Xbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3 Graphics Comparison Round 4

We look at another batch of games to see how the Xbox 360 and PlayStation compare.

by

The PlayStation 3 platform is now two years old, and the Xbox 360 has just passed the three-year mark. That means several second-generation games have appeared on both systems since our last graphics comparison feature. We're still seeing the occasional first "next-gen" development effort, such as Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, but many development studios are now releasing their second projects for the current-generation consoles. Bethesda, for example, has followed up on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion with Fallout 3. All of the additional experience developers have had with both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 means that the window for blaming performance issues and graphical shortcomings on platform growing pains is coming to a close.

The Xbox 360 had an advantage over the PlayStation 3 in early multiplatform games in our first graphics comparison feature because Microsoft had a one-year head start on Sony, but we saw the PlayStation 3 catch up to the Xbox 360 in subsequent graphics comparison features. We're at the point where games look and play nearly the same on both systems--any differences tend to focus on texture resolutions and antialiasing nitpicks that most people wouldn't notice unless they were playing the games side by side and pausing every few seconds to compare the two. Fortunately, we've done all of that for you.

We captured all of our images over HDMI with games running at 720p resolution, and we enabled full HDMI range on the PS3. Each game has four sets of rollover images. The first image is a full screenshot set resized to fit the width of the page, followed by a zoomed-in image set that we created by cropping the original screen grabs to show you how the games look at a 1:1 pixel ratio. The third and fourth image sets follow the same pattern. Just mouse over the captions to swap the images back and forth. Keep in mind that these are large screenshots, so viewers with slow Internet connections should expect to wait a while for images to load.

Fallout 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Soulcalibur IV

Namco's Soulcalibur IV looks and plays great on both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Frame rates don't waver with the game's complex moves, sweeping camera angles, and heavy combat. The character models look identical on both systems, and we had to study the 1:1 pixel shots to detect any visual differences between the platforms. Both systems have plenty of jaggies in the first screenshot, but we can't say that one system has any more than the other. The Xbox 360, however, has superior flowers as illustrated in the close-up shot. We noticed that the PS3 seems to have better anisotropic filtering or higher-resolution ground textures farther in the distance in the second map. It's not noticeable in the first set of images, but you can see it in the second set.

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Dead Space

We didn't want to venture back to the USG Ishimura because, frankly, that place scares us, but we had to get our screenshots. Muting the game made it easier to find a decent way into the ship without any embarrassing screaming, but we ultimately decided on using two comparison shots from the very beginning of the game. We noticed a curious banding issue with shadows on the PS3, which you can see in the shadow covering half of Isaac's back in the second image set. Despite being graphically complex, Dead Space doesn't pose much of a challenge to either of the consoles. The main character's shuffling pace adds to the tension and keeps frame rates steady.

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed from LucasArts showcases physics effects with the game's Force powers, but it also has the beautiful environments that we expect from the Star Wars universe. The Force Unleashed ran well on both platforms in our test, but we saw some frame rate issues and visible tearing in both games--while turning quickly in hallway areas, for example. Overall, the graphics resolution looks higher on the Xbox 360. You can see it everywhere in the first image set where the shadows, plants, and even the cliff face off in the background all have higher detail levels on the Xbox 360. The corridor flooring in the hallway shot is sharper on the Xbox 360, and the far set of lights framing the right side of the hall seem to bleed together on the PS3.

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Call of Duty: World at War

Not one to abandon a good thing, Treyarch used the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare engine to bring players to the Japanese and Russian WWII fronts in Call of Duty: World at War. The graphics look even on both platforms, and we didn't encounter any frame rate inconsistencies during our gameplay tests. Storming beaches filled with artillery fire and calling in air strikes on heavily fortified positions did little to slow down the pace of the game on either console. We didn't notice any significant differences in the graphics, but we have to say that the lighting contrast on the PS3 adds an extra dramatic effect. The Xbox 360 maintains its antialiasing advantage, which you can see in the disappearing antenna in the second set of shots. Don't look too much into the fact that some of the soldiers have camo'd helmets on one platform but not on the other--the gear is randomized for the character models.

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Madden NFL 09

We wouldn't be able to tell the Xbox 360 and the PS3 apart in Madden 09 if it weren't for the different onscreen action buttons. Both games are now running at a full 60 frames per second. The only slowdowns we experienced occurred between plays, but those were relatively minor and were present on both platforms. It was surprising to see just as many jaggies on the Xbox 360 as on the PS3.

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Midway's Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe doesn't push the Xbox 360 or the PS3 very hard. Both versions of the game performed well in our gameplay testing, but we detected a few places in the background graphics where the Xbox had sharper textures and superior lighting. The blue highlights in the Temple level on the Xbox aren't in the PS3 Temple level, and the Oan Senate level has a few missing details as well. The Green Lantern close-up shots also suggest a lower resolution on the PS3.

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Midway's Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe doesn't push the Xbox 360 or the PS3 very hard. Both versions of the game performed well in our gameplay testing, but we detected a few places in the background graphics where the Xbox had sharper textures and superior lighting. The blue highlights in the Temple level on the Xbox aren't in the PS3 Temple level, and the Oan Senate level has a few missing details as well. The Green Lantern close-up shots also suggest a lower resolution on the PS3.

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Xbox 360 PlayStation 3

Discussion

4824 comments
Oracle2k
Oracle2k

wow every comment was hidden.

oscar_mateo
oscar_mateo

In the force unleashed and waw the 360 wins.

pundom
pundom

The PS3's graphics are far superior to the 360's when looking at games made for both systems we have to consider that the developer had to meet a deadline for both games and couldnt spend alot of time boosting the graphics for the PS3 after they finished the xbox version they just set the peraminters and the PS3 presents it better. Games made solely for the ps3 like Heavy rain are a perfect example of the way ps3 is starting to find its own as the entire game apears like a film much like uncharted 2. even games like mag when supporting 256 players it still doesnt feel like the graphics were all that cheaped out on. There is no question that the ps3 will very soon be able to cleary show up the 360 in graphics. nothing against the xbox just saying the ps3 really does have superior capabilities.

Greelax
Greelax

Clearly, the colors on the Xbox 360 versions are much more grayed down and not as rich as Playstation 3. I don't see why people think this is so close, or even worse - saying Xbox is better...

Serentor
Serentor

I can imagine the next one being for final fantasy 13 maybe?

Pauldraper
Pauldraper

is there a round 5 to this? i've been waiting for the ps3 to come over the top....we all know it will eventually...or has it already????

senjutsu
senjutsu

Sorry The_Sakman. Gears of War against MGS4 was a good exemple in the other way. MGS4 looked FAR superior than Gears of War 2. Is the PS3 better because of this? no. But your exemple is a complete mess. The xbox 360 started like a Mustang! Powercharged with novelty and innovation. The PS3 is a Sony product, and we all know what sony is good for: Hardware. The battle was Software vs Hardware, and clearly the software is the key product. Sony Playstation made a lot of effort and are right now almost at it. The PS3 games were lacking at the start of the console, but right now the PS3 have surpassed the xbox 360 with tons of exclusivity, like the God of War 3 game, Heavy Rain, Gran Turismo 5, White Knight Chronicles, etc. They can please everyone with games we've been waiting on for years. Right now, you can count the days left of the Microsoft Xbox 360's edge in market share. The Sony Playstation 3 will outsell the Xbox 360, not only for the 2010 year, but at the end of 2010, they will have also beaten Microsoft in the total console sold this generation. Not everybody can think that it's possible, if you've not been following video games for a long time. But keep this message stored somewhere and check back at the start of 2011, when the charts will be released.

The_Sackman
The_Sackman

there's nowhere to run for the PS3, the X360 just have a better hardware...

The_Sackman
The_Sackman

completely wrong, the 360's exclusives are graphically superior... gears of war 2 looks way better than MGS4 \/ \/

oajlu
oajlu

xbox360 usually has better gaphics in multi-platform games, but PS3's exculsive games are better than 360's in term of graphics.

Vikasgames94
Vikasgames94

X Box 360 is the best for graphics. But if you want everything with gaming it is PS3.

Vikasgames94
Vikasgames94

X Box 360 is the best for graphics. But if you want everything with gaming it is PS3.

1r3ap3r
1r3ap3r

XBOX 360 IS BETTER......................................................

Ninja_Zombie83
Ninja_Zombie83

Wow, its gotten so close its almost comes down to preference instead of actual graphics. prefer the 360 on Fallout, PS3 on Soulcaliber, PS3 on Dead Space, Xbox360 on Force Unleashed, PS3 on WaW, Tied on Madden, PS3 on Mortal Kombat. I like the darker look and the shadows. PS3 thankfully caters to this. Its opinion of course.

Darkno
Darkno

As a Video Game Specialist, I say they are both very much alike, it really depends on the develpoers and what console they created the game to best on, when it comes down to hardware the graphics are better on the xbox 360 as well as detail, draw distance and anti-aliasing, especially on Fallout 3. But when it comes to gamma, brightness and character polygons the PS3 will take the cake most of the time. Even though I don't like PC gaming, it is true that games from this year on will play better on a real PC gaming machine. This comes from a game enthusiast and a fan of ALL consoles. It comes down to what you want anyways.

MTMind2
MTMind2

they didn't say that cyclonebw, Infinity Ward says they're both the same. they said they had their best programmers working on the ps3 version "and it showed", meaning they got great results out of the ps3 version compared to other multi-format games where the ps3 version suffers. but as usual, people online twist their words into meaning the ps3 version is better, which is not what they said. here's a fact for you, there is not a single comparison feature or review on any multi-format games website or magazine that says the ps3 version of COD4 is better. they all say they're about the same, with a few areas better in the ps3 version and a few areas better in the 360 version. and GS have done that comparison already; http://uk.gamespot.com/features/6191251/p-4.html here's another; http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/x360-vs-ps3-face-off-round-six-article "Miniscule differences aside, the point is that the core experience and all the things that make this game great are identical on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3" can you provide a link to a feature or review (from a multi-format site to avoid bias) that says the ps3 version is better? i doubt it.

MTMind2
MTMind2

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

cyclonebw
cyclonebw

I dare the biased GS xbox 360 fanboys to do a COD4 comparison... (evil smile) infinityward split into two groups one for 360 one for ps3 and even IW admitted the ps3 version was better

mk360star
mk360star

WHAT!!!!!!!!! If you can find a game with as amazing graphics for the 360 as killzone 2, whether or not it's an exclusive, then you can say that. Till then, PS3 rules!!!

xandinho2468
xandinho2468

no way ps3 is better 360 as more detail and far objects look better and is some games ps3 doesn't have AA 360 games have a mandatory minimum of 2xAA so 360 looks better and some of the picture look darker in the ps3 or some times on the 360 but that just gamma, contrast and saturation setting related to the screen not to the console

Gamew
Gamew

PS3 is better...

krjcook
krjcook

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

cyclonebw
cyclonebw

Dual layer dvd= 8gb Dual layer Blueray= 60gb. 60gb= insane exclusives PS3 > Xbox 360

Dlack19
Dlack19

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

mikey1611
mikey1611

because the Wii attracts a different sort of customers and it's graphics are made to be simple. The Wii can't really play in HD, you can play it on HD but either it will have no difference or it will be worse. Wiii can't even play DVD's and HDDVD's (which really don't exist anymore).

ShortCutToHell
ShortCutToHell

On Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Xbox 360 looks better

crazyshooter93
crazyshooter93

if you watch cod w@w you can see the ps3 is more detailed

Excedra
Excedra

360 and ps3 can never beat pc

amourkiss
amourkiss

ps3 version shows a little bit more detailed texture on soldiers

ChelseaFC94
ChelseaFC94

I don't notice much difference at all................

kuzuboku
kuzuboku

xbox wins flawless victory

MTMind2
MTMind2

correct Yammer55. its surprising how many gamers dont know that the 360 also does 1080p, and that for these multiformat games, the 360 and ps3 have about the same maximum resolution.

MTMind2
MTMind2

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Yammer55
Yammer55

Glokwerk, the Xbox supports full 1080p

Glokwerk
Glokwerk

is 720p the highest the 360 can go? if so it automaticall loses the graphics battle.

alexcooke900
alexcooke900

speedy5212: m8 u do on some games like mgs 4 motor storm gta 4...

speedy5212
speedy5212

nathace , I don't think you have a ps3 because no , you don't have to install any game , its upto you if you want to install it to decrease loading times but when you start a game the first it does install some files but that also happens in xbox , right?

nathace
nathace

if im honest in the ranibow vegas bit ps3 seemed abit better than 360 ive got both consle's and i prefer 2 play the 360. it annoys me that u HAVE to install all games you play on ps3 to hard drive i meen its gonna get 2 a point where iv ran out of space..

MTMind2
MTMind2

filmboy85, have you played the game, or are you only going by what you read? (im guessing you must have played mgs4 btw). few gamers today rave about the *gameplay* graphics of mgs4 as being better than anything else out there, good as they are. cinematics and gameplay graphics are not the same, but im repeating myself now so maybe this dont help, but still, the quality of the character textures and polygons, the animations, subtle details, are higher in the cutscenes than they are ingame, which is often the case for realtime cutscenes, together with dramatic camera angles and close-ups. it doesnt matter how well the cinematics are done, or how smoothly they move from cinematics into gameplay, they are still two seperate types of the graphics and should be compared to the same type of graphics in other games. when youre *playing* mgs4, its impressive, but to me it doesn't have the same wow factor as the cinematics, and so to me its not better looking than *every* other game out there during gameplay. if you want to say mgs4s ingame graphics are the best ever, then ok thats your opinion, but graphics during gameplay are not the same as graphics for the cinematics just because they are running in realtime. dam, i repeating myself yet again. so maybe we just have to agree to disagree. cause i dont think im going to change your mind, and you not going to change mine. :-)

Decrate
Decrate

naw but seriously.... i own both systems and its sad to see even now they can't seem to use the ps3's potential correctly. maybe its because its so darn hard to program for like i read everywhere compared to the 360. anyways can't wait for a final fantasy 13 comparison between both systems. so for now, i just keep buying games for my 360 whenever i have a choice between both systems..

Decrate
Decrate

THE XBOX 360 HAS SUPERIOR FLOWERS! hehe what have we come to......

MTMind2
MTMind2

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

rkwell
rkwell

 @senjutsu Well its been 2 yrs. and xbox 360 still leads in sales and I have both systems. The truth is a lot of ps3 games look over saturated and colorless compared to 360.