Metal Gear Solid 5 Ground Zeroes Visual Analysis – PS4 vs. Xbox One, PS3 vs. Xbox 360

Big Boss makes his grisly debut on next gen consoles.

Posted By | On 12th, Apr. 2014 Under Article, Feature

Kojima Productions’ Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, like many cross-generational titles, began its life more focused on the current generation platforms. As the FOX Engine evolved, it was obvious that the power of the PS4 and Xbox One could bolster the game further – while the PS3 and Xbox 360 were hindering performance just as the graphics began to hit their stride. Then again, this is still a cross-generational game in the strictest sense. Creator Hideo Kojima has given as much time and attention to detail on the current generation as he has to the next. So which is superior?

When looking at the frame rates and resolutions, Kojima specified right out of the gate that the PS3 and Xbox 360 run at 720p and 30 FPS while the Xbox One version runs at 720p and 60 FPS. It’s the PS4 which runs at the highest grade, featuring a 1080p resolution and 60 FPS frame rate. The director himself even said the PS4 version looks the best.


"Asset streaming is incredibly improved with zero loading times and almost no pop-up for background objects."

But it’s still interesting to analyse the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. While even a game like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag had frame rate drops on current gen, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes’ frame rate somehow drops as far as below 30 FPS. The level of detail is impeccable though – Kojima’s emphasis on the photo-realistic nature of the FOX Engine, which mixes fast approximate anti-aliasing and material based rendering along with a very strong asset streaming pipeline. This is still current-gen though, so you’ll notice objects loading in the distance at times and some slightly less fine details compared to the next gen consoles.

In terms of performance, it’s the Xbox 360 which maintains a lead on the PS3. This could be due to the difficulties the latter faces with its architecture but the difference isn’t as startling as one would think. In terms of resolution, detail, lighting and overall visual appeal, both versions are fairly similar.

It’s the Xbox One and PS4 versions that provide the meat of the discussion.

With all the extra power, what exactly can the FOX Engine build off? Asset streaming is incredibly improved with zero loading times and almost no pop-up for background objects. Objects in the foreground tend to remain in their low-detail state, updating into high detail when you get very close, very quickly and a healthy dose of optimization should fix that.

mgsgw 7

"Performance on the Xbox One and PS4 in terms of frame rate is strong and very impressive with virtually no drop or screen-tearing at all."

The lightning system truly shines in next gen with a healthy mixture of hard and soft light sources. The edges of the spotlights training on you, the reflections and hues seen from guns as light bounces off them, lens flares, ambient occlusion and much, much more help bring the grim world of Ground Zeroes to life. The environmental effects are similarly amazing, with individual rain drops streaming down Snake’s face and catching the light of neighbouring light sources. It’s almost impossible to find a much better looking sky among next gen consoles, though the effect is best pronounced on the PS4 version.

And yes, the PS4 version is indeed superior to the Xbox One. This is in heavy part due to the 1080p resolution which provides a far stronger draw distance and depth of field along with crisper edges. A better form of anti-aliasing could have been utilized but it does nothing to defer the beauty of the game.

Performance on both consoles in terms of frame rate is strong and very impressive with virtually no drop or screen-tearing at all. The Xbox One employs motion blur more frequently than the PS4 version but aside from the resolution, you’ll find the exact same streaming capabilities, attention to detail, lighting system and texture quality.

mgsgw 5

"No matter which platform you pick it up for, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes is a visually impressive game."

It’s a shame that Kojima Productions couldn’t do much more on the PS4 and Xbox One. Tessellation appears sporadically and as stated before, the anti-aliasing is noticeably low-grade. Environmental destruction is limited, and some buildings look all too familiar at times. While Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes does look stunning, we haven’t seen the FOX Engine stretched to its limits yet.

No matter which platform you pick it up for, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes is a visually impressive game. It lacks the detail and outright scale of some open world titles on the current generation like Grand Theft Auto 5 but it’s important to remember that it is still just a prologue. What it does offer in terms of sheer visual magnitude, photo-realistic quality and lighting even on current gen consoles is simply amazing.

The PS4 and Xbox One versions offer a glimpse of what The Phantom Pain will be capable of, and it’s the former that delivers the definitive experience for those interested in Snake’s next-gen exploits. The aesthetic appeal may be grimy and dingy at most times but when Ground Zeroes shines, it warrants a look.

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  • Jacob S

    Everything about ground zero sucks- do not buy it, you will regret it. It would be nice if devs would stop being so cheap and lazy. MG5 demo – sucks.

    • Matc123

      “Everything about ground zeros sucks”. Really did you even read the article that you just commented on. Well if you did not Ravi Sinha was commenting on how visually impressive the game is.
      Also for your knowledge this game was targeted at true fans of the MGS series which will most likely fully indulge themselves in the gaming experience achieving 100% completion and taking part in all the trials. (in which I might add that it took me longer to get everything in metal gear solid: ground zeros than it did in infamous second son).
      Lastly if you think it is lazy to make a glitch free game whilst making another game (which is 200 times the size of ground zeros) that has a deadline in 2015 well i would like to know of a company that is not lazy.
      But with all that being said I still would of preferred ground zeros to come out as part as the main game together. I understand that it is probably helping to fund the main game but this has gave MGS a undeserving bad name.

    • Suchet B

      I totally agree with you – I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with MGS5:GZ yet, although people are entitled to their opinion. I completed the first main mission yesterday and the end credits came up. I didn’t have the same reaction as others. And anyone who has played the game will know its not small. The issue a reviewer had hilighted in an article I had read was the end credits came rolling after you complete the first mission. Had the end credits not been placed there and the game rolled into the next unlocked mission, people would sing a different tune to the size of the game.

    • Matc123

      The bad thing is though when a game gets a lot of bad press about it for me it takes away the experience for the game as you start to lower your expectations for the game which is a shame.
      As for my last comment I kind of came of a bit too positive. I want to get through that it is great game but it does have some problems like a few bad lines from miller and miller repeating the same stuff as you play the missions again (which in the phantom pain they said they would add a mute and I didn’t really notice it as I was concentrated on not getting caught but some people did) and as it said in the article “the anti-aliasing is noticeably low-grade. Environmental destruction is limited, and some buildings look all too familiar at times”. But if you take way all those little things away MGS ground zeros delivered on what it was meant to which was giving you a little back story which they will expand on in the phantom pain and getting excited for the main game. For me it was a success in my eyes as it achieved that and even the reviewers that rated it badly said it made them excited, so did people forgot that they was buying a prologue or something because it seems stupid to judge this game as a full game because it’s not.

      But as I said before I still would of preferred to have had this with main game but it’s for the benefit of the main game that they didn’t as they have seen the comments about the bad points and trying to improve/get rid of them in the phantom pain but then some people will still say it should have been free.

      Maybe even if they had more time with phantom pain Ground Zeros could have been a little bit longer but from a prologue perspective it could not be that much bigger as you want to keep the story for the main game and as you have targeted this game at your fans you don’t want to waste there time on revision on the character you already know by playing the other games multiple times. Sure they could of done more like making that cutscene after you finish the game in to a mission where you truly have to fight for everything you have and know that you can’t win which maybe would of made you have more of a reason to believe why he turns. Also maybe making the game like ‘vantage point’ giving a cutscene of someone else’s perspective like Paz or even playing from someone else’s perspective knowing that you can not do nothing as you play as Paz or Chico knowing that the same ending is coming (maybe even throw in a paradox in there) making you feel even worse for Chico. Thus making you even more enraged about skull faces actions.

    • ipeedonyou

      Lemme guess, you got the xbox one version? lmfao silly xbot.
      Your butthurt is showing 😉

    • Carlos

      I bought ground zeroes and I think it’s one of the best games out there and definitely had me pumped for phantom pain.

  • Xtreme Derp

    PS4 has dynamic weather simluation, apparently.

    • Jorge Chávez Colmenares

      I believe dynamic weather is supposed to come on The Phantom Pain. But I don’t know, I don’t have Ground Zeroes on PS4.

    • Psionicinversion

      lol owned, no dynamic weather simulation your so butthurt

    • Xtreme Derp


    • ipeedonyou

      Pretty sure the butthurt is all coming from your end, dude.
      Enjoy those inferior multiplats 🙂

    • Shven

      Nope. It has an atmospheric simulator that renders the sky differently. All versions of Phantom Pain will have real time weather, whereas GZ has it set for each mission.

    • Xtreme Derp

      Not according to Digital Foundry.

  • Psionicinversion

    £25 for a demo… kojima is laughing his @ss off right now as you dumb @sses will pay for anything

    • Suchet B

      Ground Zeroes to be honest it’s quite big – there has been a fashion lately for people to say it only lasts minutes or whatever length of time they are unsatisfied with, they are simply talking about the main mission – however if you play the game properly as per it’s main mission then go into the missions in the mission selecter it lasts a long, long time and is most definitely not the short game people are talking about. At the moment I’m playing the stealth mission to find 2 cold war psychopath assassins in daylight. And the whole game looks very beautiful.

    • Psionicinversion

      classic case of denial!!

  • Mark Stollery

    They need to start focusing more on ps4 and xbox one as they are the now and future. Keeping xbox 360 and ps3 will meam next gen suffers at their expense. We bought next gen to move forward not be held back by companies not putting eenough into it

    • Psionicinversion

      yeah but with most major games having delays theres not enough on the new consoles to keep you busy

    • Michael Divorty

      that’s why its better to wait till enough games come out and wait for a price drop before buying a next new gen console. Most people I know are still happy with there ps3 so why buy a ps4 there no point yet,

  • Mark Stollery

    Why are people so ready to diss one another. We are all gamers with differing opinions but surely thats a good thing and not an excuse for insults. People will like and not like mgs for various reasons but most who buy it would allready be mgs fans or veterans. Im an age where a disc product is not the full game but you have to buy extras etc who are the mugs is it the company’s or us?


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