Head2Head

“Prepare for war”

System Breakdown Xbox 360 Stats PlayStation 3 Stats
Resolutions: Up to 1080p Up to 1080p
# of Discs: 2 Discs single
HD Install: Optional Mandatory (2.0 GB)
Metacritic:
Watch / Download Video:


Welcome back for another exciting Head2Head! This week we will be taking a look at the game that has been said to be going for the title of “Graphics King” for some time now — Battlefield 3.  Since the  very beginning DICE has been boasting about how great this game is going to look, but the question on every one’s mind is whether or not the consoles can handle it.  Well the time has finally come and we have looked long and hard into the third installment of the Battlefield series to find out which version handles the game best.  Before we begin, let it be noted that the HD pack for the 360 version is indeed installed for this comparison as this is how the game was designed to be played.  It is also worth mentioning that the HD pack for the 360 is also what the mandatory install for the PS3 version consists of for the most part.

xbox_hd

 

Graphics: When it comes to visuals, both versions look pretty decent.  Both versions also have their own unique pros and cons, however one version had more pros than the other and managed to claim this category in the end.  The 360 version and the PS3 version had nearly identical textures throughout, but for some reason the 360 version seems to pop more in some of the screenshots.  The difference is a very slight advantage to the 360, but when things are in motion they look pretty much the same in this aspect.  Another 360 advantage to take note of is texture streaming.  Both versions have their fair share of minor pop ins, but the PS3 version took slightly longer to load.  This was most noticeable when loading a new stage or right after dying, but they still don’t remain that bad by comparison.

When it comes to PS3 advantages, things get a little more noticeable.  The first thing we want to bring up is Anti Aliasing.  For the most part, both versions held their own.  However when it comes to images set in the distance, the PS3 version gives off rather smooth images while the 360 version show us jaggies.  Furthermore many of these instances show the 360 version suffering from noticeable Z-fighting.  Another advantage that the PS3 seems to have comes from post processing effects.  This is where the PS3 really shines as these effects are often missing from the 360 version entirely.  In several shots below you can see how the PS3 offers a sort of dazed and distorted visual to reflect the trauma put onto your character in the game.  As you can see however, the 360 version lacks these effects completely.  Another example can be found in our video comparison if you take note of the clouds of dust that blow in when the soldiers exit the vehicle at the start of the second clip.  This is also absent from the 360 version.  We tested this spot a few times, but the result was always the same.

image10

 

When we look at the lighting comparison between these two versions, the HDR lighting remains identical.  However one difference between the two is the more aggressive bloom effects found on the PS3.  This can be either good or bad depending on personal taste.  Shadows are also very close and look equally appealing on both versions.  The PS3′s shadows are a little softer, but the difference is minimal here.  When it is all said and done, both versions have their own perks.  However, the PS3 had more perks that also happen to be much more noticeable by comparison.  With that in mind, the PS3 version will be taking the visuals category today.

image1

 

Performance: The performance aspect of the game ended pretty much the same for both versions.  Neither version strayed too far from the targeted 30 FPS, but both versions tore quite a bit.  The tearing between versions was rather different between the PS3 and 360 as one console would always be doing slightly better than the other.  The problem is that neither console could hold onto the advantage and would always shift quite often under analysis.  In the end however, both versions averaged out pretty close overall.  Do to both versions giving a pretty smooth frame rate, but with deceptive tearing, only a tie can truly be awarded here.

Xbox 360 Frame Analysis PlayStation 3 Frame Analysis
Clip 1 info:
Length of clip: 2020 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.99
Percent of torn frames: 9.91
Clip 1 info:
Length of clip: 2020 frames
Average FPS of clip: 30.00
Percent of torn frames: 6.96
Clip 2 info:
Length of clip: 2334 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.95
Percent of torn frames: 0.07
Clip 2 info:
Length of clip: 2334 frames
Average FPS of clip: 30.36
Percent of torn frames: 2.76
Clip 3 info:
Length of clip: 4023 frames
Average FPS of clip: 27.94
Percent of torn frames: 19.63
Clip 3 info:
Length of clip: 4023 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.85
Percent of torn frames: 9.10
Clip 4 info:
Length of clip: 6065 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.94
Percent of torn frames: 1.73
Clip 4 info:
Length of clip: 6065 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.69
Percent of torn frames: 5.67
Clip 5 info:
Length of clip: 7926 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.94
Percent of torn frames: 0.30
Clip 5 info:
Length of clip: 7926 frames
Average FPS of clip: 30.28
Percent of torn frames: 2.51
Clip 6 info:
Length of clip: 9174 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.82
Percent of torn frames: 3.03
Clip 6 info:
Length of clip: 9174 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.80
Percent of torn frames: 5.13
Global percent of torn frames: 10.07
Global average FPS: 29.66
Global percent of torn frames: 12.86
Global average FPS: 29.96


Loading: Finally we have out loading times.  First off let us start by saying that ONLY the HD pack was recommended by the developer, so ONLY the HD pack was installed.  Unlike RAGE, installing the entire game will not offer anymore to the experience in terms of visuals and performance and therefore has no part in this comparison.

Load times were very close overall and timed out pretty average when compared to most games.  While the PS3 version did have a minor mandatory install, it pretty much consists of the HD texture pack that has also been installed for the 360 during this analysis.  Check out the numbers below to see our findings.  With times this close, a tie seems like a reasonable conclusion here.

PlayStation 3 Load Times Xbox 360 Load Times
Sample 1: 16.5 Seconds Sample 1: 14.7 Seconds
Sample 2: 17.8 Seconds Sample 2: 15.6 Seconds
Sample 3: 16.5 Seconds Sample 3: 16.2 Seconds
Sample 4: 17.0 Seconds Sample 4: 15.3 Seconds
Sample 5: 17.5 Seconds Sample 5: 16.4 Seconds
Sample Average: 17.6 Seconds Sample Average: 15.6 Seconds


Rollover to see the Difference.

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after

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Mouse over the image to see through our “Lens”.

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after

Move the Slider to see the Difference. 

Rollover to see the Difference. Notice the blur missing on the Xbox 360?

Rollover to see the Difference.

before
after

Move the Slider to see the Difference. Notice the light is more pronounced on the PS3.

Mouse over the image to see through our “Lens”.

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More Roll Overs, Conclusion, Technical Score, Videos and Staff Choice on Page 2>>>

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*To ensure color accuracy from the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U output, the PlayStation 3 has RGB Full Range set to "Full" and Super White "On", and the Xbox 360 has Reference Level set to "Expanded" and HDMI Color Space set to "RGB". Our capture card we have captured segments from the AVS HD 709 . Blu-ray, HD DVD, & MP4 Calibration suite.

As you will see, each system matches each other at the SOURCE LEVEL. No contrast or gamma settings are manipulated before or after capturing our images/videos. We strongly believe that these types of corrections are done on a individuals preference and should not be adjusted by us. Finally, washed out looking images that are due to contrast or gamma differences will not have any influence on our final verdicts. Please Read through our F.A.Q page if you have any questions or concerns.*