Kung Fu Panda
I came to this game with a sense of profound dread. Movie tie-in games are notoriously awful and the notion of having to play through the same abysmal dross twice over for these features is swiftly developing into a genuinely sinister prospect. However, Kung Fu Panda is actually a very cute game and while I'm not sure I'd actually ever go so far as to recommend buying it, it's a solid rental prospect.
It's almost equally decent on both platforms too. As you can see from the comparison galleries, the overall look of the PS3 conversion is just about pixel-perfect compared to the Xbox 360 'original'. The only difference concerns the framerate. PlayStation 3 is locked to 30FPS, whereas the 360 code does its best to run at the more preferable, fulsome 60fps. The result is a better looking game for the Microsoft console, but the smoother update comes at a cost - there's some pretty awful screen tear to contend with. LEGO Indiana Jones is a good comparison in terms of the overall impact, and the v-lock mode in the Traveller's Tales game mirrors Kung-Fu Panda's PS3 performance pretty closely too.
There's also support for 1080i/p too - upscaled in both cases, running at 960x1080 on PlayStation 3, with the machine's hardware scaler expanding the image outwards to fill the full 1920x1080 output. This is fast becoming the standard for upscaling games on Sony's console and in most cases, it only becomes active if 720p is unticked on the XMB. The message from Sony and third-party developers is clear: we'll support your ancient 1080i HDTVs if we have to, but when it comes to 1080p, we're going to let your display do the donkey work.
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames
Mercenaries 2 isn't going to win any plaudits for basic technology. Calling the game 'last-gen' is perhaps pushing it, but there's no doubt that the graphics hardware of the consoles aren't being put to the sword here.
Any differences you might see between the two versions aren't exactly massive, with 360 owners getting the slightly better game. There's a 2.7GB, five-minute installation on PS3, but the overall experience when booting up the two games is effectively identical and the game's redeeming feature - online co-op - is equally present and correct.
Visually, the advantages of the Xbox 360 version are twofold: there's the inclusion of a depth-of-field effect (taking the form of a subtle blur the further 'into' the screen you go) along with an improved refresh rate. As both games target 30fps, and achieve it with no v-lock, that translates into an additional amount of screen tear on the PS3 game. Bearing in mind the overall lack of complexity in the visuals compared to other releases in the genre, that's a bit disappointing, but the fun you get from Mercenaries 2 is hardly derived from its visual appeal.
Opinion on this game's merits is massively divided to say the least, but at least the core of what makes this release so good, and indeed so bad, is the same on both consoles.
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