Final Fantasy XIII PS3 vs Xbox 360 Definitive Comparison



A detailed comparison of the PS3 and Xbox 360 releases of marathon sim Final Fantasy XIII concludes that the Xbox 360 version is indeed significantly inferior to the PS3 original, and even goes so far as to ridicule the game for its now legendary linearity.

Expert comparison yields a series of comparison images and some lengthy analysis, excerpted below (in the case of the comparison images, careful scrutiny may be required as differences are at times subtle, not helped by the low resolution of some of the images).

Ironically, the game’s notorious linearity is its saving grace on the Xbox 360 – only with this linearity does the game survive being cut down to almost half the size of the Blu-ray on the Xbox 360:


The team had to find a way to compress over 32GB of CG to fit within the confines of three Xbox 360 DVDs – squeezed already by a copy protection mechanism that limits available space to a meagre 6.8GB, less than the storage potential of both PlayStation 2 and Wii.

The sheer idea of porting over a massive Blu-ray game like this onto the Xbox 360 seems like lunacy, but the good news from a conversion perspective is that the game itself is extremely linear.



The core basis of the majority of the game is in negotiating very limited environments with just a few branching routes, following a yellow arrow to get to your next destination and fighting a myriad bunch of enemies as you do it.

Very rarely are you asked to return to previous locations – with just one chapter in the game dedicated to the sort of free-roaming JPRG gameplay for which Final Fantasy is renowned.

By just about every measurable criteria, it seems that the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII is a quick port where the existing PS3 material has been very roughly manhandled and bludgeoned into shape in order to work on the Microsoft console.

Soon the Xbox 360 version was being reported as 1024×576, with 2x multi-sampling anti-aliasing. This is up against native 720p on the original PlayStation 3 version, again with the same 2x level of MSAA, representing a fairly enormous drop of around a third of the overall resolution.

So, are the stories about a reduced resolution on FFXIII 360 true? You betcha.

Unfortunately, the resolution reduction here seems to be all about converting across the PS3 engine as quickly and easily as possible, and that means accessing as much of the console’s power with the lowest amount of aggravation.









The conclusion on the in-game graphics for the Xbox?

“Adequate but a touch disappointing” best sums up the Xbox 360 version.

Fine edges lose precision, and while the effect is mitigated thanks to the MSAA along with the multitude of post processing effects the engine has at its disposal, the fact is that the lack of resolution can make the 360 build look sub-par.

The clean CG look of the PS3 game in motion is unduly compromised, and while it’s still a handsome enough title on Xbox 360, it lacks the pristine presentation of its sibling.

Square Enix is said to have botched the CG encoding, leaving gigabytes of empty space on the three discs whilst crippling high-motion scenes with heavy-handed compression:

Unfortunately, when any particular scene ramps up the motion, the encoding solution Square has employed collapses horribly.


Detail disappears in a sea of macroblocking and banding, while the PS3 version remains pretty close to pristine thanks to the incredible amount of bandwidth (and thus video information) available.

The tragedy here is that the CG is a core part of the presentation in FFXIII and it seems to be the case that the company has paid little attention to the poor quality of the final assets on the Xbox 360 version.

The final conclusion cannot resist lambasting the game for its linearity one last time, although it is of course undeniable that both versions are graphically gorgeous:

Despite the cutbacks, the in-game graphics are still attractive, the gameplay is fundamentally the same as the PS3 version and it’s clearly a cut-above much of the other JPRG fare available on the console.

That being the case, despite falling short in direct comparison with its PS3 sibling it’s still a decent game, though I daresay that the retooling of the formula into a more linear experience with obvious cutbacks in the exploration element is likely to frustrate many of the core fanbase.

It appears the international release may be mirroring that of the Japanese version in due course.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    17:03 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I own both a 360 and PS3. While I usually favor gaming on the 360, I'm kinda glad that FFXIII is better on the PS3. That means I can import the Japanese PS3 version for $30 and have no regrets.

    Avatar of kyosak
    Comment by kyosak
    18:17 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's only cheap if you live in Japan...
    You're not gonna find an import copy for $30, not for a while at least.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:31 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't live in Japan, but I know people who do. I can easily get it for close to that price.

    Avatar of saski_kojiro
    Comment by saski_kojiro
    18:20 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, maybe images in FF13 is somewhat better on PS3, so what? Do you play games because of graphics or because of gameplay? By the way I haven't game consoles at all, and I'm not fan of JRPG. All consoles are proprietary shit specially for having your money.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:57 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    THEN FUCK OFF ALREADY!!!Why you replied here if you dun have a right to comment about the game.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:18 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    the 360 version is enjoyable, the graphics looks nice even on a 1080p tv, the only thing that looks like shit are the poorly encoded CG movies(in fact they look worse than ingame cutscenes...), which is square's fault, not the console's.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:35 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Don't like it? No problem! Look to your top right and press the x button on your browser!

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:59 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I can't wait when MGS Rising is coming out.
    It's definately gonna make almost as much fuss as this.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:32 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Both Suck gorilla balls, get a comp with a Radeon 5870 or 5970, a core i7 930, and you can enjoy way more awesome graphics on your 30" screen. Actually there is no console games which can match computer graphics.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:08 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Post that on some shit site like gamefaqs, specifically the PS3 boards (since the 360 fans don't really give a shit). Someone will almost always tell you that the PS3 is comparable to or better than a PC.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:59 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Uh, if it's only a problem of size, why didn't they just put it on more DVDs?
    6 dual layer DVD's are as big as 1 dual layer BD. And they could have used both sides of the DVDs, which wouldn't look as appealing as a disc with one side of data and the other side with artwork, but they could make both Versions identical this way.
    I own a x360, so i am not really sure, but don't you have to install ALL games as a ps3 user anyway?`So what's the deal? Dvds are way cheaper than blu rays so it wouldn't be a question of money too.
    I am not a graphics fetishist, but a game that has a lot of cutscenes and a linear style and not a that exciting gameplay lives from the graphics. 567p is PS2 resolution, I want to enjoy ff13 at least in native 720p dammit :(. Fuck square enix for that.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:41 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Multi-disc games don't work like that (well, they didn't in the days of PSX FF games at any rate).

    There's a lot of data that has to go on each disc; basically, every single thing in the game that isn't unique to one disc has to go on all of them, or at least more than one. That means there's a lot of redundant data. For FF7, 8 & 9, the whole game except for the movies had to go on each disc.

    Let's say that all of the data that has to be on each disc takes up 3GB: for every extra disc, there'd be 3GB of redundant data, so 6 discs would really give you 25.8GB of data, because those 3GB of character, vehicle weapon and enemy models and textures, backgrounds, music, spell textures and whatever else has to go on each disc get repeated an extra 5 times and waste 15GB. If those bits of the game make up 3GB, you'd need 10 discs to make it comparable to the blu-ray. If the shared data takes up 5GB, you'd need 19 discs, and so on.

    *waits to get rated down for posting boring, tl;dr tech stuff*

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:52 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's not only a problem of size. It's a problem of code efficiency. Quality was reduced because framerates would otherwise be unplayable.
    The only thing that would benefit from more storage are the pre-rendered movies.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:25 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    from the screenshots...both looks quite identical...

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:21 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Its alot of hot air. The difference is minimal indeed.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:50 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    There's a small difference, but nothing to piss your pants over... People that argue about this shit are idiots.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:55 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's still nice to know this wasn't anywhere as bad as Bayonetta 360 vs PS3

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:21 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, count me sold. Unless I hear about slowdown, of course.

    Is Final Fantasy XIII on the Xbox 360 inferior to the PS3 version? Yep. Does that change the fact that the game is still graphically one of the best games available on the Xbox 360? Not a chance.

    At this point, complaining about the game's graphics is like getting a finely-cut diamond and complaining about the purity of the color as being off just a smidgeon. You're right, it's not quite as good as it could be, but underneath that minor defect it's still a damned diamond.

    If the game runs without slowdown, I'll happily pick it up. I know what I'm getting is pretty linear, but hey, most JRPGs offer little in the way of benefits regarding a lot of backtracking anyway. Yeah, the option to go back ain't there any more, but that doesn't really change the fact that previously going back to the beginning of most games entailed hearing the same canned speech we got from villagers at the start of the game and being able to buy the same shitty starting equipment/spells/skills we could back then.

    Then again, if it runs like ass on the Xbox 360 and is also less pretty, I'll probably pick it up on PS3 whenever I get around to buying one.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:39 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Read the full Digital Foundry article, instead of just the bits presented here. You'll find that they compared the two versions for framerate as well. The 360 came out on top, but from the vids I don't think that it's particularly noticeable beyond looking at the numbers.

    It's one of the things that's puzzling about the conversion, as it seems odd that the 360 version uses the same dithered transparencies as the PS3 version when there appears to be enough power spare to do them better.

    FFVII often had an abysmal frame rate, but nobody really cared because it wasn't an action game. In my view, SE should have just rendered everything at the best quality they could on both versions and let the frame-rate drop to 25-20fps, because if an RPG is made to the same standards as an action game, you're doing it wrong.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:29 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hmmm? FF what? Sorry, maybe later. I'm busy playing Mass Effect 2 right now.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:43 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    its stuff like this that we just wait for the international edition

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:09 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    If only either version of the game were actually fun

    Avatar of chriselric
    Comment by chriselric
    11:44 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Fuck the whining. The xbox360 version looks fantastic. Much better than the space it takes up warrants against the PS3 version. I can't speak for framerates, but unless they're vastly different, This is pretty impressive.

    Facing facts, the xbox 360 is a little less powerful. Always will be. but the xbox 360 was faaaaaar cheaper when it came out, and thus is why I bought it. I RRoD'd like everyone else but, you know, it gets replaced after a bit of mail this here, mail that there, and the only real problem is a few weeks of downtime-something I could live with.

    Now if you were going to buy one of the consoles for this game, now that the price gap is nonexistant I'd say go with the PS3 version. but considering most xbox 360 owners have been xbox 360 owners from 1-2 years after it's release, it's really not a bad thing we've got going on.

    Avatar of TehBoringOne
    Comment by TehBoringOne
    12:04 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I dunno about being the same case as with the Japanese version... As far as I understand (I'm not very knowledgeable about the Japanese gaming press), Famitsu gave it a 39 out of 40, which kept expectations rather high.

    Over here, people have called it linear in a few reviews, so maybe consumers aren't expecting as much?

    Just a guess.

    Comment by Anonymous
    Comment by Anonymous
    12:55 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I like the colours better on a number of the 360 shots, but you can clearly see the difference in crispness in some of the 'motion' screenshots towards the bottom when you blow them up, in which case the PS3 looks better.

    The question is... would it be really noticeable on a big screen TV when everything actually is going on? If its not noticeably inferior in action, then the comparison is pointless.

    Comment by Anonymous
    Comment by Anonymous
    14:13 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Shit is now multi-platformed. Nice.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:10 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0) this "significant inferiority" is because the 360's screens are a bit fuzzier around the edges?

    Wow. Just wow. I'm amazed someone went through all that effort just to show that the 360 has fuzzier graphics.

    I mean, it's like comparing 999,999,999 to 1,000,000,000. You must have some damn high standards to say it has "significant inferiority."

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:22 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    At least is not bayonetta-esque

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:42 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    How is Final Fantasy renowned for open-world exploring? They are all linear games. Getting access to a world map when there is only 1 accessible location doesn't count. Fallout 3 and Oblivion are "open-world exploring" - no FF game has ever had anything like this (and that's why I prefer FF).

    All options and subquests opened up toward the end of the game, just like in XIII. I don't see what the big problem is.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:15 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    ff7-9.airship can fly anywhere

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:45 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Thank god the games released now in the west so sankaku can move on. seems every week they seem to post this exact same article.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:14 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I plan to get the ps3 version for this game even though i typically prefer the 360. However I think that the graphic improvements on the ps3 are very minor. I am not a graphics whore when it comes to games and the difference is so insignificant.

    Having everything on one convenient disc is what won me over this time.

    Avatar of Raso
    Comment by Raso
    13:26 08/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I dont get why there are so many haters on this game.. Linear is nothing new FFX was the same way and that was a big hit the 360 version still looks good while playing I dont see any problems but I am not playing on some 100 inch big screen.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:16 08/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    where the hell is the PC verison??!! dammit i was promised a PC RELEASE!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:05 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I love linear games, because I have a job and don't have time to roam in the same place for 3 weeks! Not to0 good at RPG's, but love the stories. Getting on PS3, even though I got a 360.

    Avatar of El Chaos
    Comment by El Chaos
    03:47 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    A new comparison article about the game's last parts:

    Avatar of Saito-Kun
    Comment by Saito-Kun
    00:18 14/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I liked FFXIII. But that's me.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:27 10/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    To be honest, if you let me sit and play every game that has been on every sankakucomplex comparison on their respective consoles, I wouldn't notice the differences between either system.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:24 08/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    um yeah not gonna lie i cant really see a difference in the two games

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:23 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Why are people crying out about linearity in XIII? What about X? That went over quite well despite having a good bit of linear corridors. What about XII? Only open spaces there were the fields of monsters.

    I think people were far, FAR too quick to judge this game on a single element. No one bothered to mention the drop dead gorgeous graphics, the battle system, the story; Nothing. Just cries of corridors and linear paths. You want an RPG with exploration? Go play Oblivion and get lost wandering the countryside with your horse.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:51 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "It appears the international release may be mirroring that of the Japanese version in due course."

    You mean by... selling millions? Or what?

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    It's now selling for $20 in many stores?

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:55 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Does that matter if SE made their money?

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:29 06/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    the xbox and ps3 versions look the same, to be honest the fanboy shits going abit too far, there is an xbox/ps3 video on youtube playing both games and showing the difference, and from what you see, there is no difference

    i would link but idk if i can link but search

    Final Fantasy XIII PS3 vs XBOX 360 Console Tribe FFXIII

    the xbox version actually handles colour alot better

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:08 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Final Fantasy XIII PS3 vs XBOX 360 Console Tribe FFXIII

    search up this on youtube.

    the fanboy shits gone abit too far, you'll see in this vid, PS3 and xbox played together and there is no difference, only difference i saw was xbox handles colour alittle better.

    this should stop the crap being posted on this site.

    who am i kidding, no it wont cos fanboys just go on and on!

    Avatar of Darkomake
    Comment by Darkomake
    00:16 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    What if the versions looks the same, the game sux i don't know why people keeps bordering about this piece of crap, i mean that game goes againts all final fantasy concep... so if you are gona fight about graphics you are wasting your time, if you like microsoft machina is fine (actually not the first one... that sux), know it have a lot of good games, and if you like sony machina, well it have some "exclusives" and the net is free, but is all the same, the chips all came from china so... if you really want graphics play on the pc... a powerfull one and stop this "CONSOLE WAR"... is kind of lame fight about hardware thats is made by the same people.

    Avatar of Lejambre
    Comment by Lejambre
    02:14 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    True, this console war is a waste of time and it's getting boring already... Everybody knows this game sucks anyway...

    Avatar of Dadof2bg
    Comment by Dadof2bg
    08:50 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Is the 360 version in 480i??

    Comment by Anonymous
    Comment by Anonymous
    07:26 07/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Indeed, you can compare all you can, there is no console crap game which can match PC graphics.

    And PC got real kanojo FTW !!

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