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Spider-Man on PS5 looks better — and worse — than PS4

Spider-Man PS5
(Image credit: Sony)

A few days ago, Insomniac revealed a gameplay video for Spider-Man: Remastered on PS5. The biggest piece of news was that they’d changed Peter Parker’s face model considerably, and fans were not happy. But facial fervor aside, the video offered a lot of information about how Spider-Man on PS5 would differ from its PS4 predecessor. In most cases, the game looks at least a little bit better, but some color grading choices could make the game look a little more dreary than before.

This analysis comes from a comparison video on YouTube, produced by ElAnalistaDeBits. As the name suggests, this channel provides Spanish-language gaming videos that usually focus on comparisons between original games and more recent remasters. For Spider-Man, the producer took the video provided by Insomniac, then tried to recreate those scenes using their own copy of Spider-Man on PS4. The results give us an idea of where the PS5’s graphical strengths lie.

First and foremost, the lighting in Spider-Man: Remastered is much more subtle. This is likely due to the PS5’s ray-tracing capabilities, which provide more realistic pathways for simulated light to travel. This is especially visible in a scene where Doctor Octopus and Peter talk in a lab, with better contrast between the light and shadows on Doc Ock’s face and body, as well as a whiskey bottle and a mug.

Later on in the video, the ray tracing capabilities look even more impressive when we see Spider-Man clinging to a glass window, and a perfect reflection of both him and the park across the street. In the original PS4 version of the game, there’s still a reflection in the window, but it’s dark and barely visible.

Draw distance and textures also look better, as ElAnalistaDeBits shows off with the New York City skyline and background objects. In one particularly striking example, Dock Ock and Peter talk with a TV running in the background. In the PS4 version of the game, the TV gets blown-out and blurry once Dock Ock walks past; in the PS5 version, it’s sharp and in-focus the whole time.

Perhaps the most impressive change, though, is in Performance Mode. This optional mode makes some graphical compromises (ray tracing, for one) to up the frame rate to 60 fps. This makes Spider-Man move with a fluidity and sense of urgency that feels much more true to his comic-book origins, like a Steve Ditko panel come to life. It’ll be worth experimenting with Performance Mode in the full game to see what kind of graphical sacrifices it requires.

On the other hand, the PS5 version has some graphical oddities that weren’t present in Spider-Man on the PS4. The whole game has sort of a color tint, which makes some outdoor scenes look too gray, and indoor scenes look too blue. There’s also no denying that Peter’s new face is somewhere between “jarring” and “horrifying,” depending on how attached you got to his original model.

Ultimately, though, the video suggests that the differences between the two versions of the game are fairly minor. Yes, the new version is sharper and better-lit, but I wonder how many gamers will pay attention to those subtle details during a chaotic combat scene or joyful web-slinging session. Performance Mode, on the other hand, might really be the setting to watch.