Ghostbusters PS3 patch doesn't deliver 720p

But PS3 image quality gets a useful boost.

Terminal Reality has issued a new patch for Ghostbusters: The Video Game on PS3, which squashes multiple bugs, also sorting out "localisation issues", game freezes and audio/subtitle sync problems. Curiously, the press release also states that the game has received a visual upgrade, namely "an increase in resolution to match that of Xbox 360".

This was something I was rather curious to see. The launch version of Ghostbusters was pegged at a native resolution of 960x540, according to Digital Foundry's expert pixel-counter, MazingerDUDE. That's a massive gulf in detail level compared to the native 720p (1280x720) of the Xbox 360 version of the game. Engine performance in both versions was hardly super-smooth, so for the PS3 to maintain its current performance level in concert with a relatively enormous increase in resolution would've required an intensive, dedicated effort in optimising Terminal Reality's rendering tech.

In actuality, that effort hasn't fully materialised, and while the patch does take a couple of measures to improve image quality on the PS3 version of the game, our analysis is pretty much confirmed at a minor resolution bump up to 1024x576. This is still miles away from the Xbox 360 version, but Terminal Reality has also re-worked its anti-aliasing technique in order to significantly improve the clarity of the image. So, the NVIDIA Quincunx AA technique has thankfully been given the boot, helping to eliminate some of the Vaseline blur that blighted the launch PS3 version. In its place, Terminal Reality appears to have incorporated the same type of 2x multi-sampling AA (MSAA) used in the 360 game. In short: a definite improvement but still a disappointment.

If you want to see how this translates into pure image quality, look no further than this battery of comparison shots. In each case, you'll find the launch PS3 version on the top, the patched rendition in the middle and the full-res 720p Xbox 360 game on the bottom.

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Resolution comparison between the launch PS3 build, the patched version and the Xbox 360 game show that despite improvements, PS3 still haven't delivered proper 720p.

Performance of both console versions of the game is immensely variable, with plenty of dropped frames and a lot of screen tear, and the patch does nothing to improve this. Furthermore, the savagely hacked down textures in the PS3 version of the game remain just as they were in the initial release build.

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Terminal Reality make no claims for increased performance or improved textures in the new build, and indeed the visual quality in this respect remains unchanged.

Overall then, we have a somewhat ambivalent opinion of this new patch. The good news is that Terminal Reality has indeed made an effort to improve the look of the very disappointing PS3 build of Ghostbusters and in that respect, they do deserve some credit. Overall clarity gets a tangible boost thanks to the binning of Quincunx anti-aliasing in favour of MSAA, and the minor resolution bump adds to the effect too. However, dispatching press releases which promise parity with the Xbox 360 version when it is clearly still sub-HD is somewhat bewildering.

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About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

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.

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