GRID Autosport Visual Analysis: Xbox 360 vs PS3 vs PC

Old console glory or just a sloppy job?

Posted By | On 07th, Jul. 2014 Under Article, Graphics Analysis


Codemasters have constantly set new benchmarks for racing games with GRID. As much as they were different in their portrayal of a racing game, so have they striven to provide apt visuals for their games. Their newest title is in the market now, but have they really hit the bull’s eye with this one? Not quite, but neither have they missed it by a lot.

GRID Autosport was released on the Xbox 360, PS3 and the PC not long back and since has been the centre of attention for enthusiast racing genre gamers, for a variety of reasons. I’ll save the best of the lot for the last; starting with the older generation of consoles, it seems the Xbox 360 takes the lead somewhat.

GRID Autosport Xbox 360

" Every detail in the environment is beautifully brought about by the - most certainly NOT rudimentary - global illumination and the reflective surfaces carefully emulate the shadows and reflections of the objects around. There are ample number of polygons in every scene without (much) compromise on detailing. "

GRID Autosport runs on the Ego 3.0 graphics engine which till now hasn’t failed to impress us with its potential. The older generation of consoles have given enough time to the developers to crack their secrets and let pure power unleash.

Keeping that in mind, it has quite hard to distinguish a well optimised game on the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Nonetheless, some differences do crawl up in the actual performance of GRID Autosport between the two platforms and we resume the ancient rivalry between the two almost antediluvian consoles. Sort of.

Before mentioning the handful of differences, I take to the sweet side of the picture. The following are the elements that are common to the game on both, the Xbox 360, and the PS3.

The Ego engine does a superb job of utilising the old generation of hardware in making the game look splendorous. The reflections and lighting are simply lovable; of the most excellent quality!

Every detail in the environment is beautifully brought about by the – most certainly NOT rudimentary – global illumination and the reflective surfaces carefully emulate the shadows and reflections of the objects around. There are ample number of polygons in every scene without (much) compromise on detailing.

The depth of field is laudable too, although try not to pry too close about the crowd stands and the fencing, not that you’re likely to though. The crowd otherwise seems realistic enough, although you’d only notice them as dummies in suits flashing by one after the other. Still, a rather fine job on the developer’s part.

GRID Autosport Xbox 360

The crowd may suck, but the reflections are awesome.

"The 2D skybox on both the consoles is admirable and so are the particle effects on both the systems, although the latter lack shadows. But that’s not a problem since mimicking real world particle shadows is a no-nonsense hardware mole. "

I was expecting the devs to be lazy with the foliage – no matter how little of it may be out there – but on the contrary, it looks pretty. The textures of the cars, the track and everything on track are superb; the case is not the same for anything lying beyond the meandering, sable strip of tarmac.

The 2D skybox on both the consoles is admirable and so are the particle effects on both the systems, although the latter lack shadows. But that’s not a problem since mimicking real world particle shadows is a no-nonsense hardware mole. Bloom is present on both the consoles and it looks good to say the least, but it could certainly have been better than it is in its current state. It is not like to cause any major case of TV smashing fury at the developers, but it still nags me every now and then.

There seems to a very simple form of ambient occlusion used, although it could very well be high level shadow effects. Either way, the ambient occlusion could certainly have done with a more careful eye about it in development. The physics of the game seem in place and so do the car and track models. Although the latter two haven’t been made from scratch but seem to have been borrowed more often than not from the earlier GRID title.

Even with all the game’s glory on both the consoles, there are times when you will no doubt furrow your brows in confusion as you start to notice differences on the two consoles. There aren’t a lot of them, mind, but there they are nevertheless. The PS3 quite visibly has better implementation of anti-aliasing in the game.

Grid autosport PS3

" The Xbox 360 happens to maintain a more consistent frame rate. While the PS3 is near about at par with the MS console, it is affected by horizontal screen tearing a lot more than the 360. The particle effects too seem to be more polished on the 360. "

The AA implementation is better on both, polygons (or set pieces), and their shadows. The Xbox version of GRID Autosport has a considerably more number of jaggies than its Sony counterpart. The textures too ’seemed’ better on the PS3 to me. But that seems to be an unlikely case and may very well have been a situational difference. At this point, the Xbox takes the lead.

The Xbox 360 happens to maintain a more consistent frame rate. While the PS3 is near about at par with the MS console, it is affected by horizontal screen tearing a lot more than the 360.

The particle effects too seem to be more polished on the 360. These factors alone are enough to determine the victor in the case. While the screen tearing issue on the PS3 is not ridiculous, why play a game like that when you can play it all smooth and slick?

There’s a been a lot of contempt for Codemasters for not bringing GRID Autosport for the new generation of consoles. The developers giving the reason that they had their engine optimised for the older generation and making it further multi-plat would have marred its beauty and efficiency. It has also drawn the wrath of the PC users.

Grid Autosport PS3 2

"You can have a laptop running an i5 with the Intel HD 4000 running and the game runs almost flawlessly at 25+ fps on medium settings. Make a combination of low-med settings and you can take the frame rate further up. Low end cards like the HD 6670 easily manage and average frame rate of 35 fps with all settings set to medium even with a bit of AA enabled. "

But not quite as much as we were led to believe. While the decision to release the game on the older generation DOES hold the game back a tad for high end PC users, it also means that the game is now capable to be run on fairly low end systems. You can have a laptop running an i5 with the Intel HD 4000 running and the game runs almost flawlessly at 25+ fps on medium settings. Make a combination of low-med settings and you can take the frame rate further up.

Low end cards like the HD 6670 easily manage and average frame rate of 35 fps with all settings set to medium even with a bit of AA enabled. Which is awesome because the game looks pretty darn good even with those settings.

On the flipside, high end cards like the GTX 690/780 or Radeon the R9 290x hit the sweet spot right away. With the graphics menu allowing you to fiddle with everything, be it AA, SSAO, crowd, night lighting, fog, particles, smoke shadows, global illumination, anisotropic filtering, and what not, you can just throttle everything up and see your card hum furiously and render out the most beautiful of scenes in the most intricate of details.

All this in at a amazing 50+fps. Reduce the AA and anisotropic a bit and you’ll be get an assured 20 fps gain. The game scales well with multi-core CPUs, utilising them to make the rendering less tolling on the GPU whilst producing smoother visuals.

While the SLI profile for the game is not available, you can use the GRID 2 profile for the same, which works really well. The game may have been held back by the release on the old gen consoles, but Codemasters weren’t gonna leave the PC users just like that.

GridAutosport PC

"The reflections on the PC are breathtaking. Environment effects like bloom, (gorgeous) lighting and ambient occlusion make the game look all the better and the shadows are never off, with the anti-aliasing failing you not once. Depth of field is nice and crisp and there are a fair number of polygons. "

They brought out a high resolution texture package for the PC users and the game looks absolutely glorious! Obviously you would need a glorious GPU for the stunning performance, but it’s well worth it for an enthusiast. Particle effects are smouldering hot and beautiful.

Particle shadows may be missing but again, particle effects are a hardware hog and emulating their behaviour would be impossible as of yet while providing consistent performance for a ‘laygamer’.

The reflections on the PC are breathtaking. Environment effects like bloom, (gorgeous) lighting and ambient occlusion make the game look all the better and the shadows are never off, with the anti-aliasing failing you not once. Depth of field is nice and crisp and there are a fair number of polygons. You would fall in love with the race day overshadowed by clouds. Although the 3D skybox isn’t great per se, it most certainly isn’t bad; same is the case for the 2D skybox.

Motion blur seems a bit off at times, when it apparently sets in later than it should making the experience seem odd at times. But you’re not like to notice that while enjoying the game as you will be. I would gladly kvetch about the foliage, crowds, crowd stands and some buildings as they no doubt, could have been made MUCH better.

But Codemasters have kept their focus where they should: on the tarmac. And so, my bleating has almost unsound basis. Still, I wish they could have improved them further. As mentioned before, the car models seem to be borrowed from the earlier game and so do some tracks, especially from Demolition.

GridAutosport PC

" GRID Autosport is a vast improvement over GRID 2; it has its noticeable drawbacks but in the light of the enhanced experience that the game provides, they are sidelined; almost completely. "

But other than that, the game firmly rests its case with its resplendent beauty and absolutely slick compatibility and performance; not just on the PC. GRID Autosport is a vast improvement over GRID 2; it has its noticeable drawbacks but in the light of the enhanced experience that the game provides, they are sidelined; almost completely.

All in all, you would find few things to complain about in this game. Get the game for a high end rig if you want the game to look heart thumping beautiful.

If you want to play the game and enjoy its glory on the older generation while appreciating the boundaries of excellence the game manages to touch on the old hardware, get it on either of the old consoles. Preferably the Xbox 360 version, solely for the reason that the game runs ‘relatively’ smoother and cleaner on the MS console.

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  • Trim Dose

    “the game runs almost flawlessly at 25+ fps on medium settings “, lol I hope nobody believes that I mean seriously.

  • Noble Alfred

    The game runs pretty brilliantly on my hd 8850m with tweaked ultra, high. AA is still a light problem.


 

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