Welcome to the second install of PlayStation 3: Chasing the 1080p Dream. It’s DF Retro’s most expansive project to date, spanning an entire generation of consoles, with John Linneman looking to follow the Full HD support of Sony’s eighth-gen machine, including some of the best – and of the worst – system titles. In the first episode, we followed the early days of the PS3, why Sony targeted 1080p in its marketing, and what the final games looked like in the first two years of the console’s life cycle. This second part continues into the “difficult” days of the PS3, where proprietary triple-A behemoths were thin on the ground, with the “Triple” still struggling to compete in their cross-platform arena against the Xbox 360. As for applies to games at 1080p. .. we witnessed an absolute triumph, but elsewhere the Full HD picture wasn’t as clear as we might have hoped.
Still, in 2008, Sony made plenty of nice moves for its console. Big exclusives like Metal Gear Solid 4 and Motorstorm: Pacific Rift pleased the crowds, the console received a welcome price cut, and past mistakes were rectified – the rumble has returned to PlayStation controllers, for starters. And with a few years of development under their belts, there was at least some movement in the right direction for cross-platform titles. Game development has started to lean more toward features and fidelity than resolution, which means the time frame covered by the second part of our video seems pretty meager for the purposes of our story, even if fortune of the console was improving overall.
It did, however, see the return of one of Sony’s biggest franchises in the form of the wonderful WipEout HD – a game that still looks and plays beautifully even today. It works because Studio Liverpool started from PSP assets and built the game with 1080p output resolution in mind, deploying an early form of dynamic resolution scaling for better performance. of stability. My tech interview from the time is worth reading for more details and in the video above it’s great to see the title still holds up.
Elsewhere the Full HD offerings in 2008 were somewhat disappointing, despite some highlights such as Pixel Junk Eden and Echochrome – simple, but very effective and looking great at 1080p. FIFA Street 3 and MLB The Show provided full-frame pixel counts, but effectively made you choose between resolution or frame rate – 1080p30 or 720p60, depending on the option selected on the PS3 front end. Capcom’s 1942 retro remakes Joint Strike and Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando also performed better in 720p mode – it would take a few years before developers and publishers accepted that sometimes 2D art was better suited to redesigning older games. elders (Grin’s Bionic Commando is well worth checking out, though).
In 2009 the PlayStation 3 was revamped with its excellent Slim overhaul, while software began to find its shape with some consistency with the arrival of the brilliant Uncharted 2 and Killzone 2 – but it was a muted period for Full HD titles on the Triple. MLB 09 improved visuals in Full HD mode, restoring post-processing effects missing in its predecessor. However, 720p60 was the best choice, to the point that even if your PS3 was set to 1080p you would still get a 720p picture – only by disabling the 720p option on the front end will you get Full HD output.
Other 2009 titles aimed at all P’s include Katamari Forever, Fat Princess (1080p30 on Unreal Engine 3!) and a series of titles inspired by the gravity-defying eps Gravitar and Thrust. Just Add Water’s debut – Gravity Crash – is reminiscent of Geometry Wars in that a vector graphics aesthetic matched the concept and hardware capabilities perfectly, delivering a locked 1080p60. Even today, this game holds up well. Q-Games’ Pixel Junk Shooter is even better, adding a stunning fluid simulation to the concept, capable of working with 32,768 particles at 60Hz, distributing work in parallel across five of the six SPUs available on the Cell processor. Full HD may not have had too much of an impact in the triple-A space of the time, but expertly it could still make a big difference in games like these.
This is only the most basic of previews of the content covered in this second part of PlayStation 3: The 1080p Dream, so obviously I highly recommend you watch the full video above and if you missed the first episode you can’t fail to notice the embed above. Retro-level contributors to the DF Supporter Program can see the entire episode, in full, right now, feeling warm and fuzzy knowing that it’s your support that makes massive works like this possible. If not, join us next week for part three of this epic, spanning 2010 to 2012 and the arrival of Gran Turismo 5, among many others.
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