It turns out there’s still some UI quirks Sony needs to work out for the PlayStation 5 when it comes to installing the best version of PS4 games promising a free upgrade to their PS5 counterparts. On Xbox Series X, it is taken care of seamlessly in the background.
With Sackboy: A Big Adventure — one of the games touted to give you a free next-gen upgrade — I wanted to see what the difference between the PS4 and PS5 versions were so I played on PS4 first. Seemed very decent, graphics are nice, 3D co-op up to 4 players a la Super Mario 3D World in what seems like a quirky, fun atmosphere for the kids.
I then installed on the PlayStation 5 to see what bells and whistles there were to behold and…uh, it looked, felt, and loaded the same! No zippy load times, no use of the haptic feedback introduced with the PS5’s DualSense controller. Well, it turns out that when you pop in a PS4 game on PS5, it’ll just install the no-frills, so-last-gen PS4 version. I frantically searched the web for answers and this is what I came back with:
On PS5, you have to manually search “Sackboy: A Big Adventure” for a “free” download to get that glorious PS5 upgraded copy:
And, remember, you have to keep the PS4 disc itself in the PS5’s disc drive whenever you want to play — you’re basically getting a full PS5 game download and the disc serves as check to determine your ownership for the title.
To further add to the confusion, there’s two different tiles on the PS5’s home screen that you, somehow, have to know they’re denoting different platforms for the game.
The one for the PS4 install looks like this:
Here’s the one for PS5:
Nice and clear…right? So, that’s the process for those games that are kind enough to provide free upgrades. Make sure you do your research before plunking down your hard-earned cash as there’s games like CODBLOPS: Cold War (asks you to pay for a “cross-gen bundle”) and NBA 2K21 (need to grab the $100 Mamba Forever Edition) that respond to your query about a free upgrade with a resounding: “Huh?”