Project CARS PS4 vs PC Ultra, High, Medium, Low Detail: Graphical Qualty Screenshot Analysis

By Giuseppe Nelva

May 11, 2014

Slightly MAD Studios recently released a batch of PS4 screenshots of the gorgeous Project CARS, and after our recent screenshot comparison we realized that the both the PS4 and the PC versions look gorgeous, but obviously the developer had to accept some compromises in order to get a good performance on console.

Many asked what PC level of detail the PS4 version compares best to, and today we’re going to answer that question.

We picked up the PS4 screenshot of the BAC Mono, which is one of the most detailed cars in the game, and reproduced it on PC, getting as close as possible to the same location, time of day, weather setting and camera angle. Then we replicated the process for the Ultra, High, Medium and Low detail settings (unfortunately it had to be redone from scratch each time, as it’s impossible to change detail settings during gameplay, so the angles are slightly different), and you can see the resulting screenshots below. Of course  you can click on each screenshot to see them at their full resolution

(Note: the depth of field effect is missing in the last picture because the author forgot to activate it. It can be activated and deactivated with F3 in all settings, mostly for photographic use)

The result is very interesting, and there’s a reason why we put the PS4 screenshot between the “High” and the “Medium” level of detail of the PC screenshots, as the port on Sony’s console appears to be a mix between “high” and “Medium” settings, at least for what the cars are concerned (we don’t have enough detailed screenshots to judge the environment for now).

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The “Vehicle Detail” setting, which determines the quality of the 3D models, is equivalent on PS4 to the “medium” setting on PC. It’s especially noticeable by observing closely the headlights and the suspension on the side of the bonnet.

Interestingly, textures are in an intermediate resolution between the high and medium settings. They’re just slightly blurrier than high, but not as blurry as medium. It’s worth mentioning that there isn’t an “ultra” setting for textures for the moment, even on PC.

There’s a caveat, though. On the PC version the quality of normal maps (that simulate additional 3D effects) is bound to texture resolution. On PS4 they’re set separately. Normal maps appear to be a mix of low and medium PC settings depending on different parts of the car. For instance the headlights are definitely on low, tires appear to be on medium.

Reflections are definitely set on high. They’re not quite as smooth as the ultra settings, but they’re less pixelated than medium. This is very visible (if you squint) in the reflection on the lampposts on the front wheel cover.

Below you can see the screenshots used in the comparison gathered in an animated GIF in order to visualize them in sequence. As usual, you should click on it to enlarge it and start the animation:

Ultimately the game looks quite awesome at every setting from medium upwards, and the PS4 isn’t an exception. It’s worth noticing that you’ll need a pretty powerful gaming PC in order to run high details at stable 60 FPS in 1080p (a Geforce GTX 660 is a good benchmark for that kind of detail). It’ll definitely be a pretty impressive feat of engineering if Slightly MAD Studios will manage to achieve 1080p and 60 frames per second on Sony’s console.

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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