The next-gen upgrade to one of 2020’s best games is currently disappointing.
DARQ became one of 2020’s big surprises and Henric praised it in his review, which also made the game end up high on our 10 best games 2020 list. Now the next-gen upgrade to PS5 and Xbox Series X / S is here, which also throws in two DLC packages in the form of the kids “The Tower” and “The Crypt”. The upgrade, which came on March 25, 2021, is free for those who own the last-gen version, but the question is whether this update is big enough for new players to open the shelf on the next-gen?
Since this is exactly the same game that Henric has already written about, this review will only focus on the technical and actual differences between the PS4 and PS5 versions. In addition to the two new courses, which are welcome additions for lovers of the basic game (which you can complete in 6-7 hours), the game has received a slight visual boost. The resolution is slightly higher and the details slightly more. In addition, the game loads significantly faster thanks to the PS5’s SSD architecture.
You can see the graphic lift in the video below. But you really have to watch, because there is no difference between day and night. In fact, we would describe the lift as quite marginal and although you can switch between “cinematic” mode (with a focus on quality) and “performance”, we have to say that we are a little overwhelmed by both. DARQ is still a nice, stylistic and atmospheric game, do not get us wrong, but the upgrade does not feel right next-gen. Despite a big day 1 patch, as we expected, the game hiccups and drops frames in several sequences and it feels unnecessarily “softened” and almost a bit tough in the controls, even in performance mode on a machine like the PS5 which should eat it for breakfast. Here more work is needed with the optimization, the developers should not just peek at the concept as Playdead Studios has in Limbo and Inside, but also the technically flawless implementation.
DARQ the next-gen upgrade is not much to cheer for in its current state and even though the game is still fun, challenging and extremely affordable, you can not help but feel a little disappointed with how “little” it became in the next-gen “complete ”Edition. Maybe this will file on more? Who knows.
In its current state, it will definitely still be a recommendation DARQ and if you own the game since before, the upgrade is free. But there will be no need for starving next-gen owners waiting for proper games to take advantage of the new, fantastic hardware and its capabilities.