Sniper Elite 3 Visual Analysis: PS4 vs Xbox One vs PC, PS3 vs Xbox 360

Behold, The new-gen anatomy! Blood, bones, lungs, and all.

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


Another day, another game, another article to pit the consoles against each other to see who triumphs over whom. Sniper Elite 3, the successor to Sniper Elite V2 was released on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3 and the PC not a handful of days back, and already the the community is abuzz with who takes the crown of superiority. Might as well that; I’ll play along.

As usual, we’ll start the discourse with the new generation of consoles first. Both, the X1 and the PS4 have been vying to scramble over each other to bask in glory and the majority of times, it’s the X1 that is left behind; but only ever so marginally.

Sniper Elite 3 PS4

" Frame rates constantly fluctuate between 40 to 60 frames per second with the Ps4 being least consistent in maintaining the said benchmark. Even so, it is the Xbox One that is surprisingly plagued by screen tearing and hence, the latter’s superiority in frame rate number crunching is rendered useless."

Before talking about how the game fairs on both the consoles in general, I’ll talk about the relative differences which are seemingly few as they may be, but still portend a slightly bleak situation for one console. The Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 run Sniper Elite 3 on 1080p at 60 frames per second but fail to hold the consistency.

Frame rates constantly fluctuate between 40 to 60 frames per second with the PS4 being least consistent in maintaining the said benchmark. Even so, it is the Xbox One that is surprisingly plagued by screen tearing and hence, the latter’s superiority in frame rate number crunching is rendered useless.

Even with the X1 having a better frame rate, the console fails to effectively load each frame fully before loading the next frame. The other difference is a ground of contention for many, that being the colour saturation on the X1 which is seemingly higher, resulting in the display output being crisper than the PS4.

Cranking the RGB settings on your TV may affect this, but there still remains a certain difference and especially for those of us going “Meh.” on tweaking TV settings, the X1 definitely has a cheerier and overall better look to it.

That is, if you can forgive the horizontal screen tearing. This is all there is to the major differences between the two consoles but the screen tearing on the X1 is a bugger, bound to irritate sooner or later. After the 16GB patch for the X1 of Sniper Elite 3, one would expect this to not happen. Hopefully soon it would be fixed.

Sniper Elite 3 Xbox One

An irritatingly common sight on the X1.

" The graphics techniques employed in the game bring out the hot and sweltering environment of Africa nicely. High resolution textures do their job nicely in ensuring that the considerable depth of field remains crisp and clear. Tessellation and shadows look good especially well in amply lit scenes and the lighting is to die for. "

Other minor differences do crop up occasionally, such as the X1 faring better with motion blur and film grain, but they may very well be situational instances. Said differences set aside, the game looks identical on both the consoles. Which brings us to the overall look and feel of the game.

The graphics techniques employed in the game bring out the hot and sweltering environment of Africa nicely. High resolution textures do their job nicely in ensuring that the considerable depth of field remains crisp and clear. Tessellation and shadows look good especially well in amply lit scenes and the lighting is to die for. The spectacular use of lighting gives the whole game a splendid, coruscating look to it that works excellently in its favour.

Add to that the exquisite use of crepuscular rays and bloom, and you may as well find yourself standing in awe of the splendour of how some scenes turn out to be. No complaints go for anisotropic filtering with consistent and stable textures being visible throughout.

As mentioned before, texture mapping is commendable and so is that of rasterisation which lights up the environment nicely which is succoured by the apt use of ambient occlusion. I found no reason to whinge about the anti aliasing either although HDR could have been used to make the game look better.

What I DO gripe about is the physics of the game. The ragdoll is hilarious at times with instances after lodging a bullet having hilarious consequences with the enemies doing backflips or falling head first to the ground as if trying to be a flagpole.

Sniper Elite 3 PS4

" Apart from the lighting in the game, there isn’t anything that you would tend to behold in reverence or slobber over, but it’s enough to make the experience worthwhile. Actually more than enough, with the dynamic lighting system even making objects cast multiple shadows depending on the light sources that the said object is exposed to. "

The foliage and clothing of the characters may look realistic enough, but they do not react to various phenomenons. While the foliage does wave and flail about in the wind, you can ghost walk through them. The clothing does not react to movements, never bending, folding or hanging loose and lashing where it should. Where alpha particles deserves some appreciation making fires look nice with translucency where it should be, the particle effects themselves bungle their job, with smoke often appearing as a rough patch instead of seamlessly blending in with the environment.

Apart from the lighting in the game, there isn’t anything that you would tend to behold in reverence or slobber over, but it’s enough to make the experience worthwhile. Actually more than enough, with the dynamic lighting system even making objects cast multiple shadows depending on the light sources that the said object is exposed to.

The PC version of the game trumps the competition. If you have a decent enough machine with say, with a GTX 650Ti or a Radeon 78xx series card, the it can run the game in excess 60 frames per second without so much as taking a deeper breath.

The game’s minimum system requirements remain fairly low with it demanding a minimum of a ‘Pentium D’ processor at 3Ghz or an Athlon X2 4200+ supplemented with a GT 630 or even an R7 240 graphics card. Needless to say, the game would run on almost any mid-segment system bought in the last 2-3 years.

Sniper Elite 3

" But what really steals the show are the grotesquely satisfying X-ray kills. Each time you trigger a slow-mo shot with your sniper rifle, you’re bound to revel in the glory of a well placed shot, treated with an anatomical view of your target’s organs butchered into splinters by your ever so slowly bullet moving as if to meet its lover. "

The depth of field on the PC is seemingly higher than the consoles and the lighting is even better with the ambient occlusion and lighting doing a phenomenal job. The number of polygons visible per instance is higher too with the textures and reflections apparently better.

The particle quality, alpha processing and the reaction of clothing and foliage to the aforementioned elements remain the same. There’s even an option of supersampling available for high end GPUs. If you want an effortlessly beautiful experience, you will need to have a bad-ass GPU. Even a GTX 670/770 or an R9 280X may be whirring furiously to handle the supersampling with everything cranked up.

But what really steals the show are the grotesquely satisfying X-ray kills. Each time you trigger a slow-mo shot with your sniper rifle, you’re bound to revel in the glory of a well placed shot, treated with an anatomical view of your target’s organs butchered into splinters by your ever so slowly bullet moving as if to meet its lover.

It’s ever so satisfying an experience that never lets a moment get boring. The snapping bones, ruptured veins and hushing blood promise a blithesome experience, as gross as it may sound. Although it did take quite some time to get over the cringing reaction every time we got a testicle shot. The squelches and cracking sound make the experience most satisfying.

Sniper Elite 3

" If you happen to have an older console, then buying the game for either the Xbox 360 or the PS3 is a merely a matter of personal liking."

Now we’re left with the older generation of consoles that is being readily sidelined as the hour passes. Now that the older generation is long past its halcyon days, they cannot push the hardware limits any further to make the game look any better and courtesy the long waged war that brought out numerous upgrades and improvements, almost all games now look identical on both the consoles. The case with Sniper Elite 3 is no different.

If you happen to have an older console, then buying the game for either the Xbox 360 or the PS3 is a merely a matter of personal liking. Sniper Elite 3 is identical on both the consoles with a smidgen of a difference in the gamma correction; again, nothing that can’t be corrected with a few tweaks on your television set.

Sniper Elite 3 Ps3

" Sniper Elite 3 is a vast improvement over it predecessor, the V2, with its splendid visuals and much better calibration and response to changing hardware, with the game performing variably with multi-core CPUs. "

The game does suffer from screen tearing on both the console but the gameplay remains smooth too, with the frame rates hovering in excess of 30 frames per second running in HD. Needless to say, the shadows suffer a lot and so does the anti aliasing over all, but the lighting maintains its brilliance; going by the older generation’s calibre.

Bump mapping is decent and anisotropic filtering is wholly missing but the dynamic lighting holds its course in lending the game an almost nasty but satisfying beauty. The depth of field is anything but commendable with some nice shadows to go along. Nothing to fret over in the older generation as such.

Sniper Elite 3 is a vast improvement over its predecessor, the V2, with its splendid visuals and much better calibration and response to changing hardware, with the game performing variably with multi-core CPUs. Our surreptitious goose stepper’s stealthy operations are made fun by the inclusion of the baroquely detailed anatomy of your enemies, featuring new gen intestines, kidneys, and lungs, rendered in such detail by our beloved systems.

It would do well for you to not miss this game.


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