“The Rise to Power Begins…”

BioWare 1 1
RPG 3.4 gigs Opt.
Release: 05/08/2011 sec sec Release: 05/08/2011
5.25% 0.56% ESRB: M

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Head2Head – Dragon Age II Analysis: This week we go Head2Head with Dragon Age II between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

Welcome back for another exciting Head2Head Analysis! First off we’d like to thank our sponsors over at Play-n-Trade Oviedo, FLfor providing us our test copies of this game, and this week that game is BioWare’s latest creation, Dragon Age II for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. From the time we completed our H2H screenshot comparison last week, we couldn’t wait to dive deeper into this RPG powerhouse and uncover the differences between each version. So without further adieu, let’s put Dragon Age II under our Lens and see which version comes out the true Champion!

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

Graphics: Dragon age II is definitely a nice looking game, and this time around it’s apparent that BioWare has made some significant changes to their render engine before release. This change improved the visual aspect of the game when compared to the demo code. Now let’s jump in and discuses the graphical differences between the two systems.

The first thing we noticed in the final code were the differences in each version’s anti-aliasing methods. It appeared the Xbox 360 implemented the usual 2x MSAA, while the PS3 implemented its MLAA algorithm, which isn’t very common. As demonstrated in our rollovers below, both version supported AA, it just seemed to be more noticeable and executed better on the PS3 - making the PS3 look “smoother” to the naked eye.

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

Next on the list is lighting and shading. This time around it seemed as if the Xbox 360 had the upper hand in this department. As shown in our rollovers and sliders, the implementation of dynamic light and shadows used in both games looked virtually identical between the two builds. Beside the contrast differences (which are not accounted for in our analysis), and shadow filtering techniques, this category ended in a wash. However the self shadowing methods applied told a different tale. Based on our sliders, its quite obvious this is where the Xbox 360 looked slightly more polished. Again, not that big of a difference but a difference indeed.

With that being said, it’s only fair that the graphics department end in a tie. On one hand, the PS3 seemed to have a smoother implementation of AA, on the other hand, the Xbox 360 seemed to implement self shadowing better. Either way, both games looked rather close to one another and only when these two versions were side by side could any differences be seen.

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

Performance: Once again we’re faced with difficult decision to make; by watching our video analysis you can see that both games suffered their share of screen tearing and frame dips. Screen tearing and frame dips were most noticeable when gameplay got hectic, and when a lot of geometry and particles needed to be rendered. When this happened, we saw the PS3 holding a slightly smoother frame-rate, but this came with a cost of some pretty robust screen tearing. On the flip-side, when things got intense the Xbox 360 performed in the exact opposite way.

With that being said, this category ended in another tie. Once again, we see the Xbox 360 having less screen tearing, while the PS3 held a slightly better frame rate. Below are the samples we gathered from our Analysis video.

PlayStation 3 Frame Analysis Xbox 360 3 Frame Analysis
Clip 1 info:
Length of clip: 3670 frames
Average FPS of clip: 28.51
Percent of torn frames: 10.94
Clip 1 info:
Length of clip: 3670 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.41
Percent of torn frames: 0.24
Clip 2 info:
Length of clip: 3721 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.38
Percent of torn frames: 1.96
Clip 2 info:
Length of clip: 3721 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.91
Percent of torn frames: 0.05
Clip 3 info:
Length of clip:  5790 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.70
Percent of torn frames: 1.58
Clip 3 info:
Length of clip: 5790 frames
Average FPS of clip: 26.26
Percent of torn frames: 0.58
Clip 4  info:
Length of clip:  3009frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.58
Percent of torn frames: 03.5
Clip 4 info:
Length of clip:  3009 frames
Average FPS of clip: 29.19
Percent of torn frames: 0.02
Global percent of torn frames: 5.25
Global average FPS: 29.34
Global percent of torn frames: 0.56
Global average FPS: 28.36

Loading: Finally, a category that was easy to decide. Based on the load times we gathered this category again, ended in a stalemate.

Note: the PlayStation 3 version does require a mandatory install which weighed in around 3.5 Gigs and took 15 minutes to complete. Below are the gathered load times.

PlayStation 3 Load Times Xbox 360 3 Load Times

Sample 1: 27 seconds

Sample 2: 28 seconds

Sample 3: 26 seconds

Sample 4: 21 seconds

Sample 5: 25 seconds

Sample 1: 23 seconds

Sample 2: 32 seconds

Sample 3: 25 seconds

Sample 4: 24 seconds

Sample 5: 25 seconds

Sample Average: 25.4 seconds
Sample Average: 25.8 seconds


Rollover to see the Difference. Textures look identical on both platforms.


Move the Slider to see the Difference.


Move the Slider to see the Difference.


Rollover to see the Difference.


Move the Slider to see the Difference.

More Roll Overs, Conclusion, Technical Score, Video 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.*