de Blob 2
|Xbox 360||PlayStation 3|
|Surround Support||Dolby Digital||Dolby Digital, DTS, 5.1LPCM, 7.1LPCM|
de Blob 2 was something of a sleeper hit on Nintendo Wii, and with the sequel THQ has expanded the reach of the franchise, with PS3 and Xbox 360 SKUs joining the fray. The result is very impressive: the cartoon style of the visuals works beautifully when rendered in HD and the 60Hz frame-rate is welcome too.
Moving de Blob onto the HD platforms was a smart play by THQ. Think of this game as a humorous, interactive CG adventure backed by an extraordinarily addictive concept that appeals to everyone regardless of age - it's like the video games equivalent to a Pixar movie. Regardless of platform, you really should check it out. In an age where so many games are so similar, a release as different and refreshing as this one deserves to be treasured.
Bearing in mind the origins of the game, it's interesting to note that there are some key differences between the 360 and PS3 versions, the extent of which should become apparent when you look at the head-to-head video.
We often find instances where one version of a particular release has a resolution deficit in comparison with the other and it's usually the Xbox 360 game that has the advantage, but curiously this is not the case with de Blob 2. The PS3 game is clearly operating at native 720p with 2x multi-sampling anti-aliasing (MSAA), while the Xbox 360 version is lower, in the region of 1152x640 (again with 2x MSAA). Owing to the nature of the artwork, the games still look close, but 360 definitely appears blurrier. Bloom-style post-processing on the edges does hide the uglier upscaling artifacts, however.
Performance-wise, there is not much to tell the two games apart. As expected, de Blob 2 operates at 60Hz on both platforms, ensuring smooth and responsive gameplay.
Interestingly, both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of de Blob 2 also include support for stereoscopic 3D and the implementation is actually so impressive that it's actually something of a must-buy if you own a 3DTV. The bright, brash colours and simplistic 3D models and environments gain so much in the transition to the third dimension and particles stand out beautifully. Camerawork is impressive.
The only downside is that the developers have had to limit frame-rate in order to support true stereoscopy. As you can see from the performance analysis, the fixed 60Hz refresh is halved to accommodate the additional rendering time. While this does have some impact on the game's fluidity, and the sensation that you're participating in an interactive CG movie, the depth given to the world and the objects in it more than makes up the deficit.
PlayStation 3 also has the advantage in this mode too. The implementation of full HDMI 1.4 means that a full 720p resolution is allocated to each eye, maintaining de Blob 2's pristine look. In contrast, the Xbox 360 game makes do with the same side-by-side 3D implementation seen in Call of Duty: Black Ops, meaning that pixels are horizontally expanded by a factor of 100 per cent when the display renders the image.
While the overall effect is still worthwhile, it's a shame that so much has been lost. PlayStation 3 loses half its frame-rate - the Xbox 360 game is impacted with reduced visual and temporal resolution, and the experience does suffer as a consequence.
In keeping with de Blob's origins on the Wii, the PlayStation 3 game also offers support for the Move motion controller, necessitating the use of a single wand plus the navigation controller (or DualShock3, if you can't handle its unwieldiness). While the support is welcome, control with the standard pad is just as good, mostly because Move's unique attributes are not actually used at all!
If you have a 3DTV, the PlayStation 3 release is a complete no-brainer - buy it, enjoy it and relish the beauty of the stereoscopic support, because it's one of the best 3D games currently available. In the 2D realm, the game is equally playable and enjoyable on either HD console, but again the PlayStation 3 rendition, with its higher-resolution, cleaner visuals, is the one to get. Let's hope that THQ rolls out a 3DS conversion.