This debate has been going on probably since we heard that Square-Enix’s flagship franchise was going cross-platform this generation. Will it look better on the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360? It seems that debate has been answered as of late. In all honesty, this is actually one of the seemingly few games that have been developed with Sony’s system in mind. This is because the game is not cross-platform in Japan, only in Western regions. Naturally it had to be developed with the PS3 being its lead platform. Let’s compare some facts about both versions.
We’ve known some of the basic facts for a while. The PS3 is using BluRay discs as its media while the Xbox 360 still uses DVDs. The capacity issue was the first one that came up. It seems that Square-Enix has squeezed all that information down to three discs for the 360 version of the title, but this comes with some undesirable side-effects. Some of the data and textures is highly compressed to fit on even three discs, so there will be some compression artifacts left when you play the game, especially on larger HDTVs. The PS3 version of the game is completely uncompressed and will likely be the absolute best version of the game you can get.
Here’s the capacity info for the discs:
- PS3: 1 dual-layer (50GB capacity) BluRay disc
- Xbox 360: 3 dual-layer (6.8GB capacity) DVDs
Here’s some information about the game’s native resolution on both systems:
- Full-Motion Video: PS3 = 1080p | Xbox 360 = 576p
- In-Engine Video: PS3 = 720p | Xbox 360 = 576p
- Real-Time Rendered Graphics: PS3 = 720p | Xbox 360 = 576p
Now, your Xbox 360 will up-convert the 576p visuals to 720p or 1080p, however when doing that, it will increase the blocking, smearing and visibility of aliasing, so it will likely be noticeable for those who know what to look for.
Now, we’ve all heard by now that God of War 3 has no mandatory installation and no load times. How is that accomplished? The game cashes upcoming data in the background while you play so that it rarely, if ever, shows an actual loading screen. FFXIII is the same way. The PS3 version requires no installation and it automatically background-cashes to the hard drive so that you will rarely see any loading. On the Xbox 360 version, however, if you forgo the massive optional install (which will eat up over 18GB of hard drive space), there is a visible delay when the game switches from video to real-time rendered visuals, as well as other loading screens scattered throughout.
Another by-product of the lower capacity, even spread across three DVDs? The sound options aren’t as impressive. Granted, most players will probably say they don’t need anything other than Dolby Digital 5.1, but hey, we’re comparing the plusses and minuses of these versions, right? Here’s the sound options for each:
- PS3: LPCM / DTS / Dolby Digital 5.1
- Xbox 360: Dolby Digital 5.1 only
I am impressed with Microsoft’s advertising campaign for this title, it far surpasses anything Sony is doing. However, when it comes down to it, that version will be inferior on the visual and audio side, even though the game play will be unchanged between systems. If you own both consoles, it is probably worth it to skip adding to your gamerscore this once and purchase Final Fantasy XIII for the PS3. If you only own an Xbox 360 and still want to play, I’m sure it will be just fine for you.
Granted, it’s possible the majority of these issues won’t be noticeable to the untrained eye, but they are differences nonetheless. It is kind of nice to be able to play a game that is optimized for Sony’s powerful box of wonders again, since many times it is the other way around.
[Data from PS3Blog]