BioShock on PlayStation3 is a classic example of a great game compromised by a disappointing conversion. It’s like a textbook rendition of what’s typically wrong with the poorer ports onto the Sony platform: lower, wildly fluctuating frame rate, lower resolution, and zero appreciable bonus content (that you don’t have to pay for) despite a wait of 12 months for the port. Plus a horrible blur on top of all that. The game has just been patched to remove its occasional lower resolution textures, its white bar that surrounds cut-scenes and numerous other small glitches. Code for the inclusion of the new Challenge Rooms DLC (the content that PS3 owners really should’ve got for free, in the box) is also there.
Some users have reported clearer resolution and smoother gameplay, making BioShock PS3 the game it really should’ve been from the outset. Time to put these claims to the test, Digital Foundry-style.
So, any enhancements to the game engine’s performance? Time to run a sample from the game’s lovely intro sequence through the Digital Foundry frame analyser in both pre-patch and post-patch formats.
Pre-Patch Result: 25.380fps average
Patch Results: 25.174fps average
3781 frames analysed in the total sample, just 13 more unique frames in the patched version clip. I think we can safely say that any engine performance enhancements have been minimal - all games vary slightly in the video outputs and this can be down to many reasons… randomised parts of the engine script (flickering lights, water/fire and particle effects, camera shake etc), maybe even background OS requirements. What I did notice however - in one instance, at least - is a reduction in texture streaming times. My current save position for this game lags streaming in textures as soon as the save game has loaded. This issue has been completely cleared up in the patched game.