Xbox 360 vs. PS3 Face-Off: Round Five • Page 4

Once more unto the breach, dear friends...

Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer

Let there be no doubt, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is an even more terrible movie adaptation than either Transformers: The Game or Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. It's a fundamentally ugly, predictable and almost completely worthless piece of software, most notable for what must surely be the most tedious game design seen in any full-price title of recent times. It's also worthy of comment for the mind-numbingly stupid AI - this is a game where the world's greatest super team exhibit intelligence easily eclipsed by that of 1K Chess on the ZX81.

I could only find a brace of plus points in a game even more catastrophic than the coming of Galactus himself. First of all, the polygonised 3D interpretation of Jessica Alba is significantly superior to Transformers' frighteningly non-descript renderings of Megan Fox and secondly, perhaps somewhat shockingly, Rise of the Silver Surfer actually has decent 1080p support on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation.

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It's not real 1080p as such (simply a very-well scaled 720p) but hey - occasionally the game looks almost acceptable and at least the PS3's software scaling doesn't impact performance. But after that, there are no further surprises. Rise of the Silver Surfer returns to the lazier norms of cross-platform development by exhibiting rougher edges on PS3, and obviously runs at a choppier frame rate when any kind of movement approximating 'action' crops up on-screen. As you might imagine, it's also head-shakingly predictable when it comes to SixAxis compatibility, with the mandatory half-arsed motion sensor support kicking in when the awful 'fly through the tunnels as the Human Torch' interludes expose themselves.

Overall then, a genuinely distressing game on either platform. That I should have wasted a whole day playing it - twice - is indeed unfortunate, but the concept of a whole team of human beings having spent months of their lives creating it is nothing short of a senseless tragedy.

SEGA Rally

The overall concept behind this modern day interpretation of SEGA Rally is bang on the money. For far too long console rallying has been the preserve of soulless, simulation style gameplay. The notion of reviving AM3's original arcade approach is the right idea at the right time on the right hardware. That said, I have to admit that I just didn't feel the love that the rest of the Eurogamer team had for the final code, but regardless, SEGA Rally is an excellent example of cross-platform development.

It's definitely one of those cases where the comparison screenshots tell the whole story. One of the game's strongest aspects is its basic graphical loveliness, thanks in no small part to the luxuriant levels of detail both on the environments and the cars. In this respect, there is absolutely nothing that can separate the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game. Only in some of the blending effects can you really detect any kind of difference (PS3 looking a touch better), but even then, they're completely unnoticeable in-game.

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Both games weigh in with a 30fps update, but here's where things become more difficult to measure. Both versions suffer from v-lock tearing issues - it's how they maintain their constant frame-rate. Different levels suffer from the problem to different degrees, but the variance is cross-platform too. In all of our video captures, the PS3 version exhibited more tearing. It may well be that the action in those particular clips was more detail-intensive on PS3 (for example, more cars on-screen in those particular scenes we captured), but it seems unlikely, certainly when it was the case for every video capture we measured. It's far more probable that the PS3 game struggles a touch more than its 360 sibling in rendering the game. The difference isn't that pronounced and doesn't really affect any kind of enjoyment you might get from the game, but it's definitely there.

The only other notable difference concerns rumble. It's on 360, and coming to PS3 via an online patch when we're eventually allowed to have the DualShock 3 controller. To be honest, the rumble effects on the 360 game were hardly brilliant or immersive any way, and I barely missed them on PS3. I don't think I've yet played a racing game that manages to capture the feel of driving over gravel and dirt as well as Gran Turismo did in its rallying sections, and the controller in just about every other driving game since - this one included - feels lifeless by comparison.

Overall then, there's little to choose between these two games, provided you enjoy SRC's interpretation of what SEGA Rally should be in the first place. So check out the demo, and if it appeals, consider it a safe buy on either platform.

FIFA 08

While Pro Evolution Soccer remains the Xbox 360 football game of choice - for now - it's getting increasingly difficult to resist the many charms of EA Sports' licensed offering, with FIFA 08 being its most realistic and rewarding kickabout to date.

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The good news is that the game is virtually identical on both formats, making up just a tad for the laziness of the other EA Sports games we covered in the last round-up. Taking a look at the captured videos of FIFA in the action, the 360 game has a very slight graphical edge thanks to the implementation of anti-aliasing - something that is completely absent from the PS3 code. In terms of detail and fluidity, both games are appear to be pretty much like-for-like, and as per usual with EA Sports cross-platform development, the actual content and gameplay in both games is essentially identical.

We're going to be covering Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 in the next face-off, but the news from the trenches is not good for PlayStation 3 owners, with talk of troublesome frame rate issues and online 'difficulties' in dire need of patching. FIFA 08 on the other hand is an excellent game of football on either platform in the here and now - something well worth considering when making your purchasing decision.

Like this sort of thing? Then check out roundups four, three, two and one for additional analysis of the last year's PS3 and 360 multiformat titles.

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