Black Rock Entertainment really deserves a great deal of credit for this game. Pure takes all the best from Rainbow Studios' once-great ATV Offroad Fury series and seamlessly melds it with a stunt/trick system that is shamelessly, and indeed gloriously, lifted pretty much verbatim from the legendary SSX Tricky. It's an unbeatable combination that must surely have caused much chin-stroking and introspective musing for MotorStorm creators Evolution Studios. Aside from being gloriously fun in a way that MotorStorm: Pacific Rift fails to match, Pure has all the technological advantages usually associated with a first-party game, but is of course available on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Happily, it's virtually identical on both platforms.
In fact, I think it's fair to say that if every cross-platform title was as close as Pure, there'd be little point running features like this one at all. When I compile the videos, there is a certain moment of truth once the HD versions of the movies start to render. My painfully-selected and synchronised clips play out frame by frame, side by side, in both composite and comparison modes and that's when you really see what the differences actually are.
In the case of Pure, there's a minute amount of screen-tear on the pre-event countdown noticeable on the PS3 version of the game, but if it encroaches into the actual gameplay it's tucked away in the overscan area where you're really not going to see it. A non-issue becomes a virtually non-existent one on 360, and I hesitate in mentioning it at all because in terms of image quality, frame-rate, gameplay - everything - Pure is indeed the supremely close conversion that Black Rock promised us.
PlayStation 3 owners get a very welcome bonus in the form of an optional installation that occupies a mere gigabyte of space on the hard disk, copies over in a snap and reduces the load time for each level. Not that loading time is exactly a major issue on either platform, but kudos once again to the developers for bringing this to the table for PS3 owners without forcing it down their throats.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles
One part Burnout Paradise, one part GTA IV, one part Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Rockstar has chosen its base gaming DNA very well indeed. Midnight Club: Los Angeles does a phenomenal job of recreating the world-famous locale, while at the same time producing a decent enough narrative and plenty of fun, intelligent racing albeit with a somewhat inconsistent difficulty level as you progress through the game.
Tom reviewed the PS3 version and while it's undoubtedly worth checking out on the Sony platform, the Xbox 360 rendition trumps it with graphical advantages that give it a clear edge.
Those advantages are pretty much self-evident. First of all, the 360 game is standard 720p, while the PS3 blows up a base 960x720 image sideways to fill the screen - a 33 per cent increase in detail for Xbox owners. Different anti-aliasing methods are invoked on both versions too. The Xbox 360 uses the tried and tested 2x multisampling AA, while the PS3 game uses a method called quincunx. Seen before - alas - in games like Assassin's Creed and Need for Speed: ProStreet, quincunx provides better-looking edges than MSAA, the disadvantage being that the entire texture is blurred. This, combined with the resolution deficiency (itself creating a blur due to the scaling) gives an obvious advantage to the Xbox 360 code.
For its part, the 360 game isn't beyond reproach either. Frame-rate drops not seen in the PS3 game crop up - but in the oddest of places. Some of the really impressive GPS zoom-ins jerk and judder once the car models appear, and even less stressful stuff such as in-game cut-scenes can also lose frames. Close-up zooms on the cars can also give the 360 code pause too - these are not resolved by using an NXE hard disk installation by the way, we checked. Crucially though, the actual gameplay itself seems to be lacking these problems, and that's far more important than the weirdness exhibited in the presentation elements.
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