the rantings and ravings of a not quite sane cow

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Platform Showdown, Part II: Mirror's Edge demo, PC vs. X360

Please note that I change the format of my features as I see fit. If you want a little consistency, why are you reading this is the first place?

Another note: I actually played the full version on the PC, but I only had a chance to play through the content that's in the demo.

I'm presuming my readers have an idea what Mirror's Edge is (if not, now's your chance to look it up. Go on, I dare you.)

PC: First, I pity you if you intend on playing this on a 4:3 monitor, the display being anamorphic 16:9 and all. Not so bad on my 16:10 mini-behemoth, but if you're living in the past you have some serious windowboxing in store. Not sure whether it means it's a lazy port or they're trying to make it more cinematic or something. Other than that, the graphics are fairly similar, except that obviously you can crank it up to higher resolutions and pile on the AA (I didn't, because it reduced my framerate by 75%).
X360: I'm fairly sure that it's not windowboxed at 4:3 (but I haven't had too much chance to test, 4:3 TV's are harder to come by these days. It looks good enough though, and I don't think the PC additions are really necessary.
Tie - the PC version can look nicer if you've got the hardware, but the 360 version looks good enough but is better at maintaining a consistent frame rate.

Tie - it's sound, whatever way you hear it. I prefer the PC version myself as I have 5.1 speakers for my PC but not my 360.

PC: the PC version is actually in an interesting position here. On one hand, moving around is worse with a keyboard, but on the other, looking around is better with a mouse.
X360: This is an entirely unscientific measurement here, but the gamepad just FEELS better. It feels like the game was designed around a gamepad (probably true). For some reason I can't particularly explain, having the up and down action buttons next to each other just seems like a better way to do things. Take that as you will, however.
X360 - It just feels right, and that's the most important thing in a platformer.

PC - Both offer leaderboard multiplayer. TF2 has the right idea with that, and occasionally you'll see me top the Audiosurf board for some obscure song, but other than that I'm not particularly interested. The points however go to to PC version, since you don't need a Live subscription to compete (as far as I know, correct me if I'm wrong).

Platform-specific Features:
PC: It has PhysX support, if you have the hardware. From what I've seen, it doesn't add anything useful. A couple of banners flopping around in the wind, but since the game has so few guns you can't really play around with (read: shoot the brains out of) them. One glaring problem I should add is that many of the menu screens have a lot of white, and the mouse cursor is white with a tiny blue outline. You can barely see it, and on most menus I was just flailing the mouse around until it moved over something that wasn't white (keyboard navigation works in most parts but in some places you're almost forced to use the mouse).
X360: To be completely honest, can't think of anything. There might be in the full game, but having only played a demo I can't see anything.
Tie - The PC version has PhysX support, but it doesn't add anything.

As you can tell by all the ties I've given, it really doesn't matter which one you get (worry more about whether you like the game or not, it can be somewhat of a niche title). If I had to pick one (get that gun out of my face!) I'd pick the Xbox 360 version, it's just a much more coherent experience, and it's fairly obvious that it was designed for consoles and the PC version does show of a lazy port in some places.

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