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Xbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 27 • Page 2

Singularity, Transformers, Tiger, Harry and After Burner.

Transformers: War for Cybertron

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3
Disc Size 6.6GB 7.82GB
Install 6.6GB (optional) 4761MB (mandatory)
Surround Support Dolby Digital Dolby Digital, 5.1LPCM, 7.1LPCM, Dolby Digital, DTS

Chalk me up as a fan of this one. Transformers: War for Cybertron isn't going to be challenging any of the massive AAA titles as an overall package, but it's simply great fun to play, even better in co-op and re-creates the world of Cybertron in a manner that an enormo-budget Hollywood blockbuster would find hard to match.

Gameplay might well be quite predictable, but the execution is cool, the weapons are fantastic, the range of "warrior robots in disguise" rocks and Megatron's Doctor Doom-esque dialogue is delightfully cool in a totally unhinged, megalomaniacal kind of way. I can see it gathering plaudits as something of a cult classic, and it was definitely one of the highlights in putting this feature together.

In terms of the PS3/Xbox 360 comparisons, the fact that Unreal Engine 3 technology is being utilised by developer High Noon should make for a pretty close cross-platform release, if the history of titles using the middleware is anything to go by, so let's check out the comparison video:

Transformers PS3/360 comparison video.

As you would expect from a game built upon a multi-platform middleware, there's not a great deal graphically to tell these two apart. As is usual for Unreal Engine 3 games, Xbox 360 gets a small dollop (that's a technical expression) of 2x multi-sampling anti-aliasing, while PS3 has none - but just like Singularity, it's not especially noticeable in this game.

Otherwise, in terms of the basic graphical make-up of the game, they're both much of a muchness. Shadow rendering is pretty much the main differentiating factor: they're darker and fatter on PS3, lighter and thinner on 360 - perhaps an offset bias issue there as appears to be the case on the 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII. Both versions sport SSAO (screen space ambient occlusion), but the radius is so tight that it's virtually unnoticeable except in the odd cut-scene, where it can look rather odd on both systems.

What is apparent additionally is that both versions of the game are not operating with a native 720p framebuffer. Transformers: War for Cybertron runs at 1024x600 or 1040x600 - definitely in that ballpark. Bearing in mind that few UE3 titles run at anything less than native 720p, this is something of a surprise (Midway's Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe being the only other example that springs to mind, and that runs at 60FPS).

So, both "teh jaggies" and specular aliasing (shimmer on the shiny bits, basically) look more pronounced than they would do in a native 720p title. Quite why there's any resolution reduction is something of a mystery. Detail levels are insane, but that's par for the course with Unreal Engine 3 - the tech itself is a great fit. There is some pretty far-out use of alpha transparencies which would have a performance impact though.

Aside from a gruelling, lengthy, 4.7GB (oof!) mandatory installation on PS3, performance is the only real difference between the two versions. However, in this respect, there's no doubt whatsoever that Xbox 360 offers the best experience.

Transformers PS3/360 performance analysis.

While frame-rates and controller response are almost identical between the two games, the Xbox 360 looks and plays like it's v-synced - just the odd handful of frames overshoot their rendering time, leading to a tear right at the very top of the screen on the odd occasion. The PS3 version on the other hand, tears pretty much all of the time, from top to bottom, severely impacting visual consistency.

Transformers: War for Cybertron is still a cool game regardless of platform, but the perceived jump in quality simply through implementation of v-sync has a startlingly positive effect on the game, so for that reason, if you have the choice of platforms, the Xbox 360 release is the one to get.

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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.


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