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.
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.