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Fallout 3 on PS3 “inferior” claim clarified

Submitted by on Thursday, 23 October 200817 Comments

The interweb is ablaze today with reports claiming the PS3 version of impending Bethesda RPG/actioner “Fallout 3” rates poorly compared to the PC and 360 iterations of the title.  Though it’s sure to be fervently leaped on by one side of the fanboy schism (and arduously defended by the other) we can’t help but feel that a poor choice of words in the original article will fuel this debate higher than it really should be.

Stating that the PS3 version “compares poorly to its Xbox and PC counterparts” may be grammatically correct but it does not paint a clear picture.  Luckily C&VG have come out and clarified the comment in an effort to remove any ambiguity by simply stating: “[…] the PS3 version looks the same as on Xbox, but things in the distance are slightly jaggier/rougher, the textures seem ‘muddier’ up-close and the frame rate is choppier, especially during the last few story missions (which may be the same on Xbox, but we’ve not seen the equivalent scenes to comment)”.
It does seem to us from the above that, while to some degree salving the original stark term of “poorly”, they’ve opened another Pandora’s box by claiming that the majority of the frame-rate issues were not compared on the other version. A small point as we’re sure there could be other frame-rate drops but still, the science of “console comparison” demands an empirical test of like-with-like.

So, though we’re sure this story will rage and rage (maybe even up to the heights of the Orange Box debacle) it’s vital that PS3 Fallout fans understand that there is no real story here.  The two versions are near identical. The game is awesome. One has a slight advantage over the other which is so small that the vast majority of us wouldn’t either a) notice or b) care.

But why the differences at all you may ask?  Andy Kelly, the reviewer of the PS3 version from PSM3, succinctly sums up the reasoning behind the deviations with: “[…] the dull truth is that games will almost always look slightly better on the format they were originally coded for.” We couldn’t agree more. Remember, we have been down this road before with similar claims made that Burnout Paradise (of which the PS3 was the lead console) looked better on the PS3, trumping the 360 version.  The fact is, Fallout 3 has a pedigree of being a PC title and will look better on high-end rigs; the system it was primarily designed for.  Considering the closeness in architecture between the PC and the 360 it’s a nobrainer that there would be slight improvements seen in the latter’s version compared to the PS3.  The point here is that, just like Burnout, the differences are marginal and, apart from asinine bragging rights between the two zealot camps, no one really cares.