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Have multi-format releases finally come of age?


Nick Laslett
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Have developers finally cracked the multi-format conundrum?

After embarrassing releases like Turok 3 and Enter the Matrix, where there were serious in-equalities between each version, should we now expect more from our multi-format titles?

With games of the quality of Prince of Persia, SSX3, Soul Calibur 2, Timesplitters 2 and Burnout 2, being multi-format I tend to think we should.

Do these titles demonstrate that there is very little difference between each of the 3 consoles? Or are they still developing games with the weakest system in mind and not maximizing the capabilities of the others?

For me, games like Prince of Persia, SSX3, Burnout 2, Timesplitters 2 and Soul Caliber2 indicate that the differences between the 3 consoles is very slight. It would be hard to imagine any of these games being improved, if they had been developed with one system in mind. There are plenty of console exclusives on all three formats that are weaker than these games.

I have a Sony bias, so please correct me if I am wrong, but on the PS2, these games are some of the most technically proficient and most pleasing to look at on the console. From what I have seen, I assumed they filled a similar position on the other consoles as well.

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I think if teams take the time with multiformat releases, there is no reason for them to be seen as not exploiting the strengths of a given machine. We all know, that if programmed properly, the PS2 is capable of results every bit as good as Xbox/Cube. People assume that games like "Dead to rights" look the way they do, because of the PS2 holding them back, when the truth is, D2R looks shit for a PS2 game, let alone anything else.

Unfortunatly it is often the case that time constraints mean you cannot do as well as you might.

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have a Sony bias, so please correct me if I am wrong, but on the PS2, these games are some of the most technically proficient and most pleasing to look at on the console. From what I have seen, I assumed they filled a similar position on the other consoles as well.

I'm afriad you're wrong.

PS2 Soul Calibur 2 is the most technically (and some would argue over the case of Heihachi Mishimas inclusion) inproficient version of the game.

Your PS2 bias, graphically - is not viable. Both the xbox and the ngc are more graphically advanced. You'll find this opnion is mirrored quite vastly amongst people who are not ps2 fanboys (i'm not saying you are bud).

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Guest Penguin_Lad
Have developers finally cracked the multi-format conundrum?

Just wait until the next generation of consoles, then it will be all messed up bid daddy style.

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Why do you have a bias? ;)

He just does.

I think multi format titles are getting better, that's all. To be fair I really wanted PoP on Xbox or Gamecube but I bought the PAL PS2 version (cos I couldn't wait!) and you're quite right, it's superb. I can't imagine it being much better on the rival consoles and in fact I've heard each version has plus and minus points to some degree.

I think there's a long way to go before we see multi format titles being truly optimised for each host. I'm not sure it's viable but there must be a happy compromise somewhere.

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Guest Penguin_Lad
I have a Sony bias, so please correct me if I am wrong, but on the PS2, these games are some of the most technically proficient and most pleasing to look at on the console. From what I have seen, I assumed they filled a similar position on the other consoles as well.

PS2 has always been the "lead" platform, so in the past games have simply been ported, sometimes not very efficiently, onto the other platforms.

MGS2: Substance, is a good example of this.

However, developers are getting better at conversions, as we've recently seen with things like PoP.

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have a Sony bias, so please correct me if I am wrong, but on the PS2, these games are some of the most technically proficient and most pleasing to look at on the console. From what I have seen, I assumed they filled a similar position on the other consoles as well.

I'm afriad you're wrong.

PS2 Soul Calibur 2 is the most technically (and some would argue over the case of Heihachi Mishimas inclusion) inproficient version of the game.

Your PS2 bias, graphically - is not viable. Both the xbox and the ngc are more graphically advanced. You'll find this opnion is mirrored quite vastly amongst people who are not ps2 fanboys (i'm not saying you are bud).

I didn't read it as him saying the PS2 versions were the best looking of the three, rather the games he listed were the best looking of all the PS2 games.

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have a Sony bias, so please correct me if I am wrong, but on the PS2, these games are some of the most technically proficient and most pleasing to look at on the console. From what I have seen, I assumed they filled a similar position on the other consoles as well.

I'm afriad you're wrong.

PS2 Soul Calibur 2 is the most technically (and some would argue over the case of Heihachi Mishimas inclusion) inproficient version of the game.

Your PS2 bias, graphically - is not viable. Both the xbox and the ngc are more graphically advanced. You'll find this opnion is mirrored quite vastly amongst people who are not ps2 fanboys (i'm not saying you are bud).

I didn't read it as him saying the PS2 versions were the best looking of the three, rather the games he listed were the best looking of all the PS2 games.

Ah right ok, I see. Sorry, maybe i'm drinking too much coffee today.

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good, dedicated xbox and GC games' graphics point at the PS2's graphics and laugh. to be quite honest with you.

POP is excellent, but I'm playing it on PS2 and it's obvious it's a PS2 game - the antialising, textures, effects and framerate stability are not what you'd get on a good GC or xbox game. not that it affects the game or means it's less beautiful, it's just that if it was optimised to look like an xbox or GC game, it'd look much nicer, yet obviously it'd earn less $$$ without a PS2 version and you have to work on that as the lead format since it's the least powerful by some distance, and so ports to the other consoles are easily viable.

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Do you really think there is so much difference between Soul Calibur 2 and Burnout 2 when the PS2, GC and Xbox versions are placed side by side?

(The reported improvements in Burnout 2 on the GC/Xbox are mainly PR bullshit, I know this from the developers)

Both these games are prog scan/solid 60fps on the PS2 and look crisp and clear like PC titles.

I've only seen SC2 running on the Xbox/GC in GAME, so it was difficult to judge any superior performance.

I use a 42" plasma screen for playing games, so graphical deficiencies are highly visible to me.

I remain to be convinced. If I could just borrow an Xbox/GC for a weekend I might see the light. I've been trying to get my only mate that I know who has an Xbox bring it round so that I can do such a comparision. Playing it on his 20" 4:3 TV doesn't really prove any superiority to me.

I find using the component output on the PS2 makes a big difference over Scart or s-video.

As some one else pointed out, I may be a Sony fan, but I know when a game is good, whatever the format.

So, head-to-head - Soul Calibur 2/Burnout 2 really a big difference, or minor/subtle differences that no-one but the mosted dedicated gamer would notice?

Y'know like comparing DTS to DD5.1. There might be a difference, but to my ears on a £2K audio system I can't hear it.

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Do you really think there is so much difference between Soul Calibur 2 and Burnout 2 when the PS2, GC and Xbox versions are placed side by side?

the xb/gc versions don't look much better, no. but other xb/gc games DO look much, much better. compared to most dedicated xb racing games, for example, BO2 is very simplistic.

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compared to most dedicated xb racing games, for example, BO2 is very simplistic.

I find this statement staggeringly hard to believe.

Where are these mythical rock steady 60 fps, prog scan, widescreen enabled racing games with loads of complex geometry and physics on the Xbox.

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The road on Burnout 2 on xbox is clearly graphically better than on PS2 (i have both versions of the game)

I actually find the biggest difference between GC + PS2 as the GC gfx are much sharper and vibrant (even when talking multi platform games)

I am finding that given the choice of PS2 or Xbox games it comes down to the pad (and how well it is suited to the game) as to which version i would buy and not GFX etc.

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The road on Burnout 2 on xbox is clearly graphically better than on PS2 (i have both versions of the game)

I actually find the biggest difference between GC + PS2 as the GC gfx are much sharper and vibrant (even when talking multi platform games)

I am finding that given the choice of PS2 or Xbox games it comes down to the pad (and how well it is suited to the game) as to which version i would buy and not GFX etc.

Have you played Burnout 2 in prog scan on the PS2? The game couldn't get much sharper.

How are you connecting your PS2?

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. compared to most dedicated xb racing games, for example, BO2 is very simplistic.

Bo2 looks simplistic compared to GT3 too...

I know for a fact that Burnout 2 is pushing over twice as many polygons as GT3.

But, GT3 still looks better.

That is because of the superior art work and capabilities of the art team at Polyphony.

GT3 also has superior physics, so it is unfair to ask the game engine to push as many polygons.

But still, Burnout2 looks simplistic?

GT3 is very low res compared to the pin sharp prog scan of Burnout2, it runs a half-screen height frame buffer, rather than full screen height.

On a 42" plasma GT3 is not as impressive.

Where are these amazing solid 60fps, prog scan, widescreen Xbox racing games with complex geometry?

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Do you really think there is so much difference between Soul Calibur 2 and Burnout 2 when the PS2, GC and Xbox versions are placed side by side?

the xb/gc versions don't look much better, no. but other xb/gc games DO look much, much better. compared to most dedicated xb racing games, for example, BO2 is very simplistic.

Soul Calibur 2 looks a lot better on the Xbox in my eyes, the PS2 version has many rough edges, it also looks dull when put side by side (when tried on the massive plasma screen at work), the effects on the Xbox version are a lot nicer.

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Have developers finally cracked the multi-format conundrum?

Just wait until the next generation of consoles, then it will be all messed up bid daddy style.

I think it will be even better I mean

All console will use IBM CPU and GC/XBOX 2 will use ATI graphics chip. So it wouldn't be too different to each other. So the graphics should be a lot better and use similar engine. But again it all depend on the talents and resources from developers.

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The Ps2's graphics chip is definitely inferior, many things like mip-mapping and anti-aliasing aren't really done by the hardware and rely on clever programming to simulate.

Also the lack of VRAM on PS2 means most\many 60fps games only render the odd\even lines each frame (for an interlaced display). GC & Xbox will render twice as many lines and blend pairs for a much nicer appearance.

The Xbox is the most sophisticated (feature wise) renderer with the GC not too far behind. The reason mult-format games look so similar is they are written for the weaker machine (PS2) and ported to the others.

In our game Pillage we can't implement prog-scan on the PS2 version as we are (as described above) only rendering a half-height buffer. This looks okay so long as the game runs at 60fps (it does). The GC & XBOX versions have prog scan which looks great.

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Guest Penguin_Lad
The road on Burnout 2 on xbox is clearly graphically better than on PS2 (i have both versions of the game)

I actually find the biggest difference between GC + PS2 as the GC gfx are much sharper and vibrant (even when talking multi platform games)

I am finding that given the choice of PS2 or Xbox games it comes down to the pad (and how well it is suited to the game) as to which version i would buy and not GFX etc.

Burnout 2 is interesting because, I believe, at the time it had to be pretty much re-enginerred due to the renderware which the PS2 used.

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Guest Penguin_Lad
. compared to most dedicated xb racing games, for example, BO2 is very simplistic.

Bo2 looks simplistic compared to GT3 too...

I know for a fact that Burnout 2 is pushing over twice as many polygons as GT3.

But, GT3 still looks better.

That is because of the superior art work and capabilities of the art team at Polyphony.

GT3 also has superior physics, so it is unfair to ask the game engine to push as many polygons.

But still, Burnout2 looks simplistic?

GT3 is very low res compared to the pin sharp prog scan of Burnout2, it runs a half-screen height frame buffer, rather than full screen height.

On a 42" plasma GT3 is not as impressive.

Where are these amazing solid 60fps, prog scan, widescreen Xbox racing games with complex geometry?

Renderware is shit.

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