|Xbox 360||PlayStation 3|
|Surround Support||Dolby Digital||Dolby Digital, 5.1LPCM|
While there has been a real sense that series has been running out of gas in recent times, MotoGP 10/11 finally put things back on track. A massively overhauled handling mechanic takes centre stage, and a varied range of gameplay options have been added to take the game to a new audience beyond its hardcore following. As a result, MotoGP is easy to get into but also has a wealth of depth underneath its surface.
While the game itself isn't visually outstanding, it does feature a silky-smooth 60FPS update, along with some pleasing lighting effects, including an accomplished lens flare implementation and a subtle use of bloom. This, combined with some nicely detailed texture work makes for a more stylised and less mundane approach to the source material than you might expect.
As the comparison video demonstrates, there are quite a few differences in the visual presentation of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game. The 360 code operates at native 720p with 2x MSAA while the PS3 game sees a slight resolution drop to something close to 1280x704. There's also no anti-aliasing at all on this version of the game.
The small upscale needed to deliver a 720p image on screen usually has marginal repercussions for image quality but in concert with a couple of other factors, the difference can look quite pronounced. The obviously borked gamma calibration leaves the PS3 game looking rather washed out, while the lack of anti-aliasing means that the image is filled with plenty of shimmering edges as trackside scenery passes by: an effect amplified by the upscaling.
On the plus side, we see that the game's actual core art assets (textures, environment modeling etc) are basically the same across both formats. Texture filtering is also reasonably close as well. Neither version acquits itself that well here, but it seems to be the case that the Xbox 360 version is operating with a higher level of anisotropic filtering (AF).
Interestingly, we also see a distinct difference in the way lighting and specular (the sheen on shiny surfaces) are handled. In some of our shots lighting is cast from a completely different angle and intensity on the PS3 compared to the 360. While cloud coverage could be the root cause of this, we see the same thing happening in areas in which are seemingly identical. This is a technical curiosity really and nothing more.
Other differences can also be filed under "only noticeable if you're looking for it", such as variations in the shadow implementation. The RSX's hardware PCF (percentage closer filtering) is used for shadows on PS3, giving a somewhat jittered look, while Xbox 360's implementation sees dithered penumbras being used for a slightly more refined effect. The only other real effect where we saw any kind of difference was in the water reflections, which seem to be running with higher precision on Xbox 360.
In terms of performance MotoGP runs at a smooth 60FPS for the most part, but it's clear that taxing environments and multiple bikes on-screen can stress the engine on both versions, causing frame-rate drops and screen-tear. In these situations, it's the Xbox 360 game that has the performance advantage. In any case, the game's fluid refresh is only impacted upon for very short periods at a time, and in most situations it does little to distract from the racing action. 360 owners get a slightly more consistent experience (though oddly, the pre-race cinematic appears to show a PS3 advantage) but the game still feels smooth and responsive on the Sony platform.
In the end MotoGP is a solid release on both formats, delivering a far more accomplished interpretation of a proper motorbike racing sim than last year's outing. The 360 game is definitely the more graphically accomplished of the two, looking sharper and featuring less in the way of performance dips, but at the same time it's important to point out that the game is perfectly playable on the PS3, and on some tracks the differences are far less pronounced - the core assets are, after all, identical. Both come recommended, but the 360 version is the one to go for if given the choice.