The best games to play on your 4K TV

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Microsoft’s Xbox One X and Sony’s Playstation 4 Pro consoles heralded the arrival of 4K gaming in the living room, and despite their relatively short time in the market, the 4K-capable consoles have already amassed a substantial library of games. But when it comes to shopping for the right games, you might have to do some research, writes Krishan Sharma.

This is because not all titles for the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are created equal with some developers choosing to use the extra horsepower to firm up stuttering performance as opposed to improving visuals. As such, not all titles support 4K resolution, HDR (high dynamic range) or Dolby Atmos. Some titles might support HDR and nothing more while some others might get the most mileage out of the hardware and support both 4K resolution and HDR in addition to other graphical upgrades.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of games that push the console and your new 4K television to its limits. From shooters through to sports titles, we’ve handpicked games from a range of genres, ensuring there’s something here for everybody.

  • Note: Dolby Atmos is only supported on Microsoft’s Xbox One S, Xbox One X consoles and Windows 10 PCs and is not available on Sony consoles.

What you need

A 4K television capable of displaying HDR content and either a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X console. Consider also investing in an external drive as the file sizes for 4K games are absolutely enormous. Gears of War 4 for instance is over 100GB in size. This means that your console will soon be full after a few game installs. In our case, we augmented our console’s internal storage with a fast 1TB SSD from Crucial (model: MX500).

On the PC side, you will need a high-end graphics card such as Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 Ti in order to drive the listed games at 4K resolution with faster frame rates. Don’t have your PC hooked up to the main television? Consider streaming games from your PC in 4K HDR using the Nvidia Shield streaming box.

Shooters

Gears of War 4

  • Platform: Xbox One X, PC
  • Supports: 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos

Gears of War has long been associated with pushing the graphical boundaries of Microsoft consoles, but the fourth entry in the series is easily the most impressive. The 4K patch for Gears of War 4 landed right alongside the launch of the Xbox One X and it took what was already a great looking game and turned it into a visual showpiece.

The jump in detail is immediately noticeable when playing the game in 4K mode, but the developers also added a host of other visual improvements such as longer draw distances, improved lighting, higher quality shadows and more detailed reflections. The action scenes pop that much more thanks to the game’s excellent use of HDR and there’s also support for Dolby Atmos which nicely fills up the height speakers everytime a chopper zooms by overhead.

Doom

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K

25 years ago Doom popularised the first person shooter and in 2016’s reboot, it brought the adrenaline-fueled gameplay kicking and screaming into the modern era with stellar results. Last month the wizards over at ID Software dropped an impressive 4K patch for PS4 Pro and Xbox One X owners, giving console owners a great excuse to revisit one of the best first person shooters of this generation.

Far Cry 5

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 1620p HDR (PS4 Pro); 4K HDR

Far Cry 5 is an open world first person shooter that benefits greatly from the resolution bump to 4K, enabling the player to more easily appreciate the finer details present in the game. Buildings feature richly textured wooden facades complete with visible splintering and cracking while dirt and gravel textures look photo realistic. The additional clarity offered by the higher resolution allows players to see distant objects more clearly, which has benefits both in terms of presentation and gameplay. Overall Far Cry 5 is a truly beautiful game.

If you have a choice between the console versions, Xbox One X offers the best image quality experience with a native 4K (3840×2160) presentation. One visual quirk we noticed on the Xbox One X version is a bizarre tearing issue on the map screen which isn’t present in any other version of the game though it’s not really an issue as it never impedes on actual gameplay. The results aren’t quite as pristine on the PS4 Pro which delivers a lower 1620p (2880×1620) resolution and longer load times.

Online Multiplayer

Destiny 2

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K HDR

Destiny 2 is a huge multiplayer shooter that will keep you hooked with its addictive online modes and stellar 4K HDR presentation. The only knock we have against the game is the lack of a high frame rate mode, with the game locked to 30fps across all consoles. Thankfully, Destiny 2 is very well optimised on PC and can run in 4K at 60fps on modest hardware.

Star Wars Battlefront II

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 1440p HDR (PS4 Pro); 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos (Xbox One X)

Regardless of whether you’re Star Wars fan or not, Battlefront II is a visual and auditory showpiece that demands to be played on a 4K television. The 4K HDR presentation on Xbox One X in particular brings the lightning and materials to life and it feels great to play thanks to its buttery smooth 60 frames per second action.

However, Battlefront II on PS4 Pro runs at almost half the resolution (2560×1440) compared to its Xbox One X counterpart. It looks blurrier overall as a result and some of the artwork loses detail, further muddying image quality. Battlefront II also boasts the best implementation of Dolby Atmos sound we’ve yet heard in a game which is another reason to opt for either the One X or PC port over the PS4 Pro version. Without Atmos, chaotically noisy scenes such as when TIE fighters fly overhead in the middle of a firefight lose some of their precision. With Dolby Atmos running though you can still hear every tiny detail, perfectly located.

The bottom line here is that Battlefront 2 is a technically impressive game on all systems but the Xbox One X version truly delivers the goods for those who’ve chosen to invest in an ultra HD screen.

Action Adventure

Rise of the Tomb Raider

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos (Xbox One X)

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a solid addition to the classic franchise, easily among the best in the series and it also happens to be a showstopper on a 4K television. Exploring long forgotten ruins and exotic landscapes has never looked this good. We also need to commend the game’s use of HDR. Light peeking into each tomb had a pleasing brightness to it while other elements such as water and fire exhibit a fantastic level of glimmer and shine. The Dolby Atmos mix was also very pleasing to the ear with stellar atmospheric and spatial effects.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: Lost Legacy

  • Platform: PS4 Pro
  • Supports: 1440p HDR

The Uncharted series is renowned for its beloved characters and bombastic action sequences and nowhere is this more evident than in its most recent entries. Despite being released two years ago, Uncharted 4 and its standalone expansion Uncharted: The Lost Legacy still stands as one of the most technically impressive titles of this console generation.

The PS4 Pro update pushes both titles to 1440p resolution but despite not having the sharpness of a full fat 4K image, both games offer top-tier production values that few games can match.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos (Xbox One X)

While we didn’t love the pacing, there is no doubt that Assassin’s Creed: Origins is one of the most impressive 4K titles around. The ultra-high resolution support brings the ancient Egyptian setting and its raft of characters to life in stunning detail, however, its use of HDR is what truly makes the game shine. The contrast between bright sunlight and shadows adds a real sense of depth to the game world while vibrant colours litter the scenery.

God of War

  • Platform: PS4 Pro
  • Supports: 4K HDR

God of War returns with a fresh vision for the series, powered by brand new technology from a studio renowned for pushing the technological envelope. From the staggering detail on characters and environments to the blockbuster set pieces, God of War is a visual tour de force from start to finish that will put any new 4K TV through its paces.

Horizon Zero Dawn

  • Platform: PS4 Pro
  • Supports: 4K HDR

Horizon Zero Dawn is an open world action adventure game where you play as a hunter on a journey to unearth tech that has been hidden for centuries. This involves exploring a vibrant and lush world inhabited by furious robotic dinosaurs. The 4K visuals on the PS4 Pro brings this post-apocalyptic setting to life in staggering detail while the game’s bright colour palette dazzles the eye when HDR is enabled.

RPG

Final Fantasy XV

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos (Xbox One X)

The 4K enhancement for the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X brings about a substantial facelift for the most ambitious Final Fantasy game yet. The art design, the detail and every square inch of this open world game is a feast for the eyes. HDR in particular is a real highlight, bringing to life the blisteringly bright desert sun lights and larger-than-life beasts.

The recently released PC port unlocks the game’s full visual potential but regardless of the platform you choose to play it on, your 4K television won’t be left disappointed.

Witcher 3

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K HDR

The Witcher 3 is a medieval fantasy adventure that takes you through a beautifully realised world filled with incredible vistas and horrific monsters. The 4K HDR visuals serve to draw you in further to its fantastical world.

Sadly, there is no HDR support for the PC version.

Racing

Forza Horizon 3

  • Platform: PC, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K HDR

Though it lacks the same high frame rates of Motorsport 7, Forza Horizon 3 is visually breathtaking in 4K HDR. As well as a resolution bump, you get longer draw distances and better visual effects that all help to bring this over-the-top arcade racer to life.  Set in Australia, your eyes will be constantly bombarded with sharp colours and plenty of detail as you zip around in high-end hypercars across the country’s major landscapes.

Sadly the PC version lacks HDR support of its console counterpart but there is at least the option to play at a higher frame rate.

Wipeout: Omega Collection

  • Platform: PS4 Pro
  • Supports: 4K HDR

If you’ve ever picked up a Playstation controller in your lifetime, chances are you’ve played a Wipeout game. Wipeout: Omega Collection takes the tracks you know and love from as far back as 1995 and gives them the 4K HDR treatment and it looks spectacular. Known for its blistering speed, iconic music and pure multiplayer mayhem, Wipeout has never looked this good.

Forza Motorsport 7

  • Platform: PC, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K HDR

There’s a reason why Forza Motorsport 7 was Microsoft’s poster-child for the Xbox One X – it pushes the console to its limits with a 4K resolution at 60 frames per second and HDR support. From the impressive weather effects and richly detailed environments to the cars themselves, the attention to detail is remarkable. While we would have liked to have seen more pop in its HDR presentation, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Forza Motorsport 7 is still one of the best-looking racing games ever made.

Gran Turismo Sport

  • Platform: PS4 Pro
  • Supports: 4K HDR

Gran Turismo Sport on the PS4 Pro is a substantial leap over its 1080p presentation on the base PS4 console. Playing GT Sport on a 4K television with HDR enabled makes it very clear that this is how the game was meant to be played from day one. GT Sport might not offer the breadth of content found in the likes of Forza Motorsport 7, but what’s there is impressive nonetheless. The quality of the lighting and the attention to detail paid to the cars interiors is second to none as is the game’s use of HDR. The quality of the effects work makes reliving each race through the games replay option that much sweeter.

Sport

FIFA 18

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K HDR

With the FIFA World Cup just around the corner, there’s no better time to fire up FIFA 18. EA didn’t disappoint in updating the game to 4K with a flawless presentation running at a silky smooth 60 frames per second. Add to this the expanded colour gamut and improved lighting that HDR brings with it and the beautiful game has never looked this good.

NBA  2K18

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K HDR

Basketball fans looking for something to do in between watching the NBA Playoffs should look no further than NBA 2K18. Its 4K HDR presentation is so close to replicating the real thing that you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for an actual broadcast of a live NBA game.  The higher resolution allows you to truly appreciate the detail put into each player on the court from the faces to the footwear all of which look almost identical to their real life counterparts.

Fighting

Injustice 2

  • Platform: PC, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 1440p HDR (PS4 Pro); 1620p HDR (Xbox One X)

Injustice 2 is one of the most impressive fighting games released this generation and while the true native 4K experience is reserved for PC gamers with top-shelf hardware, the game still looks stunning on a 4K television. Resolution receives a slight bump on the One X (2880×1620) versus the Pro (2560×1440) but the difference is not great enough to produce a clear visual advantage. This means that regardless of the console you choose to play on, you will get a great visual experience.

Both versions also boast improved shadows, textures and motion blur as well. However, the game’s most striking feature is the beautiful implementation of HDR which greatly amps up the visual spectacle of every fight.

Killer Instinct

  • Platform: PC, Xbox One X
  • Supports: 4K

Killer Instinct is the first and only console fighter to date to run at a native 4K and coupled with the abundance of particle effects that accompany every hit, the game looks simply stunning. It also runs at fluid 60fps and is capable of running at those top settings on modest PC hardware as well.

The character models and lightning effects might not be as detailed as those seen in Injustice 2, but Killer Instinct still manages to offer an impressive visual package that is much cleaner and crisper than any other fighter on consoles.

Wildcard

Cuphead

  • Platform: PC, Xbox One X

Okay, so I cheated with this one as Cuphead doesn’t technically run in 4K or HDR but it doesn’t mean that it won’t impress on your television. Cuphead proves that strong art design can be just as impressive as photo-realistic visuals. Cuphead is a tough 2D platformer that looks and sounds like you’re playing a 1930s cartoon, specifically in the style of early Disney. The fact that it nails its aesthetic so well makes it a sight to behold and a joy to play.

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