Destiny Visual Analysis: PS4 vs. Xbox One, PS3 vs Xbox 360

Not the good, not the bad, just the middle ground.

Posted By | On 19th, Sep. 2014 Under Article, Graphics Analysis


Bungie had been out of the limelight for a long while and it was an almost surprise when they’d gone mum. Almost, because they had come out with Halo, which had made them the best out there, but at the sametime had seen expectations soar to new heights. With Destiny, Bungie had planned to bask in the erstwhile glory of the Halo era. While Destiny hasn’t managed to bring about the same buzz and fervour amongst the crowds, it has nevertheless stirred them.

What’s noteworthy is Bungie’s efforts to scrub out the console performance differences, which Destiny seems to have done perfectly. With considerable tweaks and upgrades since the beta version of the game, the Xbox One version and the PS4 version of the game are finally at par with each other. 

Destiny PS4 vs Xbox One

PS4 on the right. Xbox One on the left.

"The Xbox One and the PS4 both churn out a steady 30fps experience in FullHD. What struck a chord of joy for the Microsoft console users was the implementation of the 1080p rendering since the impact it has had on the game’s environment has been considerably impactful; compared to the beta the environments look richer and slicker, objects and set pieces appear more solid with defined boundaries and neat details."

There had been much frustration over the Xbox One version of Destiny running at 900p in comparison to the PS4’s 1080p rendering, but Bungie had promised that they’ll close down on such disparities and they have stood true to their words. The Xbox One and the PS4 can be seen level pegging when it comes to Destiny’s performance. The game almost looks identical on both the platforms. Although scrutinizing the game’s two versions on the current gen consoles side by side could make it easy to point out differences.

The Xbox One and the PS4 both churn out a steady 30fps experience in FullHD. What struck a chord of joy for the Microsoft console users was the implementation of the 1080p rendering since the impact it has had on the game’s environment has been considerably impactful; compared to the beta the environments look richer and slicker, objects and set pieces appear more solid with defined boundaries and neat details. While the higher resolution output has improved the game’s ambience, this increase is as good as negligible for those playing on small screens; the difference is noticeable on TVs of sizes in excess of 46”.

Destiny uses FXAA for dealing with jagged ends and it does a decent job of getting things right. Both the consoles render textures in high resolutions and thus are not in a dire need of high end AA effects, post processing or otherwise to take care of jaggies. The down side of FXAA is that in areas of extensive depth of field, objects are susceptible to jagged edges, and when FXAA does its job in such situations, said objects end up with smudged appearances, although mostly attributed to object boundaries. But it is something that you wouldn’t notice outrightly and doesn’t impact the game in any way.

 Destiny PS4 vs Xbox One

"The only place where there seems to be a little discrepancy between the two consoles is with regard to the AA and texture filtering. Somehow, the anti-aliasing on the Xbox One version seems not as good as the PS4’s. It’s not a humongous difference that would spell chaos for the user, but parity achieved in every field, it was a bit odd to behold that."

Set pieces seem to be identically placed in both the versions too. The game has cloth physics but it’s not ubiquitous. While you may see flags furling and flapping, you’ll find some characters’ clothes to be not reactive to various game elements. Even though you don a helmet for almost the entirety of the game, it feels a little lacking to not have appropriate hair physics in a game of such calibre.

Both the consoles have an excellent 2D skybox with ample detailing and crepuscular rays to complement the beauty of it. The non interactive 3D skybox gives a notion of the proportions of the world that you will be traversing and there seem no fault that either. Texture pop in wasn’t an issue on either consoles. 

The only place where there seems to be a little discrepancy between the two consoles is with regard to the AA and texture filtering. Somehow, the anti-aliasing on the Xbox One version seems not as good as the PS4’s. It’s not a humongous difference that would spell chaos for the user, but parity achieved in every field, it was a bit odd to behold that. Again, such a difference would only be noticeable by enthusiasts who wish to etch out the differences and similarities with utmost dexterity. I will also like to add that due to better texture filtering, the colors also look sharper on the PS4 version. 

Destiny PS4 vs Xbox One

"The Xbox 360 version of the game has better shadow mapping and renders them at a seemingly higher resolution in addition to catering to the jagged ends with a better AA implementation."

The older generation of the consoles largely seem to share the same ground when it comes to performance, but maybe Bungie’s experience with the Microsoft console has paid off in having them better their game.

While Destiny  manages to look almost identical on the Xbox 360 and the PS3, some differences are quite visible. The Xbox 360 version of the game has better shadow mapping and renders them at a seemingly higher resolution in addition to catering to the jagged ends with a better AA implementation. Shadows appear neater and more defined on the Xbox 360 than they do on the Sony counterpart.

The overall textures too seem to look better on the MS console but the difference is there, no matter the triviality of it. The skybox on the old generation cuts back on the detail, but looks just as good. Needless to say, other aspects are dialled down a lot.

Destiny PS4 vs Xbox One

"Bungie needs to be commended for Destiny on a lot of fronts, but the most important here is the efforts that they have tried put in to bring parity in the two consoles. They have been quite successful with it too with a few differences."

Particle effects take a toll on the GPU, and the open world environment of Destiny has oodles of alpha processing that it keeps throwing at the GPU. To retain alpha processing while maintaining frame rate consistency, Bungie did excessive use of anti-aliasing to put dust motes and particle effects in place.

In effect, the GPUs of both the consoles render particle effects on a fundamental level and have them get smudged excessively. While this method does lack detail, in the overall outlook, it works well enough for the game. The Xbox 360 and the PS3 run the game in sub HD resolutions but don’t experience any frame rate drops that would ruin the gameplay.

Bungie needs to be commended for Destiny on a lot of fronts, but the most important here is the efforts that they have tried put in to bring parity in the two consoles. They have been quite successful with it too with a few differences. On the other hand, the game has been beautifully executed albeit with a few nitpicky complaints we have that won’t ever go. The PlayStation 4 has a slight lead when it comes to graphical prowess, but there are differences in the content available to the PlayStation and the Xbox users. Disregarding that, Destiny is a game that almost stands equally firm on both the new gen consoles.


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