After Burner Climax

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3
Disc Size N/A N/AGB
Install 495MB (mandatory) 527MB (mandatory)
Surround Support Dolby Digital Dolby Digital, 5.1LPCM, Dolby Digital, DTS

We'll round off with a game that is quite literally a blast from the past. After Burner was an astonishing arcade experience for gamers of a certain age: a heady combination of SEGA's Super Scaler technology combined with a mammoth hydraulic cabinet that made for the kind of quantum leap in the gameplay experience that effortlessly exceeded what the home computers and consoles of the period had to offer.

The 2006 coin-operated sequel, After Burner Climax, has translated across well to the HD consoles, and to be honest, based on the graphical spec of the arcade game, this isn't exactly difficult. Some nice art direction, super-fast gameplay and an uncompromised 60FPS frame-rate help hide the fact that it's actually a fairly basic game in terms of the graphical nuts and bolts. For example, lighting is hardly state of the art, while geometry levels on the landscapes are rather sparse to say the least.

So how does the game stack up graphically on both consoles? Here's the requisite Face-Off video: remember to use the full-screen button to get actual HD resolution. The bottom line though is that there's not much in it.

The basic spec of the arcade game basically means that there are no problems whatsoever in creating a nigh-on perfect copy on both consoles, with just one difference. The Xbox 360 version of Afterburner Climax features full-on 4x multi-sampling anti-aliasing while the PS3 game has absolutely none whatsoever.

So what of the performance factor then? After Burner Climax is an arcade shooter that thrives on low latency, ultra-fast response in terms of both controls and graphics. The good news is that once you've passed the in-game cut-scenes, After Burner operates at a completely uncompromised 60 frames per second, just like the arcade game.

On the face of it then, the games are entirely identical in execution with the anti-aliasing advantage enjoyed by the Xbox 360 version not something that is massively apparent in-game. Performance-wise, the conformity cross-platform is pretty astonishing and where it counts - during gameplay - both titles are locked at a perfectly v-synced 60 frames per second. This in itself, combined with the sheer speed of the game, helps to make the AA issue less visually apparent.

The real question then is one of value. After Burner Climax is a game that you will likely manage to complete on your first or second sitting. There are additional unlocks granted via Achievement-style tasks, plus of course there are multiple planes and a small handful of different routes through the game. However, it's fair to say that the arcade nature of the game means that actual replay value is limited: After Burner Climax is all about the experience, which sampled in short, occasional bursts, is plenty of fun.

That being the case, the current special offer to buy the PSN version for just 3.99 - which lasts until tomorrow, 21st July - makes the full-on 800 points of the Xbox 360 version an unappealing prospect. While it's on promotion, the PS3 version is something of a steal, making it the better buy. Once it returns to full price later in the week, the Xbox 360 game should work out a touch cheaper, plus you get the (mostly unnoticeable) boost to image quality too...

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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.