Digital Foundry
Supporter Program
Get access to   exclusive content unlimited 4K videos Discord Server Retro Corner Support us on Patreon Join now

Call of Duty: World at War Triple-Format Face-Off • Page 2

Don't mention the PC version.  

Just like Modern Warfare, World at War on both consoles maintains its high frame-rate by reducing the actual amount of resolution displayed in any given frame. So that'll be a base framebuffer of 1024x600, which is then scaled upwards to 720p, before stuff like the HUD and text is added. Anti-aliasing is used to smooth off unsightly edges and helps the resizing effect look more attractive (see The Darkness on PS3 for an example of how zero AA resized can look pretty grim).

World at War had two potential problems as far as I could see it. Firstly, Treyarch used somebody else's engine for this game; realistically we should prepare oursleves for lesser performance bearing in mind they're using tech courtesy of another, arguably better developer. Secondly, the new game pushes the engine with environments far more complex than those seen in Modern Warfare. My initial expectations were that the 360 game would perform much like PS3 Modern Warfare - diminished performance, but mostly undetectable perceptually. As for the PS3 version of the new game, that would be anyone's guess.

Those gut instincts were half-right, but the reality is actually more interesting, and more reassuring for PS3 gamers. It's clear that there's been a very serious attempt at optimisation on both platforms; corners have been cut in both versions but the work has been done intelligently, with practically zero detriment to the overall product. In fact, the most blatant example of paring down in the whole game can be seen here:

In this graphically demanding section, PS3 drops environment details significantly in order to keep the speed up while 360 maintains the detail of the PC version.

It's one of the most graphically challenging areas of the game, and while minor environmental objects are sometimes missing on the PS3 version, this is probably the only really noticeable section. Frame-rate on the more detail-packed 360 game collapses to an average of 41.59fps across the whole scene. PS3's reduction in detail makes it the only clip in the tests that I ran that actually runs marginally smoother than the equivalent 360 video: 42.13fps. That said, over a 39-second clip, 360's improved environments came at a cost of just 19 more dropped frames.

My PC struggled with a dire 29.49fps result, but more on the disappointments of that particular version later.

The 360 version's most obvious compromises basically come down to slightly less shiny textures and blurrier shadows. Both versions reduce texture quality at different times throughout the game

Scrutinising the captured video from both versions of World at War highlights an array of tiny changes here and there, but the most obvious differences concern texture quality and shadowing. The PlayStation 3 version of the game (like Modern Warfare before it) has better definition in its shadows, whereas the 360's are a touch more blurred in comparison. PlayStation 3 also seems to show what appear to be higher resolutions on items such as soldier uniforms, when viewed close-up.

The reflective textures are far more pronounced than they are on Xbox 360. We saw in the Fallout 3 comparison how the sheen/polish effect was almost totally absent in the 360 version of the game, making some objects appear flat in comparison to its sibling releases. Here it appears to have been used far more sparingly than on the PlayStation 3 version of the game, which in turn appears to be closer to the PC version.

There are plenty of examples of lower texture resolution on PS3 though - the soldier's boot in the video being a clear example. In short, both versions are nipped and tucked here and there in terms of visual quality, with neither having an overall advantage.

Will you support the Digital Foundry team?

Digital Foundry specialises in technical analysis of gaming hardware and software, using state-of-the-art capture systems and bespoke software to show you how well games and hardware run, visualising precisely what they're capable of. In order to show you what 4K gaming actually looks like we needed to build our own platform to supply high quality 4K video for offline viewing. So we did.

Our videos are multi-gigabyte files and we've chosen a high quality provider to ensure fast downloads. However, that bandwidth isn't free and so we charge a small monthly subscription fee of €5. We think it's a small price to pay for unlimited access to top-tier quality encodes of our content. Thank you.

Support Digital Foundry

Find out more about the benefits of our Patreon

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (107)

About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry  |  digitalfoundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.


You may also enjoy...

Far Cry 6 narrative director issues statement after politics backlash

"Our story is political. A story about a modern revolution must be."

Destiny 2 Vault of Glass guide, changes and everything else you need to know about the returning raid

Our complete walkthrough for Destiny's Vault of Glass raid, complete with boss strategies and combat tips.

Comments (107)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch