Welcome back to the latest in Eurogamer's continuing range of Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 comparison features, designed to provide additional commentary to the original Eurogamer reviews for each release, while doubling up as an ongoing commentary on the state of cross-platform game development in the new era of high definition gaming.
Supplementing our views are in-depth technical analyses of the titles at hand, backed up by high quality screenshots of each game only possible in the new digital AV age. Lossless 24-bit RGB frame grabs are ruthlessly swiped from the HDMI ports of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Elite using a Digital Foundry HD capture station, the only kit available built from the ground up for videogames in high definition. 720p 'screens' are taken as a matter of course, with 1080p shots also grabbed for comparison purposes when the game in question supports it on PlayStation 3 (that'll be just one then in this feature).
Yes, you're all waiting for the GTAIV face-off, and we have something special lined up for that, but in the meantime, perhaps we can tempt you with this delicious range of cross-platform fancies?
- NFL Tour
- Dark Sector
- Soldier of Fortune: Payback
- SEGA Superstars Tennis
- MX vs. ATV Untamed
- Turning Point
- Condemned 2: Bloodshot
- Viking: Battle for Asgard
Thanks once again to the Beyond 3D Forums' Quaz51 for additional, invaluable technical analysis on this feature's gaming roster.
There's not really too much you can add to Tom's Xbox 360 review here, NFL Tour really is a stupefyingly bad game; a searing indictment of just how bad the EA BIG sports brand has become, and a new low for the franchise after a smattering of mostly mediocre releases. Gone indeed are the heady days of SSX Tricky, where EA BIG was synonymous for building up a solid, wonderfully executed arcade experience that appealed to all. NFL Tour really is the nadir of the series, basically taking the form of a dumbed-down, stripped-back Madden title, presumably designed to be 'more accessible' to those put off by the depth of EA's premiere US sports series.
However, NFL Tour is still EA, and therefore worthy at least of the courtesy of checking it out, if only to see if the company is tightening up its cross-platform development in the wake of resurgent PS3 sales. The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding 'no'. It's basically another example of the firm developing with Xbox 360 first and foremost in its mind, with little respect at all given to the matter of the PS3 conversion.
Similar to Madden NFL '08 (which I suspect has bequeathed a certain amount of its coding DNA to this project), the Xbox 360 version runs pretty solidly at 60 frames per second, while the PS3 version is closer to 30fps. That's if it reaches 30fps at all, with the pre-game fly-bys lurching and jerking horribly when compared to the super-smooth 360 release. While the drop in frame-rate didn't seem to have that much of an impact on the gameplay in Madden NFL 08, in a game that's supposedly based on a more arcade-style mode of action, the disparity between the two versions is more immediately apparent.
So, back to the drawing board for EA, and once again, a heartfelt appeal from this writer for the company to get Criterion working on a PS3/360 revamp of SSX as the first phase in revitalising the BIG brand.