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Face-Off: The Chronicles of Riddick

PS3 vs. Xbox 360 vs. PC.

For a game that relies so much on its lighting, the good news is that Riddick is feature-complete on PS3. Anti-aliasing is in too, although once again it's the quincunx variation that matches the edge-smoothing of 360's more memory-intensive 4x multi-sampling AA, but comes at the cost of adding a blur to the entirety of the texture detail. In the case of Riddick, this is magnified somewhat by the reduced resolution and also the grain/noise filter.

Although significantly improved over The Darkness, resolution is still sub-HD: 1024x720 to be precise, giving 360 a clear 20 per cent boost in detail. Most sub-HD games tend to render the image at the lower resolution before magnifying the image up to 720p and adding additional elements like the HUD and on-screen text (thus keeping those finely detailed elements looking good and crisp). Riddick on the other hand simply uses the PS3's hardware scaler to enlarge the entire frame-buffer sideways - easily noticeable as the text is considerably chunkier and fatter than it is on 360.

Overall impressions are that the PS3 version passes muster, but it's significantly blurrier than the 360 build and there are other cutbacks too - the most notable being the paring down of transparent textures (for example, fences). Polygon tearing in the demo has been identified as a reason for preferring the look of the PS3 game, but the fact is it's in that version too - it's simply less noticeable owing to the resolution upscale and quincunx blurring. Also curious is that the 360 release comes with a range of video profiles that allow you to subtly change the look and post-processing of the game's visuals. These are absent in the PS3 code.

Performance in Riddick is approximate on both platforms, but 360 still commands a marginal advantage.

Frame-rate analysis shows little in the way of surprises. The video is a series of clips taken from the same areas in-game, pretty much the accepted standard for non-synthetic benchmarks on PC gaming sites (just not as pretty as ours). In an ideal world you'd be replicating gameplay 100 per cent, but this isn't possible, and even comparison of engine-driven cut-scenes is not ideal as an indicator of performance in-game.

As it is, both versions are v-locked and occasionally drop below the target 30fps, but by and large, they're like for like. Curiously, the engine seems to exhibit weaknesses applying motion blur and tone-mapping simultaneously - so while for the most part the 360 game runs at a solid 30fps, spinning about often incurs a frame-rate hit. For its part, the PS3 version is similarly affected but is prone to dropping a few more frames a bit more often. Noticeable? Yes. Impactful? No. Overall, this aspect of the game isn't an issue: the frame loss isn't hugely significant on either console, but more than that, Riddick isn't a twitch-shooter: it doesn't need lightning fast response anyway.

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About the Author

Richard Leadbetter avatar

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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