The support that PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 continue to receive is really unprecedented. While it's not uncommon for older platforms to remain supported years after they've been replaced, it's rare to find so many of the latest AAA releases appearing across multiple generations. Those of us that are quick to jump to the latest hardware would never dream of going back and playing these games in a compromised state but, for many people, it's the only option. The important question here: are these games really playable and enjoyable on last-generation consoles? Or is a PS4 or Xbox One upgrade now effectively mandatory?
Dragon Age: Inquisition is an interesting release, then, as it marks the beginning of BioWare's new Frostbite 3 initiative and was designed first and foremost for the new console generation. At first glance, it's clear that from a visual perspective, the last-generation edition is a huge step back from other versions of the game. Many of the finer details are lost in this translation leaving the game looking somewhat plain and garish in comparison. While the same basic art direction still shines through, stripping away the polish lavished upon the more advanced versions of the game definitely has an impact on the experience. Yet, this isn't an action game, nor have BioWare's previous console efforts shone as a beacon of excellent performance. So there's an interesting opportunity here - this new title may not match the full next-gen experience, but it could well improve upon the mixed performance of previous Dragon Age titles.
As noted, this is a Frostbite 3 game and, as such, it's not surprising that the PS3 and 360 versions of the game share a lot in common with previous titles built using this technology. As with Battlefield 4, the game operates at 1280x704 resolution - basically 720p with eight pixels subtracted from the top and bottom - with a pair of comparable anti-aliasing solutions. The PS3 version uses an MLAA seen in the Battlefield games, while Xbox 360 features a standard FXAA implementation. The game is sharper but more aliased on PS3 while FXAA delivers a smoother, yet blurrier, image. The 360 version also includes an optional install disc which, as with other Frostbite games before it, allows for higher quality assets in line with the PS3 version.