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Next-Gen vs. Current-Gen: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Comparison

Matt Gardner
Next-gen, PS4, Ubisoft, Videos

Next-Gen vs. Current-Gen: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Comparison

One of the big questions that's been going around of late has been just how much better next-gen versions of current-gen games look, and whether or not it's worth taking the jump. To help you come to an answer, we've stuck a bunch of Xbox 360 footage from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag next to similar footage from the PS4 version of the game.

Throughout the summer and autumn, developers were banging about how working with next-gen consoles has allowed for better current-gen games too thanks to scalable engines. This is particularly evident in AC4 thanks to the refined AnvilNext engine. With both versions side by side, it's clear that the superior processing power and graphical grunt of the PS4 allows for more consistent, varied effects (particularly when it comes to weather and lighting), and much sharper detail. By contrast, the current-gen version looks like it has a softness filter on it to smooth out the rough edges and literally gloss over graphical issues. That's not to say that the Xbox 360 version looks bad -- on the contrary, AC4 is a gorgeous game regardless of platform -- but players can more fully appreciate the level of detail that has gone into the game's art direction on next-gen platforms, something I touched upon in my review.

Next-Gen vs. Current-Gen: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Comparison

The shadows are no longer spongy, indistinct ink blots, and that feeling of lacking solidity is replaced by a game world made rather more tangible by essentially focusing the camera. Lines are cleaner, background items and objects more clearly realised and rendered. You won't necessarily lose anything by getting this game on current-gen systems, both versions are feature-complete; but I've found the PS4 version to be more immersive simply because I've played both. Everything is just that little bit more immediate in terms of aesthetics, a little more crisp and clean and clear.

Add a comment5 comments
Late  Nov. 25, 2013 at 16:11

Thanks Matt. Just the sort of thing I've been wanting to see.

The next (current) gen version definitely looks better on the full-size of that image (if not the thumbnail) and throughout the video than the current (last) gen version. Arguably not enough to make many people go out and pay hundreds for a new console - but definitely enough to help those who've bought one to justify it to themselves in their head. :D

(Roll on next weekend. I'm calling this Friday the point at which Current becomes Last and Next becomes Current.)

Quietus  Nov. 25, 2013 at 16:46

All this graphical power, and we still can't get away from shiny people..?:p

stevenjameshyde  Nov. 25, 2013 at 16:55

With all the graphical power at it's disposal, I was at least hoping that the PS4 could produce accurate renditions of realistically minging pirate teeth. Instead we get the usual Hollywood smiles all round. Disappointing

Crazy Jamie  Nov. 25, 2013 at 17:40

Is there are a difference? Yes, quite clearly when they are placed side by side. Is it a 'next gen' difference? Not for me, though that is perhaps to be expected with a launch title that was also released on the 'previous gen' consoles. Still, it reinforces my decision to wait before picking up either of the new consoles.

MattGardner  Nov. 25, 2013 at 19:01

I'm inclined to agree with you, CJ. One of the big things with two of the big generation-hurdlers -- LEGO Marvel and AC4 -- has been that all versions are feature complete. And whilst that's good for people looking to save pennies this Christmas, it doesn't exactly enormously incentivise a generation jump.

"(Roll on next weekend. I'm calling this Friday the point at which Current becomes Last and Next becomes Current.)"

You and me both, Late! :D

Last edited by MattGardner, Nov. 25, 2013 at 19:01

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