The Last of Us 2 has reference quality HDR, when set up appropriately for your screen. For reference, on my OLED, I set it to
HUD Brightness: 3
The way I recommend setting these options is to look at the center (midtones) image, and adjust brightness until the highlights feel appropriately bright. Not too bright, not too dim, just right. Then adjust contrast until the falloff from shadow to highlight feels natural and realistic. Not overly contrasty, and not too flat either. After you do that, you may need to re-adjust brightness, because adjusting contrast also alters the overall APL of the image. So keep repeating these steps, finding a good sweet spot each time, until after repeating them, you get the same results you did last time. It took me several times going back and forth until I got settings that I settled with. Then just adjust HUD brightness to what feels right based on your contrast and brightness settings.
Highlights, color, and shadows are all brilliant. I call it reference, but obviously this is a very different kind of use of the format than Horizon: Zero Dawn which is the other major reference HDR title on PS4. The environment is mostly set in Seattle, so there's a lot of overcast, rainy, dim environmental lighting throughout the game, but there are also some bright sunny scenes. In dark scenes there are usually some bright lights or fires, there's a great use of specular highlighting that really shines in HDR, and deep shadows as a lot of the game takes place in indirect lighting, and there are a few scenes where they get really colorful, and the game looks brilliant there as well. I think this is the textbook case of how an HDR image can both be filmic/subdued/subtle looking, while also making use of nearly the full capabilities HDR has to offer. Using everything HDR has to offer doesn't have to mean everything is overblown, super saturated, bright all the time, overly contrasty, etc. That's why I always hate the arguments when people defend poor usage of HDR by saying it's "not overdone". Examples of HDR like TLOU2 where the full usage of HDR doesn't compromise a traditionally filmic look showcase that you can have that subtle look while also simultaneously actually making use of the format. Making full use of every tool HDR has to offer can compliment any visual style, imo. Not just those that are overly bright, colorful, or have a ton of contrast.
IIRC, Red Dead 2, once they patched it to unlock the highlights above SDR level, had a similarly impressive look when it came to the highlights, with a similar filmic visual style, but unfortunately, shadows and color were not as impressive.
Living Room: Sony XBR65X930D, Sony HT-Z9F, Philips BDP7501
Bedroom: LG OLED55C6P, Denon AVR-X1300W (5.1.2), PS4 Pro, Sony UBP-X700, Chromecast Ultra
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