Fallout 3: 360 Patch Shines... Literally

Fallout 3. One of the most hotly controversial cross-platform projects of 2008, the PlayStation 3 version in particular came in for plenty of criticism owing to its often-poor frame rate - though Digital Foundry was somewhat more even-handed in its Eurogamer assessment at the tail-end of last year.

It turned out that Xbox 360 version, despite its superior frame rate and full-on 4x MSAA, had flaws of its own - notably some inferior textures when viewed close up, along with a lack of specular maps on the monsters and characters, resulting in a somewhat flat look compared to the other versions of the game.

As it happens, the latest Fallout 3 patch isn’t just preparation code for the upcoming DLC… one of the small issues with the launch 360 game has been addressed: the specular maps are back. Perhaps the omission was simply a bug? Or perhaps not, because while the effect has been replaced in the more obvious locations, elsewhere it is still absent. But regardless, it’s an obviously welcome addition for 360 owners, and we presume that the upcoming DLC will be looking as good as it can possibly be. Nice.

Speculars are back. In certain places, at least. This polished effect was incorporated into the PS3 and PC versions of the game, but only now, post-patch, is it seen in the 360 code...
However, it’s not all good news. The lower resolution textures, only really apparent when viewed close-up, remain as they were on 360, with PS3 still having the edge.

And here’s a nice YouTube HD slideshow video with these images, and many more. See what’s improved, and what isn’t in full 720p HD… be sure to hit that full-screen button.

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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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