PS3 vs. Xbox 360 ports: The cold, hard truth

DEVIL MAY CRY 4

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Control: Even though it lacks the vibration of an Xbox 360 controller, there's no question the Sixaxis is better for playing Devil May Cry 4. Much of this is due to the series' history as a PlayStation 2 exclusive, so it naturally works well with the layout of the controller. The face buttons are simply easier to use for combos and the shoulder buttons, particularly R1, are superior for targeting over the right bumper on Xbox 360. In terms of responsiveness, both versions fare just fine but there's no doubt that the Sixaxis enables better control of the action.

Graphics: You'll be hard-pressed to find any significant advantage to the presentation in either the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 versions of Devil May Cry 4. Even after putting on our Coke-bottle glasses we couldn't find any substantive differences in the two games. This is definitely a surprise, mainly because the game was originally a PlayStation 3 exclusive and we expected it to out-class its Xbox 360 sibling. Instead, they're identical.

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Load times: What's impressive about Devil May Cry 4 is that there are few moments when you're waiting for the game to load in either version. Capcom has done a great job of minimizing loading times within the game. Whenever you move from one area or room to the next, a black screen will flash for a second or two. On PlayStation 3 that time is cut in half, but only due to a lengthy install process when you first boot up the game. As has been reported, Devil May Cry 4 spools 5 GB of data onto your hard drive in an obscene 20+ minute install. The fact that it's mandatory makes it utterly ridiculous. Capcom went so far as to urge gamers to "grab a sandwich" to pass the time during the install. How about they make me a sandwich to make up for the wait? Absolutely no contest here: the Xbox 360 crosses the finish line before PlayStation 3 can even load it up.

Online integration: Since Devil May Cry 4 doesn't pack in multiplayer of any kind, it's all about leaderboards for tracking your end mission rankings. Both versions support them so there's no definitive advantage for one console or the other.

EDGE: PlayStation 3

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Were it not for the lengthy install required on PlayStation 3, it'd be an easy choice. Devil May Cry 4 controls better on PlayStation 3, but is less of a hassle on Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 controller just can't match the feel of a Sixaxis when hacking up demons. When it comes down to it, controls trump loading times--especially in a fast-paced action game like Devil May Cry 4. PlayStation 3 eeks out a victory, but only by the slimmest of margins.

CONCLUSION

While we can't definitively name one console as having better multi-platform releases across the board, there's a clear winner among these four games: PlayStation 3 beats the Xbox 360 handily. Call of Duty 4 plays nearly the same on both systems, differing only in superior online integration on PlayStation 3. With Devil May Cry 4, the game is all-around better on PlayStation 3 (despite the horrendous installation process). Burnout Paradise emerges as decidedly better on Sony's system thanks to EA Criterion's decision to make it the leading version of the game. The exact opposite is true for Assassin's Creed where Xbox 360 beats out its PlayStation 3 counterpart visually.

Judging by what we've seen with these recent games, you may be better off picking up PlayStation 3 versions of high-profile multi-platform games for the time being. The notion that PlayStation 3 ports are inherently inferior to Xbox 360 simply doesn't hold water these days. Some games do perform worse on Sony's console – Blacksite: Area 51 has been plagued with performance issues, for instance, and The Orange Box suffers from groan-inducing load times and chugging framerates.

These issues are slowly being addressed, though, as many publishers are starting to churn out multi-platform releases with an eye for the PlayStation 3. LucasArts recently announced an initiative to make the PS3 their leading platform for development, joining a growing wave of developers seeking to improve multi-platform games heading to Sony's console. With any luck, this movement will result in better performance for all gamers, Xbox 360 and PS3 alike. For now though, just enjoy fragging terrorists, crashing cars, and slicing demons in half on your PlayStation 3.

OVERALL EDGE: PlayStation 3

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Tracy Erickson

GamePro (online)

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