If you’re already planning on purchasing Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes but you aren’t sure which platform to get it for (you lucky multi-console owner, you), there are two primary factors that are worth considering: graphics and exclusive content.
Ground Zeroes Graphics Comparison
The arrival of next-gen consoles spurs next-gen console wars, with manufacturers and loyalist fans alike fighting to defend their territory. Typically, this argument ends up being about graphics. Depending on who you ask, Xbox One has the best looking games in Ryse: Son of Rome and Forza Motorsport 5, or, it’s Killzone: Shadow Fall that gives PlayStation 4 the lead.
Given the similarity of the CPU architecture in both consoles, one of the best ways to compare relative performance is by looking at cross-platform games. So far, PlayStation 4 has taken the lead in this category; Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag all run at higher resolutions on PlayStation 4 with frame rates equal to or better than their Xbox One counterparts. Now, Sony can add Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes to its list of bragging rights as well. Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima confirmed that the PlayStation 4 version of Ground Zeroes runs at 1080p, and the Xbox One version at 720p--luckily for Xbox One owners, their version still hits 60 frames per second.
I've had firsthand experience playing Ground Zeroes on both consoles, but before I weigh in on the differences that I noticed, here’s Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes graphics comparison video for a bit of reference:
You can also direct download a less compressed version, available on Konami's website: http://www.konami.jp/mgs5/gz/en/products/compare.html
While the above video clearly distinguishes the resolution and frame-rate differences between current and next-gen platforms, there's very little time spent comparing the PlayStation 4 version against the Xbox One version. We already know the PlayStation 4 version of Ground Zeroes is technically better than the Xbox One, but Kojima cited the difference as "slight" in a tweet from a few weeks ago.
Let me be clear: the PlayStation 4 version is noticeably better, and when you compare it against the Xbox One version in person, there's more than a slight difference. I played both consoles on a ~ 36-inch LCD monitor from three to four feet away, and the impact of going from 1080p to 720p was obvious and pronounced.
Ground Zeroes on PlayStation 4 fulfills every expectation I have for next-gen games: full HD resolution (1080p), 60 FPS, detailed models, and advanced lighting. Eventually, I hopped onto an Xbox One. I was immediately struck by the downgrade in visuals. The frame rate and lighting effects were as impressive as the PlayStation 4 version, but everything looked rough around the edges. "Did they turn off anti-aliasing?", I asked a nearby Konami employee. "No," he said. When I continued to push for some sort of explanation, I got the answer we've heard time and time again since the consoles launched last year: the Xbox One version is only 720p.
I don't want Xbox One owners to feel like they're getting a poor version of Ground Zeroes, because it still looks impressive; it's just not as impressive as the PlayStation 4 version. There aren't many games that look this good, period, so you should still expect to be impressed by Ground Zeroes at 720p. However, if you have a choice, and graphics are of the utmost importance, the PlayStation 4 version is the one to get.
Platform Exclusive Mission Comparison
Graphics aside, the platform exclusive missions in Ground Zeroes are very different. Your preference for one or the other depends on the type of gameplay you prefer; the PlayStation mission is stealth oriented while the Xbox mission puts an emphasis on speed and action.
Here's footage of the exclusive PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 mission, titled "Deja Vu", designed to appeal to fans of the original Metal Gear Solid:
Alternately, Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners get to play an exclusive mission as Raiden, the series' favorite cyborg-ninja from the future, in the mission titled "Jamais Vu."
In Deja Vu (PlayStation), you have to reconstruct scenes from the original Metal Gear Solid for a cameraman onboard a nearby helicopter. This requires you to lure guards to specific areas and move vehicles, among other tasks. It's slower paced than Jamais Vu (Xbox), which puts you in Raiden's super-charged shoes. He may not wield a sword like he did in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, but he's noticeably faster than Big Boss, the main character in Ground Zeroes. Raiden's mission is more action oriented, too; intelligence reports indicate that some soldiers in Camp Omega are cyborgs, aka "snatchers," in disguise. Using Raiden's X-ray-like optical enhancements, you have to search for and destroy the snatchers on base while maintaining the usual level of stealth.
The preference for one mission over the other comes down to your personal tastes. Neither alters the overall story, existing purely to mix up gameplay and to offer a little fan service for Metal Gear veterans. The real question for anyone deciding between the two next-gen versions of Ground Zeroes: Will you be swayed by the PlayStation 4's superior graphics, or do you find the chance to play as Raiden so appealing that you're willing to overlook the Xbox One's inferior visuals?