After playing through the first few hours of Call of Duty Black Ops 3, we are now ready to offer our initial impressions of the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Treyarch’s much anticipated first person shooter. Please note that this is an initial analysis and a final article including a detailed comparison with the PC version will be published later.
Technically speaking, Treyarch have always been the one to push the visual boundaries within the Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty Black Ops and Black Ops 2 were perhaps one of the best looking first person shooters with solid performance, visual fidelity and aesthetics on last gen consoles. However, Treyarch is not using a brand new engine for Call of Duty Black Ops 3. The game uses a heavily modified engine with a new renderer focusing on re-engineering certain aspects of the tools and the framework which allows the unification of Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies mode. Some may say that Treyarch is simply being lazy by rehashing old code but a modified engine is generally not a bad thing [if done right] and a lot of stuff is actually “modified” behind the scenes in games development. We will discuss in detail about the various aspects of the engine in our final analysis but does it get the job done?
The PS4 and Xbox One versions use a dynamic resolution. The PS4 version can scale up to a full native 1920 X 1080p resolution down to 1360 X 1080p and the Xbox One version from 1600 X 900p to 1280 X 900p approximately. The game targets a 60fps frame rate cap but is not able to achieve a locked fps with frequent drops. Scripted sequences and static scenarios are strangely locked at 30fps but overall, it’s the PS4 version that manages to run at a better frame rate but not by much.
Besides the performance and pixel rendering parameters, both versions employ the same core assets and texture quality. The game uses filmic SMAA T2x that does a fantastic job of reducing the jaggies on nearby objects thereby reducing distortion in image quality. The game uses trilinear filtering on ground surfaces and textures which does an okay job really…but anisotropic filtering would have been definitely appreciated here. At times, the engine will load in assets quicker on the PS4 compared to the Xbox One, resulting into streaming issues on the latter. This was rare but we witnessed it a couple of times. And guess what is back? Dithered shadows!
We will be looking into Call of Duty Black Ops 3 in a lot more detail this week. So stay tuned.