Today marked the release of Tom Clancy’s The Division’s open beta on all platforms, after one day of exclusivity on Xbox One. This allows us to compare the looks of the game on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
We snapped eight screenshots on each platform, trying our best to reproduce exactly the same situation, camera angle and time of the day. Interestingly, the dynamic time of the day appears to be perfectly matched across all platforms, causing a discrepancy of about a second between each screenshot (I don’t have three hands. I did try to operate one controller with my nose, but results weren’t satisfactory), but not enough to cause a visible difference in lighting.
The PC settings were cranked up to ultra, and then manually adjusted so that every single setting was on its maximum value. Resolution is 1080p, to match the console version, but of course the game can go higher than that on PC.
A significant element of challenge was the fact that the open beta randomizes the outfit of each character every time you create one, requiring a full reboot to change it. In the end, we had to settle for matching just the face, hair, facial hair and jacket, leaving a discrepancy in shirts and trousers, after creating about 30 characters on all three platforms.
Below you can see the results. In each triplet of screenshots the first is the PC version, followed by PS4 and Xbox One.
Let’s start with a very simple concept. The game looks absolutely fantastic on all platforms. It’s a true joy for the eyes.
Differences between PS4 and Xbox One are negligible, and they hold their own against the PC version very well.
Of course the PC version does have certain visual perks. You’ll notice a glitch with the alpha transparency of the hair that manifests in certain configurations, but doesn’t show in game unless the hair textures are displayed in front of a transparent surface like a window, as you can see in the screenshot in the lab. Hopefully, it’ll be fixed soon.
Glitches aside, the draw distance of some objects is superior on PC, and far away buildings are more detailed. Textures on some decorative signs on some of the buildings also appear completely missing on PS4 and Xbox One, but you have to purposely look to notice.
Shadows are also softer on PC, while the console versions have a lower resolution, more jagged implementation.
Reflections are probably the area in which the PC version shines the most, provided that you crank up the dedicated option. They look absolutely great, and very detailed, while the implementation on consoles shows quite a lot more approximation.
That said, we can easily conclude that you’ll most probably be happy of the game’s overall looks whatever platform you’ll enjoy it on. It really looks great on all of them.