Once more Eurogamer returns to the front-lines of the next-gen console war, as they present their latest batch of cross-platform games available on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and put them to the test. Which titles are better on which console? More importantly, where there are differences, is there a fundamental effect on the gameplay?
So, onto the roster of software up for discussion then - another gaming mixture that once again encompasses the good, the bad and the fugly of cross-platform development.
* The Darkness
* Spider-Man 3: The Game
* The Godfather
* Madden NFL '08
* NHL '08
Here are snippets from each game comparison (Full reviews after the jump):
Loading up the PlayStation 3 version... with better quality videos streaming onto the many in-game TV screens dotted throughout the maps, such is the undoubted storage POWER of the Blu-ray disc. However, the reality of the situation is that while gameplay is virtually identical, it appears that Starbreeze Studios has compromised the PlayStation 3 version in a number of respects... such as the omission of motion blur as you pan around.
It's just a shame that once the web-swinging is over and you drop out of the sky to actually get to work, Spider-Man 3 becomes a fundamentally unattractive game, with graphically sparse environments, unsatisfying combat and a haywire, jarring camera. These game-killing problems remain constant whether you're playing the game on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, to the point where analyzing the differences between the two versions becomes pretty much irrelevant.
The Godfather was primarily designed for last-gen platforms, but deemed worthy of a porting effort onto 360, Wii and of course PlayStation 3. To be honest, out of all of the supposedly 'next-gen' versions, the game seems most at home on Wii, where the technical limits of the hardware seem to be the best match for the original graphical assets. Both Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of The Godfather come across merely as upscaled versions of the same thing, feeling sparse, clinical and graphically unsatisfying in pristine high-definition. However, the PS3 and indeed Wii versions have a number of gameplay expansions over the more aged Xbox 360 rendition.
Madden NFL '08:
As owners of the Sony console have been effectively lumbered with a technically inferior version, the real question, of course, is what kind of impact this has on the PlayStation 3 experience, because in terms of features, gameplay and graphics (i.e. the really crucial stuff) the two versions are astonishingly alike, as the comparisons shots prove. Presentation-wise, it certainly does make a difference, especially in the pre-game cut-scenes. The slick update on the 360 game adds an additional layer of polish to sequences that do a great job of showing off how insanely detailed and well-animated the player models are.
NHL '08 is yet another EA Sports title where the Xbox 360 benefits on a technical level. Just like Madden NFL '08, EA's latest ice hockey arcade sim runs at 60 frames per second on the Microsoft machine, while the PlayStation 3 version... doesn't. Efforts have been made to get the PS3 game running at 30fps, but astonishingly EA Sports has not even managed to achieve this, with sporadic slowdown manifesting all the way through the game, but most clearly evident on the cut-scene sequences, which in some places exhibit an inexplicably jerky, almost slideshow-like effect.