basic settings are comparable enough that Resident Evil 4 still looks a lot like it. For example, this is significantly better than what you would anticipate from a Switch version of the game.

The worst problem, however, is certainly with the image quality. The PS4 code seems to be rather strong overall, combining TAA with a 900p picture to get a final resolution that is both smooth and detailed. Image quality on the platform is fairly decent by last-generation standards. In contrast, the iPhone just isn’t as good. There are often a lot of “salt-and-pepper” disocclusion artifacts in the game. These problems are apparent any whenever there is significant movement in the frame, particularly in the areas around Leon’s hair and in the vegetation components.

It’s all about the resolution, in my opinion. I noticed around 300p resolution across many pictures, which I believe is being upscaled to about 720p utilizing MetalFX’s temporal upscaler based on machine learning. Comparable degrees of break-up may be seen in Resident Evil Village on the iPhone, however they are often less noticeable due to the first-person perspective and the absence of vegetation in the area.

To be fair, for a game that runs at these types of internal resolutions, the picture coherence of the game is remarkably good in still photos. Interior spaces perform the best, with fewer artifacts and minor alpha effects. I don’t believe this is a poor approach, especially considering the speed savings and the smaller iPhone screen utilized for game navigation. However, it would have been preferable to combine MetalFX with higher-resolution rendering to obtain a genuinely steady and consistently good-looking final product. When upsampling systems have to operate with so little pixels, they just don’t function effectively.

With Capcom aiming for 30 frames per second, it is obvious that the low internal resolution is for conserving and sustaining performance. The game hits the mark in terms of standard fighting and exploration, but there are some very significant problems. First off, like with many 30 frames per second iOS games, the frame-pacing is off. This isn’t too bad; Resident Evil 4 alternates between 33 millisecond and 16 millisecond frames at regular intervals. It’s inconvenient, but it’s not fatal. Nevertheless, in addition to that, there are also sometimes extremely severe frame-rate dips that appear out of nowhere, briefly turning the game into a slideshow. These happen maybe once every five or ten minutes, so they’re not extremely often, but they do remove you from the moment.

In addition to more typical performance issues, I also saw a few extended stutters while playing the game. At some points, the game has trouble keeping up its 30 frames per second goal. It’s not that the frame-rates are drastically off; rather, the game is barely able to sustain 30 frames per second. While Resident Evil 4 isn’t a very good game, it does do far better on the iPhone than Resident Evil Village. Even on the lowest settings, it had extended frame-rate drops during normal gameplay, a problem that was never fixed by later updates.

As a point of perspective, Resident Evil 4 operated at an unlocked framerate of between 30 and 60 frames per second on the PS4 version. Although it wasn’t perfect, the code seems more fluid than that of the iPhone, and its frame-times are generally more consistent. When confronted with big numbers of enemies, the PS4 does utilize reduced-rate animation on enemy characters—an accommodation that the iPhone does not make. Another plus for Apple’s smartphone is its loading speeds. A load that takes the PS4 around forty seconds to finish takes the iPhone about seven seconds or less, a benefit that is likely due to the iPhone’s faster flash storage and sophisticated CPU. Every second matters when it comes to mobile platforms, and the iPhone usually performs well while loading RE4 files.

The controls come in a variety of forms. Positively, the game works well with both the Xbox Series and PS5 controllers. You can also switch between the PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo button layouts with the toggle. All of the buttons operate as they should, and rumble is operational. However, there is a problem with input lag—I detected 200 ms while using a Bluetooth controller here—and the overall weight of the game. Although playable, it never seems very responsive.

It’s not advisable to attempt to play this game without a controller due of how basic the touch controls are. The game is really difficult to operate since every button is always visible on the screen. Context-sensitive controls are a feature of the finest iPhone games, such as the GTA Definitive Editions, where buttons appear only when necessary or fulfill two functions based on the circumstance. It’s not really a very good option to just put a current gamepad layout over most of the screen.

In summary, this is a step forward. The iPhone version of Resident Evil 4 is unquestionably better than Village. Users don’t have to mess around with intricate and crash-prone graphic options, and the game actually runs rather well with a somewhat erratic but respectably fast 30 frames per second update. Although this game has a better configuration than Village, and it doesn’t appear to have Village’s peculiar performance gremlins, I believe that there are somewhat greater expectations for Apple’s triple-A gaming effort.

There aren’t many iOS games that are similar to this one apart from the three iPhone games I’ve reviewed recently: RE Village, the GTA Definitive Editions, and of course RE4. The closest game I’ve played in terms of graphics is probably Genshin Impact or Wreckfest, a last-generation racing game that runs at 60 frames per second on the iPhone 15 Pro. With the exception of such titles, however, the most advanced iPhone software is about as basic visually quality as that of the Xbox 360 and PS3, if not less, so it’s difficult to say with certainty what to anticipate from a game like RE4, which is effectively a PS4 port.

In these sorts of games, I’m inclined to believe that a tighter 30 frames per second lock should be at least feasible while keeping respectable settings and visual quality. This will be put to the test with upcoming Apple Silicon games, including Death Stranding and Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Hopefully, a well-executed last-generation iOS version will be released in 2024. However, the outcomes have been more inconsistent so far, with performance lacking in comparison to the visuals. If you keep your expectations in check, Resident Evil 4 is at least excellent enough to make for a decent mobile experience. Although there are significant performance problems and sometimes a cluttered visual, Resident Evil 4 is still playable on the move, looks good, and doesn’t crash. Many gamers demand more from it in terms of performance and visual consistency, but it falls short.


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