Xbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 27

Singularity, Transformers, Tiger, Harry and After Burner.

Welcome back to the Digital Foundry/Eurogamer cross-format Thunderdome. Two games enter, one game leaves. Usually.

Yes, once again it's time to put the latest multi-platform console titles under the microscope with full Digital Foundry commentary, performance analysis, high quality comparison videos, screenshots and a whole bunch of bonus facts 'n' figures: the full monty, the whole nine yards, the full shooting match, nothing added, nothing taken away.

Just the five games this time, but we manage to tick off all the major releases of recent times, while including coverage of an all-time arcade classic updated for the HD generation.

We're in the midst of a long, hot summer and it's fair to say that the torrent of "AAA product" has been reduced to a trickle, but we'll be back soon with further analysis: Kane and Lynch 2 in particular is looking pretty tasty...

Singularity

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3
Disc Size 6.3GB 6.46GB
Install 6.3GB (optional) 1447MB (installs as needed)
Surround Support Dolby Digital Dolby Digital, 5.1LPCM, 7.1LPCM, Dolby Digital

After dusting off the aged idTech 4 engine for Wolfenstein, Raven Software has returned to the more familiar ground of Unreal Engine 3 for its latest first person shooter, Singularity. This is a very cool, really neat game. Sure, in many ways it's somewhat derivative - but the combination of some nice ideas with a range of fun weaponry makes it a game highly worthy of consideration.

The utilisation of UE3 means that there's no real comparison technologically speaking with the company's previous work on Wolfenstein. As you might expect, the technical profile of the game is far closer to other well-produced Unreal Engine titles such as Batman: Arkham Asylum. What that boils down to is a game that looks great on both platforms, with very little variance, as you'll see in this comparison video - remember to use that full-screen button.

Singularity PS3/360 comparison video.

It's pretty much as close as close can be. There's a bunch of UE3 "gotchas" you can look for in these cross-format comparisons but the only one that's relevant to Singularity is the use of anti-aliasing.

Unreal Engine 3 on Xbox 360 typically features 2x multi-sampling anti-aliasing which is absent on PlayStation 3. The difference isn't as impactful in other games, because the filtering is seemingly done fairly early on in the rendering cycle: all elements added afterwards have no AA at all, meaning that the overall effect on the final image is somewhat selective. In all other ways, the game looks like a match on both platforms.

So, how's the performance level then? Let's roll out the analysis tools on a selection of captures and see what we can see. Usual form here: green line indicates 360 frame-rate, the blue is for PS3. Tear lines on the top of the graph tie in with the 360 version while the bottom of the graph is for the Sony platform.

Singularity PS3/360 performance analysis.

Once again, typical Unreal Engine 3: a small, but noticeable advantage for the Xbox 360 in comparison to the PS3. Both games target 30FPS and will drop v-sync when the scene is challenging, resulting in varying levels of screen-tear according to load. Tests indicate that similar to most UE3 titles, 360 commands a small but significant advantage.

In terms of how this affects the overall gameplay experience and the purchasing decision, the reality is that aside from a bit more tearing on PS3 and the odd extra "jaggy", the two versions of the game are very, very close indeed, and equally recommended.

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