Black Ops 2: Xbox 360 or Playstation 3? - article

Black Ops 2: Xbox 360 or Playstation 3? - article
This weekend will certainly be one of the liveliest as regards the videogame market of 2012. The publication of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be the basis of a combined assault on specialized stores and large distribution chains, especially by users. console, to get hold of the latest Treyarch effort.

As this is a very important game, the usual Digital Foundry triple comparison test is already underway but will only see the light in a few days. That's why, knowing that many of you will not resist buying this weekend, we have decided to give you a brief preview of what we have discovered during our preliminary tests, to allow you to get a rough idea of ​​which is the best. between the two console versions.

We can safely say that Treyarch's precedents in the field of cross-platform conversions are not very promising, especially if we take into account the Black Ops of 2010, heavily patched in the following months due to bugs, unexceptional frame rate, low resolution frame buffer and a generalized impression that the game was more optimized in its online component more on Xbox 360 than on PlayStation 3. In light of these precedents, how does its successor perform in the optics to grab your wallet in the lucky case you own both consoles?

First let's talk about the resolution: since the publication of the first Modern Warfare, all Call of Duty have worked at a resolution in sub-HD. Specifically, Black Ops ran at 1040x600 with multisample antialias enabled at 2X on Xbox 360, while PS3 users had to settle for a resolution of 960x540.

Resolution parity was back with Modern Warfare 3 but this has changed again with Black Ops 2: on Xbox 360 the native resolution is 880x720 with MSAA activated at 2X. This may seem like a backward step but, surprisingly, we are in a position to credit Treyarch for having probably made the best-polished Call of Duty ever, thanks to a truly effective upscale algorithm. As you can see from the comparison gallery below, the Xbox 360 version is played directly with the native resolution PC version.

Black Ops 2 on PS3 suffers from a noticeable decrease in image quality, due to additional blur due to the post process antialias filter used by Treyarch. As a result, the Xbox 360 scales the image with a very defined effect while the PS3, while managing to soften the edges, suffers from a much more blurry look. The Xbox 360 version benefits from high-resolution alpha effects during explosions, as can be seen from devastated vehicles over range. The low-resolution buffers on the PlayStation 3 help mitigate the low-bandwidth problems of the Sony architecture. We've already seen similar trade-offs in World at War and Modern Warfare 3. Weed can be pretty flat on both consoles when compared to Battlefield 3's definition of ambient occlusion. The shadows appear very similar between the two versions, albeit slightly filtered on Xbox 360. The PC performs much better thanks to the potential of the hardware. The anti-alias correction on PS3 seems to be completely post-process: the result is good but at the price of a less defined image than the Xbox 360 version. The situation is not as good on PS3: we have not yet been able to define the resolution precisely. native of this version but seems to be very close to that of build 360, in the order of 864x720 / 880x720 pixels. The problem is a newly developed post-process filter, developed in-house by Treyarch and applied to reduce the aggressiveness of diagonal edges. The intensity of the filter is so high that, even after careful analysis of many images, we could not understand if an MSAA 2X antialiasing correction is also applied, as was the case on the Microsoft console. The result is very softened jagged edges, in some situations better than the counterpart, but at the price of a major loss of overall definition, which gives the game a fuzzy look similar to that found in many past titles that use FXAA.

In addition to the comparison gallery, we have also prepared the first videos to check if there is a disparity in performance between the two consoles. Historically, the graphics engine of all the latest Call of Duty has always favored the performance of the Microsoft console, a situation particularly evident in Black Ops. With Modern Warfare 3 the gap was partially filled but from the preliminary tests we performed we are pretty sure that between Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 there is still a certain margin in favor of the former.

We are working on campaign and multiplayer gameplay in normal and stereoscopic 3D mode, and first impressions return very similar performance between the two platforms. The performance of the PS3 is generally very close to the 60FPS target, much more than what happened in the first Black Ops, although the more intense effects still have an impact on the frame rate. Curiously we found that the PC version requires more power than in the past, in terms of pure computing power. No problem on Quad Core systems, but we did notice that the $ 400 Digital Foundry PC (a 2.8 GHz Dual Core G84000) appears to have some trouble keeping the game above thirty frames per second, regardless of resolutions or settings. graphics used.

"We can confidently recommend you to buy the Xbox 360 version"

The full article will be available in the middle of next week: in the meantime we can confidently recommend you to buy the Xbox 360 version, although it seems to be clear that this is not abysmally superior to its PS3 counterpart, especially as regards multiplayer. This advice is to be understood net of the patch being worked on by Treyarch, which aims to solve the blocks that occasionally occur on the Sony console.

Translation by Matteo “Elvin” Lorenzetti.

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