Mass Effect 3 On Xbox 360 Vs. PS3 Vs. Wii U

We heard rumbles and grumbles about the quality of the graphics in the Wii U version of Mass Effect 3. Now you can see what the world experts in technical comparisons have to say.

Folks, go to Digital Foundry at Eurogamer and you will be counting framerates with the best of them.

Here are the key findings.

In cutscenes:

The results are unambiguous. We see a small Wii U advantage over the Xbox 360 in one scene but elsewhere it appears to sit comfortably between the Microsoft platform and the under-performing PlayStation 3 version. In only one area do we see PS3 pull ahead of the Wii U: walking through the hospital in the Citadel, we see frame-rates drop to an alarmingly low level on the new Nintendo console. The beefed up amounts of non-player characters appear to be the culprit here and this does lend some weight to the notion that lack of CPU power in the Wii U does pose some serious challenges for developers.

In action:

... performance remains an obvious concern on the PlayStation 3, while the Wii U and Xbox 360 ran at virtual parity for much of the run of the play. Screen-filling effects work causes noticeable frame-rate dips on the Microsoft platform, but Wii U appears to be relatively consistent - even on the more open, challenging battlescapes of Palaven. However, the final clip demonstrates that you can't rely on a sustained performance throughout the game. Here, for reasons which elude us, Wii U suffers badly in a relatively simple exchange of fire. It's indicative of a number of areas throughout the game where the new platform matches or even drops below the performance level of the PlayStation 3 release. Thankfully though, such areas seem relatively sparse in the time we've put into the game thus far.

As we and others keep reporting, the Wii U is not a horsepower leap ahead of the Xbox 360 and PS3. It has advantages and disadvantages compared to its half-decade-old competitors. While some may find that unacceptable — what is Nintendo thinking, not making their new console way more powerful? — it also is worth remembering that Mass Effect 3 on Wii U is both a port of a game made for other machines and a day-one game on Wii U. Usually developers can wring way more out of a console in year three or five than they can in year zero. Case in point, well, Mass Effect 3 compared to Mass Effect 1 or, say, Assassin's Creed III to the first Assassin's Creed. And remember, Nintendo's priority has been to push two-screen gaming. The Wii U is doing that in Mass Effect 3 and all its other games. It's still valuable to see if the Wii U can handle an Xbox 360 or PS3 game (since you might hear that it would have trouble), and that's what we've got here.

Digital Foundry's text and video comparison is exceptional. Check it out.

Face-Off: Mass Effect 3 Special Edition on Wii U [Eurogamer]


    All this talk on weak CPU is a bit concerning.

    When PS4/Nbox come out, it will be a case of games looking great on Sony and Microsoft and the port looking worse on WiiU with tacked on Gamepad controls. I hope this is not the case, but it will be.

    Nintendo needs good first party exclusives and also need good third party exclusives. They need to throw money to buy exclusives (not timed ones) and do it fast. That way games will be built from the ground up for the gamepad and we will hopefully see the potential of the WiiU.

      Can we expect next gen games that are designed to be on PS4 / nextbox (and PC) to be on the Wii U?

      It looks like the Wii U is suitable for PS3/360 ports but likely incapable of PS4/nextbox ports. Unless PS4 / nextbox aren't going to be a huge technical leap forward and only mildly surpass the Wii U technically.

    As per usual, no PC because it will look better and run at 60fps.

      Lol no shit..... Seriously what would you expect from 2 platforms that are 6 years old (with graphics capabilities which pc's were already ahead of at the time) and a Nintendo machine that isnt designed to be at the leading edge of graphics technology compared to a PC with even semi recent hardware...

      Why would you even consider the comparing the pc version vs consoles - its a pointless venture - the result should be obvious. Unless your either a troll or a pc elitist.... So which one are you?

      Yep, I often complain when car magazine compare a WRX and an Evo without mentioning the much more expensive Ferrari 458.

      I mean they all run on petrol and get you from A to B, right?

        Should have said Nissan GTR at least it is Awd... lololol, PC hahahaha hahaha haha

      Also because it's sort of pointless to compare them to a system with variable hardware.

      A Wii U is $350, for $350 can you make a PC that outputs better graphics and sound? And I'll let you leave out your Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor and Speakers.

      Or are you spending that entire $350 on the Video Card, and let's be honest that's a reasonable amount to spend for a performance card. We all know you can build a PC that will out perform any of the current Consoles on the market but you do need to spend more than the consoles to do it. And there is no off the shelf model for $400 which will spank a console.

      I'll say this, the Wii U has set an interesting perspective here, will the MS and Sony entries go with a big ticket machine like the Original 360 and PS3 or will they go for a moderate power boost and a reasonable price like the Wii U? Because if they go reasonable price say $400 ish for a base model I wouldn't expect that big of a leap.

        My thoughts exactly!

        While it's very easy to go the "grunt" route of being better and shinier you have to remember the costs involved as well. PS3's launch problems pretty much shows the problem of a price ceiling.

        So do they go for broke w/ a huge powerful machine thats severely underpriced or do they go middle ground?

          Yeah it seems like the middle ground might well be the option taken.

          According to rumours the PS4/nextbox will be here quite quickly. PS3 is already very powerful, and fully featured. Sony are definitely not creating crazy new tech such as a replacement for the cell or Blu Ray. We've been in a world-wide recession. Cost of development of games has sky-rocketed. Proliferation of F2P and casual games (Android, iOS, PSN, MS Live, Indie games) have shaken the traditional console market.

          Falling share prices. The market seems to love smaller consoles.

          There are a lot of factors conspiring against making a significant technical leap, isn't there?

          Perhaps it's not such a bad thing. MS and Sony are getting an increasing amount of their revenue from PSN+ and MS Live subscriptions. Games for this gen have been mega - I've loved virtually all of the games i've played this gen - even the worst games are generally very playable - ok, we have Naughty Bear and Brink, but in general things have been great.

          Samsung Galaxy III isn't much of an improvement over Samsung Galaxy II. They both are great performing multi-function devices. The primary functions that the G3 is used for (phone, web browsing, ebook reader, games, email, gps) all work excellently on the G2. My point being perhaps we simply do not need significantly better technology than the current gen. An improvement for sure, but maybe not a giant leap.

        Well, probably you can with an AMD A8 5600K APU with the in-built graphics.

        The thing is that Mass Effect 3 doesn't need lavishly spent money on the PC to run decently and at high quality. Given the video, I'm guessing the Wii U is outputting somewhere towards Medium and High graphics on the PC which is quite doable on a lot of graphics these days.

        So in effect, the only reason why the Wii U is $350 is because Nintendo can. The PS3 and the Xbox360 is nearing the EoL so who cares. This isn't great for a company that wants to draw in 'hardcore' gamers...

    Meh, comparing launch title to 5+ year console title, and a port at that. probably more accurate to compare this to something like heavenly sword, despite it being a different title. Not to defend the Wii u processor exactly, but this is the first wave of games, go compare a typical ps3 launch title to say hitman absolution, developers will get better at using thr tech and things will look and run nicer by far, next gen nicer? maybe not.

    Why is everyone so surprised? The Wii is priced at a family friendly <>$400 price point. It will then settle as a sub $200 console. The playstation hits the market at upwards of $1000, then reduces to the day 1 price of the nintendo after a couple of years. It's not a hardcore gamer console, and thats part of what makes it so great. It would be a bit rough on parents to have to pull together 1000 bucks to set the kids up with a console for xmas - even a WiiU with a second controller and a game will be around $500

      Well said. You get what you paid for!

        Yeah but right now it costs more than a 360 which runs better.

          Tell me, how does a 360 run better? this is a launch title, have you seen the ugliness of 360 launch titles? stop trolling or stop being an idiot, whichever is easier.

            Of course, one would sort of expect that given the time between the release of the XBox 360 and the Wii-U, developers might have picked up one or two tricks for improving the quality of their games. Sure it's new hardware to learn (although I'm sure it has similarities to the Wii) but we're at a stage where launch titles shouldn't be too disparate in quality to the titles you see towards the middle and end of the lifecycle.

              That is stupid logic, so does that mean that 360 launch titles should have been extremely good because they had time to pick up tricks on the original Xbox? you don't have any idea what you are talking about.

            Launch title or not, the article is comparing Apples to Apples. ME3 against ME3 against ME3. It's a straight (and thereby fair) comparison.

            If you want to argue that Wii U launch titles are better than 360/PS3 launch titles then you can, and perhaps you'd win, but that would be an entirely different discussion.

          Or another way to look at it (approx)

          PS3 - $1000 - 6 year life = $166.66pa. 360 - $600 - 6 year life = $100pa. Wii - $400 - 4 year life = $100pa.

          What will Wii U be?

          This doesn't take into count a lot of stuff like if it comes with games, other features, console replacement down track etc.. It comes down to how much you play the thing which is each to their own too

            You forgot to mention the replacement cost of RRoD
            I'm on my 2nd 360 (doesn't get used much anymore) some of my friends are on their 3rd over 6 years.
            360 ($600-300) avg $450 x 3 = 1350 / 6 = 225 + (30x4 xblive)= $345 pa

        Agreed. Since when has Nintendo tried to directly compete anyway?
        The wii was a massive, enormous success for nintendo because it didnt try to out-tech microsoft or sony and had its own stable of cartoony and much loved nintendo games to sell.
        The ads showing people playing on their controller while someone else watches TV will sell millions of wiiUs in Australia before MS and sony even launch their new high end offerings.

    Why is everyone complaining? They say its running at about the same as the Xbox version, even better in some parts, and this is a launch title. Unless people were expecting the WiiU to be a super-nextgen graphical powerhouse then I don't see why anyone has a reason to complain, especially if you aren't having to pay $800+ for a brand new console.

    Lol, and Nintendo says this console is the start of the "Next Generation". Good luck when the next Xbox and PlayStations come out.

      Generation has nothing to do with power, it never did until idiot little kids had access to the computer and started trolling everywhere like you are doing right now.

      Well that won't be for 2 years so who cares. If people are waiting for the new ms console or Sony beacuse they will be more powered, have fun waiting and you better start saving now.

    How horrid does Perfect Dark Zero look in comparison to anything recent on the 360? It takes time to optimize and learn hardware. I think people are being a little rough about this.

    I am not sure about you guys, but for me the console is supposed to be a fun machine. You know the sort of thing you play with a few beers in you.
    To this end games like Mario Brothers are awesome. For everything else I have a gaming pc.
    Having had a PS3 (which has died) I found the games I played the most were things like Rockband... games that didn't have spectacular graphics.

    Maybe this is just me???

    (TL:DR - Graphics don't always make a game fun)

    Remember, the Wii U is also streaming visuals to the controller at the same time.

    Most upsetting of all over this lackluster hardware, is the next-gen developers will cater to this pathetic excuse for NG hardware....everyone suffers as a result.

    Instead of putting resources into optimising for the low-hanging fruit that is the Wii U, they could better spend time on..I dunno, maximising performance on the actual decent hardware platforms.

    PC gamers would rejoice, as HW parity across all 4 (PS, Wii, XBOX, PC) would be complete!!....for about 6 months...

    But neigh, that is not to be.

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