Mass Effect 2 Demo: PS3 vs. Xbox 360 - Digital Foundry

Recent news that Mass Effect 2 on PlayStation 3 is running on a newer, enhanced engine and may even be the "definitive" version of the game raised more than a few eyebrows. While performance is close, Unreal Engine 3 typically favours the Xbox 360, and it's safe to assume that BioWare's prior customisations to the tech were carried out very much with the Microsoft platform in mind. So, is the PS3 version genuinely enhanced and improved?

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rrw2857d ago

so TIE?

at least is better than downgrade ps3 version that usually multiplatform have

NYC_Gamer2857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

respect to Bioware,but i dont think this engine is really so improved like they're claiming.

[email protected]
just gave you some bubbles :)

NewMonday2857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

Still slightly better on the PS3 IMOO, It's good they made the effort to make it this good.

To make this game really different they would have to re- code it from ground-up to take full advantage of the cell.

@Organization XII
As far as I know bubbling up is only a recommendation, those "fanboys" will decide whether to agree or not in the end.

darthv722857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

are there any comparative engines that are optimized for the ps3 that this game could use instead? Something that would be easy to port from UE3 to?

Bioware should be given access to the different engines that work best on the PS3. Let their talent show in how well they can convert an UE3 game into something like the KZ2 or UC2 engine. That is.....if those companies are willing to share and help.

Darth_Bane792857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

@Organization XII: You got it bro!
@Newmonday: As far as I know, fanboys do remove your bubbles. If you are trying to say it's the mods, you are wrong. All the mods care about is multiple accounts, profanity reports, and support article reports even when those are biased. There is a bigger chance that you would get banned from the site for aproving an article that some douche reported, than for any other thing.

StanLee2857d ago

Unreal is an engine the iterates. There's no huge progression in the tech so to assume there would be a huge leap forward using a more up to date version of the engine isn't realistic. A better test of improvement will be the framerate in the final retail game.

NewMonday2857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

the best multi-platform engine will be the one used for Rage. It will take advantage of Blue-Ray to store Mega-textures.

The CryEngen3 also seems better for multi-platform games, we will know for sure when we compare Crysis2.

ct032857d ago

"The best multi-platform engine will be the one used for Rage. It will take advantage of Blue-Ray to store Mega-textures."

I'm not sure why you'd think that, but a 256 MB framebuffer doesn't have much room for mega textures, regardless of how much disc space the Blu-ray has.

UNLOADEAD2857d ago

I Like This comparison better than Lens of Liars. I'm Calling BS on Theres.

DaTruth2857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

How does a highly compressed and possibly old code demo being the same as a full retail copy, prove the games are the same?

I always see these demo comparisons, but when the full retail code is released, the comparisons are suspectily missing!

@Darth_bane79: Than why do all the bubbles I lose for trolling come with 4 day bans? The comments couldn't even possibly be construed as trolling, just really good points that would leave fanboys reaching for the Preparation H!

Vaud-Villian2857d ago

How is a 2.2gb demo highly compressed?

Anon19742857d ago Show
specialguest2857d ago

I can't believe BioWare gave us an inferior version, after a year of the original 360/PC release, and claimed it to have enhanced graphics. Bullsh*t!

thats_just_prime2857d ago

As you really shock that Bioware is doing a half ass port of the game ? They never wanted it on the ps3. EA is forcing them into doin this.

HolyOrangeCows2856d ago (Edited 2856d ago )

At least one thing can be definitively said: They cleaned up the ugly lighting engine.
I'll be waiting for comparison to the RETAIL version.

"Better framerate (X360-30 PS3-26 dips)"
You read the video still and made an assumption.
Try reading the article.
(I'm sure the selected still was just coincidental, though......RIGHT, Eurogamer? Sure...)

Big_Dom2856d ago

@ Newmonday.

Someone else on here that hasn't a clue how things work? Not a surprise. You say Id's Tech 5 will be good for multi plat and that it will be best used because of Bluray? Are you aware that bluray is only a medium storage device rather than hardware that actually number crunches and outputs textures on to your TV? It's the GPU and RAM that matter when it comes to megatextures, not the medium it is stored on. What is the point of being able to store thousands of super high res textures, if the hardware displaying them at their native resolution isn't capable? Like all of Carmack's engines, he builds them with the PC specifically in mind. Consoles won't be able to get anywhere near what Tech 5 can do on a PC. Some of you lot still think a 5 year old tech inside the PS3 is still some sort of super computer sent from the future or something. Go and Google the term Moore's Law and enlighten yourselves.

As for your statement about porting Unreal to another engine entirely, think about what you are saying.You can't port a completely different engine to has completely different script to that of something else. That's called a complete re-write. To do what you are suggesting is as good as starting from the ground up, where the differences would be so tiny, it would be pointless. Why? Because the art style of ME wouldn't change. There's no need to change it. And again, if they were to use a different engine, the artists would have to start from scratch. Pointless.

@Organization XII

I see why you've only one bubble there, mate. The amount of gash contained in your first post is clear. You state that UE3 "sucks" then go on to say that you've a PC powerful enough to run ME2, so I assume you can run that game at levels that put it above and beyond what consoles can display it at, which means, going by how good ME2 looks in the first place, that that is not something to turn your nose up at. You then compare that to a FPS that isn't even on the market yet. Two completly different genres with two completely different looking art styles. You got those bubbles ripped from you because you're not too bright and somewhat biased.

Ju2856d ago (Edited 2856d ago )

"It's the GPU and RAM that matter when it comes to megatextures, not the medium it is stored on"

This would quite be true if you would have a machine which cannot stream data efficiently and thus must hold all texture data in VRAM.

However, this is not the case with the PS3. Basically what you need to store in VRAM is the textures you can actually see at the very point in time, not the whole scene. Everything out of sight would be a waste of space to fill the VRAM with.

That said, in this context 256MB can be plenty.

A Blue Ray helps because simply you can use plenty of uniques textures (and resolutions) giving the environments a very unique look without the need to reuse those textures because of storage limitations.

Of course, in between you have a HDD where you can cache per scene data, and stream those into XDRAM/VRAM ASAP you need them. These are challenges for the engines, sure, but it illustrates why a 5 year old console can't just be seen as "not enough VRAM and not fast enough GPU".

If you have a streaming pipeline, it is also more likely you'd pre-process those textures with the CELL before the GPU even sees them (e.g texture filters on CPU instead of GPU, etc).

Sony3602856d ago

Ps3 fan response template:

"Well so what...we get to play *list unreleased game*."

Copy and paste it for your comments, save yourself some time.

ProjectVulcan2856d ago (Edited 2856d ago )

TBH 256mb VRAM hasnt been 'plenty' in games since about 2004.

Most Pc games from the past few years will easily use over 512mb, many of them 800mb plus. Some even more than 1GB- this is even at lower resolutions too!

Mass effect 2 in particular can use over 500mb on Pc- and UE3 is considered quite efficient for memory management. The consoles are not great platforms for streaming technology, PS3 is best because it has a hard drive as standard. However most of them are very slow, small laptop drives with slow RPM. You have to develop for the lowest common denominator.

No matter how good your data streaming/virtual memory technology is more memory is ALWAYS better. There is a saying in techland and it goes something like this:

Memory is like an orgasm, its much better if you dont fake it....

+ Show (15) more repliesLast reply 2856d ago
Pixel_Enemy2857d ago

How many more of these comparisons do we need...

Simco8762857d ago

Until the fanboys kill each other in a war that means nothing.

Pixel_Enemy2857d ago

Here's to hoping that when the dust settles, none are left standing

Dante1122857d ago

Hopefully, I miss the old gametrailers forum.

Zir02857d ago

It should be superior, its using the ME3 engine. I guess the 360 will look far superior in ME3 if the PS3 can only match the 360s ME2 graphics.

Pixel_Enemy2857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

you try so hard to convince yourself that the 360 is better than the PS3 in every way. You really need to own both consoles so you can know the truth. It all boils down to the games you prefer. If you like 360 exclusives then fine, more power to you.. But the PS3 is not inferior hardware by any means..

dragon822857d ago

I just got done playing the demo and it looks exactly like it does on my 360 which I play on the same tv with the same settings.

Dante1122857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

@ rww

Appears that way. So it's a mixture of somethings looking better on the PS3 while others the same or a tad lesser than the 360 version.

Better framerate (X360-30 PS3-26 dips)
Better Effects (Said PS3's seems a little toned down in some scenes, very subtile though)
Better environments in some instances
Handles screen tearing better

Slight Better Graphics overall
Better Detailed Characters
Better Shadows
Said somethings seem ironed out from the 360 version.

Solid port (Most ports are usually terrible, e.g, Black Ops)?

P_Bomb2857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

Whoa, you're wrong about one BIG thing.

They NEVER said the 360 had better framerate. They said the PS3 does. I'll quote before the misinformation starts:

"...with v-sync dropped on PlayStation 3 but a higher FPS throughout overall. An uncapped frame-rate produces some unexpected spikes in the graphs."

PS3 unlocks the framerate to keep it running smoother during dips to below 30fps (a dip which happens on both consoles) and THIS causes the occasional tear. The 360 doesn't tear the same but drops frames harder and more often because of it, especially in cutscenes.

Watch the video from 1:23, the PS3 version hits 34, 42, 46, 36 and 48 fps while the 360 one stays at 30. It's right there on the screen.

Dante1122857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

Dang, my bad P_Bomb (Showed as one blank space on PS3, should've ran plug-ins instead of just canceling). Bubbles up.

Better Effects
Better environments in some instances
Handles screen tearing better

Slight Better Graphics
Better Framerate Overall
Better Detailed Characters
Better Shadows
Somethings seem ironed out from the 360 version.

Solid Port indeed. Just report the upper one as spam.

P_Bomb2857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

All good brother, no harm no foul ;)

Some more examples for the heck of it, at the 4 min mark the PS3 hits 38, 44, 32, 36 fps too while the 360 stays at 30...but then you see the trade off where it dips to 26fps etc.

Right after though the PS3 is back up to 38, 34, 36, 40 fps. The 360 dips too (24 fps at 5:06) but stays at 30 most of the time, never going higher.

NinjaAssassin2857d ago

You guys act like an uncapped framerate is a good thing when in reality it just gives the game a jittery, jerky feeling.

I would take a lower, stabler framerate any day over a framerate that is all over the place going from the 20s to 40s. The more solid the framerate the better. The framerate in the 360 build sticks much more closely to 30fps and that gives it a more solid, stable feeling.

P_Bomb2857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

You saying that going below 30fps is better than going over? How is the 360 dropping to 24 fps occasionally more solid than the PS3 going up to 36 occasionally?

GOW3 does the same variable framerate thing strategically. Even GT5 fluctuates but they're never jittery transitions. You act like it's going from 20fps to 45fps to 25fps in 3 seconds but that's not the case.

I ALWAYS unlock the framerate in BioShock 1 & 2 via the options and guess what, it looks better and smoother imho with only the same occasional tearing as a sacrifice. Defending ME2 dropping to 24fps in those clips where the PS3 stays at 30 is not what I'd call more solid.

Vherostar2856d ago

Its not hes just looking for a hole here.. This is the first real comparison we have had off experts in all departments too and this is just the demo!

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 2856d ago
firelogic2857d ago

The real question is, how old is the demo build?

r1sh122856d ago

what they are clearly doing is testing slight changes in the game engine too see how people adapt/like them.
If they do like the changes, they will be fully implemented into mass effect 3.
Rather than making a bad port, they are using the PS3 version to test out possible mass effect 3 game engines/physics engines etc......
Rockstar did the same thing with the GTA DLC.

@NYC gamer...Its just little tweaks so people find it harder to comapre the two.

Koolno2856d ago

it's almost everytime a tie, called "superior" only by xfanboys (and xbox's fanboys sites) and when it's a ps3 superior version, it's a tie...double standard, like reviews :)

but the most important thing, even if it's a tie : ps3 has one of the better xbox game, when xbox don't have most of best games/goty of this generation (ps3 exclusives)

samuraiX2856d ago (Edited 2856d ago )



From the article:

"The hexagonal pattern on Miranda's skintight suit appears to be of a higher resolution on PS3"

Textures shadows and lighting look slightly better on the PS3.

its an improvement, well done Bioware!

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 2856d ago
Karooo2857d ago

Its an unreal engine 3 game, good to see the PS3 version perform well.

Killzone 3 engine will show what it can really do

dkgshiz2857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

Will probably be better then KZ3. In a lot of areas. KZ2 still has some of the best lighting Ive ever seen in any game. Any who. No more comparisons please. We already had like 5+ ME2 comparisons today.

GodofSackboy2857d ago

Agreed. 2 years after it was made, I still haven't seen anything that beats Killzone 2 graphically, well, Uncharted 2 pretty much matched it, but didn't beat it. The lighting on 2 was just immense, I could stand there for ages, just in awe of the suns rays shining through rubble, it was georgeous. If they can even improve the graphics a teensy little bit on Killzone 3, it will be by far and away the best looking game ever. Until Uncharted 3 comes out =D

Statix2857d ago

Personally, I felt Killzone 2 was a more impressive technical showcase than Uncharted 2 (more physics and AI and particle systems... more complex lighting system). Although Uncharted 2 was arguably more polished, and pushed higher polygonal detail.

KZ3 and UC3 will both undoubtedly be stunning showcases of the PS3's capabilities.

Ju2856d ago (Edited 2856d ago )

If what Guerrilla says is true - KZ2 level in KZ3 engine only runs with 50% resources - than KZ3 basically doubled what KZ2 did. UC3 has to step it up significantly to beat that. I also think, both UC2 and KZ2 are on the same level, slight edge to UC2, but most is due to the art style used in either one and hard to compare. Physics and lightning KZ2, draw distance and character models UC2.

What I am more curious about though is one particular game and that will be inFamous2. The latest videos were impressive. They have nailed down a lot of things in version two: AA has been improved, physics (now a lot of things are desctructible), scope/draw distance seems to be improved. Hard to tell from the videos, but I think it is another candidate reaching the realms of UC2/KZ2 - but what's so interesting about this is, that it is an open world game. Both UC2/KZ2 (and version 3 of those) are still corridor games (even with a huge scope). But inFamous is open world.

As such, this could be an example how a game like ME could use a sophisticated engine in a large environment (not sure if even needed, the ship levels in ME are still corridors - with low textures: shiny metals and glass).

MarcusFenixITA2857d ago

It gets ridiculous with all this comparisons. I haven't joined N4G just to see such BS every few minutes.

kreate2857d ago

u dont have to see them.

we all have our different opinions of what we want to see and what we dont.

MarcusFenixITA2857d ago

Yes, but I see them. There should be an extra thread for these few sad people who can't get enough of these comparisons. Wait for the final build of the game and we will see. But judging by a demo is not fair.

donkeydoo2857d ago

Awesome news but Lens of Truth broke this story last night and had the same results. Nothing New Move along.

Vherostar2856d ago

They had completely bogus results by showing completly differnt screens from every other site on the web. Then again they probably played with a dumbed down setup (e.g. not using HDMI to get full capabilitys) They have been pulled out for this before. They say it's all in fairness but ti's the reason some of there comparisons swing 360s way. As the PS3 was meant to be played via HDMI and 5.1 surround sound.

sp1deynut2857d ago (Edited 2857d ago )

...that the PS3 version was actually built with ME3/UE3.X engine. We've seen what EPIC has improved from Gears 2 to Gears 3 with their engine upgrade...but no such improvements can be seen here. Still a solid port, but no dramatic...if ANY...improvements worth noting, over the 360 version. This is like Bioshock all over again.

morganfell2857d ago

It depends on what you say is an improvement. You have to look close at a lot of titles where they run the U3 engine and it at first appears there are improvements.

Usually there are just better trades. More detailed characters main screen and in the foreground, lower res textures in the background and environments that lack in comparison to the previous title. A lot of games running consecutive engines do this. Not all, but quite a few.

If you look at the PS3 version in motion you can see the work that has been done. Unlike the deceptive screens published last night that were ripped apart over at Neogaf, the video shows the differences.

Active Reload2857d ago

Its probably part of the deal Bioware had with Epic and all other engine licensees that use UE3. More than likely EA/Bioware had to pay a hefty price to bring over all the assets or modify the UE3. When that happens they pretty much pay for the engine and do whatever they want with it. The catch is, they don't get any of the updates that Epic researches and develops for the UE3. And the reason Gears 3 looks so amazing is because its Epic's game and engine. Plus MS probably throws a shit load of money at the development of Gears.