Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy surprised many when it came out in October. It was lauded for faithfully recreating the characters from the comic books, and praise was also given to the writing as well as the soundtrack. Recently at The Game Awards, Guardians of the Galaxy won the award for the Best Narrative of 2021.
Guardians of the Galaxy launched with two modes on both next-gen consoles. Quality mode aimed to deliver a native 4K image at a stable 30fps, while Performance mode reduced the resolution and graphical effects in order to hit a targeted 60fps. The Xbox Series S version only launched with one mode that ran at 30fps. Last month, developer Eidos-Montreal added a third mode to Guardians of the Galaxy that enabled ray tracing, and Digital Foundry has just uploaded a new video that tests this feature.
The video states that this new mode can be considered as a replacement for Quality mode. When ray tracing is enabled, Guardians of the Galaxy runs at 30fps with a dynamic 4K resolution. It lands somewhere between 2880×1620 and 3840×2160, with ambient occlusion being the only other difference from Quality mode. Both PS5 and Xbox Series X versions are identical, however Xbox Series S does not get ray tracing due to its lower specs. The console can now run Guardians of the Galaxy at an uncapped frame rate, but it is not stable at all and Digital Foundry recommends using the original 30fps mode.
At launch, the console version of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy did not have ray tracing. The feature was available on the PC version, and Eidos-Montreal had promised that ray tracing would be coming to consoles at a later date. Ray tracing was finally added to the PS5 and Xbox Series X editions via an update on November 17, which also introduced the uncapped frame rate mode for Xbox Series S, in addition to performance improvements for the PS4 version.
Due to the visual style of Guardians of the Galaxy, it serves as a great example of how ray tracing can enhance the image in every scene. Ray tracing is one of the best new features of next-gen consoles and modern PC GPUs, but it is extremely demanding, so it comes as no surprise that Xbox Series S has been left out. Regardless, it looks like both PS5 and Xbox Series X versions are well-optimized, save for the Performance mode which remains lackluster.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is now available for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.