Let’s face it. The PS3 has been kicking the Xbox360 ass in the visuals department in the last two years. While games such as Mass Effect 2 and Gears 2 are visually stunning games, the PS3 has been raising the bar visually with its biggest exclusives such as Metal Gear Solid 4, Uncharted 2, Killzone 2 and the recently released God of War 3.
The point I want to clarify here is, Mass Effect 2, which is the best looking game on Xbox360 is running on the Unreal Engine 3 (multiplatform engine). Most of all Xbox360 games (exclusives and multiplatform) do run on multiplatform engines. With most of the biggest exclusives on Xbox360 are powered by the Unreal Engine 3 (Mass Effect 2, Gears of War 2, Lost Odyssey and etc). Multiplatform engines are designed to run on multiple platforms, which means they aren’t created to take full advantage of a specific console/platform. Yes, we see games such as Mass Effect 2 look better than an average Unreal Engine 3 game. But that because of the developers who are creating the game. With better art design and better optimization, a game can look better than another even if they are running on the same engine.
This year, we are seeing Xbox360 exclusives running on new engines or to be more accurate, engines that created to take full advantage of Microsoft’s console. Halo: Reach looks so much better than Halo 3 and ODST, but the real star that showed what the Xbox360 is capable of is Remedy’s upcoming Psychological thriller, Alan Wake.
Alan Wake not just raising the bar for Xbox360 in term of visuals, it’s raising the bar for this whole generation. Technically and artistically, Alan Wake is shaping up to be the best looking game this generation. From the real-time projected shadows produced by the essential flashlight, the total absence of aliasing (720p 4x FSAA), the breathtaking realistic lighting effects (the best I have ever seen), the epic scale of the environments, SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion), the atmospheric effects to the vegetation which interacts with characters and wind, and the absent of screen tearing. Truly impressive stuff.