Lost Planet 2
|Xbox 360||PlayStation 3|
|Install||6.7GB (optional)||4566MB (mandatory)|
|Surround Support||Dolby Digital||Dolby Digital, 5.1LPCM|
The original Lost Planet was the first real workout we saw for Capcom's in-house Framework MT technology. Dead Rising augured well in terms of the firm's commitment to the HD consoles, but it wasn't until the company's next 360 release that we could really see what it was capable of in terms of art quality, lighting, motion blur and other advanced post-processing effects.
In a world where Unreal Engine was beginning to dominate, Lost Planet didn't just look cool, it looked different.
Unfortunately, Framework MT didn't work quite so well on PS3, and Lost Planet fared badly on the Sony platform: poor frame-rate, less responsive controls and inferior anti-aliasing weren't exactly what PS3 owners were hoping for when the game was eventually released on their console.
While Devil May Cry 4 redressed the balance somewhat, other Capcom tentpole titles such as Resident Evil 5 have clearly favoured the Microsoft machine.
Now with Lost Planet 2, Framework MT is back in a revised rendition, capable of better-looking visuals than we've seen before.
So how does the game look on both platforms?
Initial comparisons are favourable. In terms of texture quality, filtering and effects the games are both extremely similar to one another.
The only difference comes down to the usual variances in anti-aliasing. The old Framework MT games used variable levels of AA - anything from none at all to the full-on 4x MSAA on 360, depending on engine load, while PS3 would engage and disengage quincunx much more aggressively. For the revised Framework engine, Capcom has stuck to 2x MSAA on 360 and none at all on PS3.
Bearing in mind the amount of post-processing going on in this game, it's not so much of a big deal. Binning off quincunx (hopefully for good) with its art-blurring side effects means that the insane level of texture quality isn't compromised at all, and the games look that much closer across the two platforms.
However, all is not rosy when it comes how the games play. The performance analysis of cut-scene and gameplay excerpts allows us to gauge Lost Planet 2 frame-rate in both exact like-for-like scenarios, and also more generally in terms of gameplay.
The results are interesting in that we see the Framework MT engine operating in a very similar to fashion to Resident Evil 5.
So, with Xbox 360 we see a double-buffered setup (rendering one frame while displaying another) with a capped 30FPS that resorts to screen-tear when the game dips below that.
PS3 on the other hand is triple-buffered, and completely v-synced. This obviously incurs the usage of more memory (as three frames are required to be contained in RAM), but does eliminate tearing.
However, the analysis speaks for itself:
While Lost Planet 2 copes reasonably well with the icy domain of the initial levels, once we get into the rich jungles created for the sequel we start to see some big performance issues.
In the like-for-like video of the initial arrival for example, 360 seems to maintain 30FPS fairly effortlessly, but PS3 struggles rendering what is the exact same scene (sans anti-aliasing).
While performance is often parallel between the two systems, PS3 drops frames much more frequently than 360 tears. We saw exactly the same thing in Resident Evil 5, and while it seems Capcom has improved a touch since then, it's still extremely off-putting.
That being the case, aside from the customary mammoth Capcom install, Lost Planet 2 is essentially the same game on both platforms, and the new Framework MT update showcased in this release is clearly a step up from the older rendition of the tech, particularly in terms of the lighting.
However, improvements in PS3 performance have been slight, and it's disappointing that this has had such a marked impact on this particular game.
|Xbox 360||PlayStation 3|
|Surround Support||Dolby Digital||Dolby Digital, 5.1LPCM, 7.1LPCM, Dolby Digital, DTS|
Eurogamer's review of this game is pretty damning indictment of a title that struggles manfully to take on the franchise power of the Madden series, but collapses under the weight of an often illogical control system, locked camera angles, no "real" players and a paucity of features when compared with the EA colossus.
That said, the staggering lack of competition to Madden means that an alternative - any alternative - should be checked out, and thankfully there's a demo online allowing you to do just that.
Personally I found the game to be pretty unspectacular stuff, but it may be a different story for someone really into the sport. Certainly, the physics system is clearly a step ahead of the game.
Technologically speaking, Backbreaker's basic rendering package is hardly the stuff of awe compared with Madden - EA's slick, 720p60 visuals are in somewhat stark contrast to what we have here. Backbreaker appears to operate with an 1152x640 framebuffer on both platforms, with 2x multisampling anti-aliasing and a blur filter overlaid on top.
So does that level of parity extend to the overall appearance of the game?
Indeed it does - there's nothing at all that we could discern that would favour either version of the game over the other. Even the somewhat lacklustre performance from Backbreaker is basically the same: it's capped at 30FPS, but when there are plenty of players on-screen, you get the odd bit of screen-tear.
The lack of lateral motion combined the locked camera angle and the consistent colour scheme makes its presence really difficult to pick-up, and the sense you get from both versions of the game is that it's solid but unremarkable.
It's a sentiment that extends to the full game, really. They're uncannily similar, with only the enhanced audio options of the PlayStation 3 version offering any kind of tangible premium for one system over the other.
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