Xbox Series X has a unique graphics mode toggle missing on PS5. You get one mode for quality - a 30fps option that prioritises a higher resolution ranging between lowest 1512p, and 1728p highest. And then there's Series X's performance mode, which guns for 60fps, but drops that resolution range to between 1080p and 1296p. Again no change. So it goes on PS5 as well; which still pushes between 972p at its lowest and 1200p at the top end. Focusing just on the 60fps mode compared to PS5, visually speaking Series X has a slight edge in pixel output, though there's not much to tell the difference between them owing to the heavy post-processing and temporal anti-aliasing. The biggest advantage remains somewhere else - the NPC count.
Night City was always advertised as a bustling metropolis, teeming with life around the inner city - the Chinatown area, the markets, the red light districts. On PC it delivers this bustle to great effect, but on PS5 right now, it's a very different looking game with very few inhabitants in the city. Even judged by eye in-side-by-side shots, the Series X in its 60fps performance mode fills Night City's roads with more life. Meanwhile, that NPC count only rises further on Series X when you move to its 30fps quality mode. There's more to Xbox's quality mode, including better ambient occlusion - but the higher NPC count is easily the most striking difference possible between the two machines - so add this to the wishlist for the true, dedicated PS5 release when we get it. Sadly, being anchored to PS4 Pro settings in its current state is only holding PS5 back.
All of this has an impact on performance inevitably. PS5 remains the front-runner, delivering the most consistent 60fps experience on any console. That's not to say it doesn't have it's rocky moments, but by and large, it's the one to go for with 60fps in mind. Battles can drop into the 50s at points and even after so many patches, there are a few drops while driving too, but nothing that really distracts. Meanwhile, the reality is that Xbox Series X's performance mode is well off the pace, with PS5 sticking to 60fps in places where Series X drops aggressively under - the game's Street Kid tutorial shootout being an on-point example. Again, if we have a next-gen version wish list, this would be the next addition. Xbox Series X's performance mode must be locked, and optimised for a consistent 60fps, without having to rely on a VRR display to smooth out the performance issues.