Neverwinter has just been released on Xbox One, bringing some more MMORPG action to Microsoft’s console. UI and controls aside, the game is very similar to the PC version, but how do the graphics compare?
Cryptic’s game is relatively new, having launched in June 2013 on PC, but it’s not exactly a visual powerhouse. As a matter of fact it’s rather outdated for what concerns graphics, which is why I expected it to look nearly identical on Xbox One.
Square Enix managed to get Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn to look nearly identical to the PC version on the PS4, and while the Xbox One is arguably a little less powerful, Neverwinter‘s not exactly demanding graphics should not pose any problem for Microsoft’s console.
We took a few screenshots portraying exactly the same scenes on PC (at maximum settings) and Xbox One. The camera focus position is slightly different, but we managed to get them as close as possible. In the pairings below you can see the PC version on top, followed by the Xbox One version.
You can click on each screenshot to enlarge it to its full 1080p resolution, and then flip between tabs on your browser to get the best idea of the differences.
By looking at the screenshots at full resolution, it’s fairly evident that my expectations of a nearly identical port were misplaced. The overall definition of the Xbox One version is considerably lower. Textures are also way less detailed, even due to inferior normal mapping effects.
On the other hand, foliage density seems to be the same, and lighting appears very similar as well. The Xbox One version doesn’t appear to be missing whole objects, besides the quiver and cape worn by the first NPC we encounter.
Graphics aside, the Xbox One version also lacks the on-screen minimap, which is a rather serious omission, and one difficult to justify.
I even encountered some heavy frame rate issues close to the gate at the end of the first area of the tutorial, but strangely those appeared on both platforms, possibly indicating a case of bad optimization of the scene, and not a matter of hardware.
In conclusion, while the PC version is already less than impressive visuals-wise, the Xbox One version doesn’t really compare too well against it. Considering the fact that the PC version really doesn’t push the visual envelope, it’s doubtful that we’re looking at differences we could mainly chalk to the console’s power.
It’s hard to believe that the Xbox One couldn’t get closer in quality to the PC version of Neverwinter, given a better optimization and use of its hardware. If we were looking at a way more graphically intensive game, I’d understand, but this really isn’t the case.