Xbox 360 vs. PS3: Multiformat Face-off • Page 5

We compare and contrast the PS3's 360 ports.

Need for Speed Carbon

Electronic Arts' unstoppable franchise juggernaut nitro-boosts onto the PlayStation 3 with a conversion that is (perhaps predictably) extremely close in most respects to its Xbox 360 sibling.

Graphically there's little to distinguish between the pair of them - the 3D geometry for the cars and landscapes is identical, with only subtle changes to the lighting and motion blur effects dividing the two games. There are a range of less significant visual differences (the slipstreaming effect from cars ahead of you for example) and while the Xbox version looks ever-so-slightly better, it's barely noticeable and mostly irrelevant.

The frame rate has always been something of a contentious issue on next-gen Need for Speed games - with the conceptually and graphically excellent Most Wanted compromised heavily on 360 owing to an ever-shifting, wobbling sense of motion. Things are improved in that area with Carbon, and the PlayStation 3 version seems to be slightly better still - the occasional stop-start jerkiness in the 360 game a little less noticeable on the Sony console.

The developers at EA have also added a couple of cute touches to the PS3 code, adopting the Sixaxis tilt function to allow you to steer a little more heavily around corners in addition to your fiddlings with the analogue controller. It's hardly a killer app, but we've all seen kids so involved in their driving that they're twisting the controller about to improve their cornering prowess - with PS3 Carbon such dramatics actually make a difference.

But what EA gives with one hand, it takes with other. The 360 version of the game allows you to pause during any race, pan and zoom around your motor, take a cool snap and upload it. This feature has been omitted from the PS3 version of the game. Hardly disastrous in the greater scheme of things, but certainly a little mystifying.

Overall then, the latest conversion of Need for Speed Carbon - the seventh to hit home consoles, excluding handheld and mobiles - isn't bad at all. Not really any better nor any worse than the 360 version - though to be honest, I'd much rather prefer a spruced-up, tidied-up Most Wanted on the Sony console.

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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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