Our exclusive Fallout 3 PS3 review (from PSM3#107) has leaked onto the Internet and, as expected, a single sentence has been dragged out, beaten and interrogated under a spotlight. This one; "The PS3 version compares poorly to its Xbox and PC counterparts." Which, in the parlance of the Internet, obviously means; "THE PS3 VERSION SUCKS! XBOX WINS! ANOTHER CRAPPY PORT!" But that isn't the case. The PS3 version just looks SLIGHTLY WORSE than the other versions.
The PC version of Fallout 3 is gorgeous. The colours are vivid, the draw distance is endless, the textures are high-res and the lighting effects are beautifully subtle, especially when you're gazing over the Capital Wasteland at sunset. It's the best-looking of the three.
The Xbox 360 version's textures are noticeably rougher than on PC, and objects in the distance aren't quite as clear. It does, however, boast an impressively solid frame rate. The game is, otherwise, identical.
NOW, the PS3 version looks the same as on Xbox, but things in the distance are slightly jaggier/rougher, the textures seem 'muddier' up-close and the frame rate is choppier, especially during the last few story missions (which may be the same on Xbox, but we've not seen the equivalent scenes to comment). We won't spoil anything, but the set-pieces here are MASSIVE, and the engine quivers under the weight of what's happening.
So, really, the difference between the Xbox and PS3 versions won't hamper your enjoyment of the game in ANY WAY. High-res textures or not, it's still the same huge, epic, absorbing, brilliant adventure.
And if you're bothered by a slightly inferior frame rate and fractionally blurrier textures, then perhaps, yes, you'd best buy the Xbox version, leaving the rest of us to enjoy an almost-identical, equally brilliant, game on PS3, while you smugly inspect concrete textures at terrifyingly close range to reap the full benefit, rather than, say, losing yourself in a 100 hour epic quest in an evocative post-apocalypse. Or having fun.
Andy Kelly (the one who reviewed Fallout 3, and finished it on PS3.)
EDIT: As this story has spread, some of the more conspiratorial forum posters are suggesting this post is 'damage control', prompted by Bethesda. Once again, sorry to disappoint, but no-one from Bethesda, or their PR Agency has been in touch - we just felt the need to clarify what had been taken, and blown out of proportion, in our review. While it is entirely sensible comment that, yes, we could have clarified the visual differences between formats more clearly in the review, seeing as we already had to trim up to 800 words off the original copy, we opted to describe more about the game's setting, its atmosphere and rich possibility, than devote 300 words to the minutiae of textures, and visible - but negligible - draw distance occurrences, since most of our readers, we presume, would be more interested in the game's broader sweep. It is, after all, a 100 hour action-RPG, not an exercise in turning over corpses to inspect the resolution of their trousers. As for those claiming this as some form of victory for Xbox's architecture over PS3, the dull truth is that games will almost always look slightly better on the format they were originally coded for. In the reverse scenario, look at PS3-specific titles like Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, MGS4 and Killzone to see how PS3 can perform when coded from the ground up. Bigger third-party developers, especially EA, have almost completely eradicated cross-platform hiccups - for example, our recent demo of Skate 2 led on PS3, while last year's game led on Xbox.