Ghostbusters’ Missing Pixels Found?

Ghostbusters: The Video Game’s PS3 version was much maligned immediately prior to release following the revelation that it was graphically inferior to the 360 version. Not only was it rendered at a lower resolution but the quincunx anti-aliasing it employed further ‘blurred’ the on-screen image.

More troublesome issues that the game suffered from included glitches preventing players from attaining two of the online trophies, “Payday!” and “No Job Too Big”, when playing in trans-Atlantic games and other cross-regional problems relating to matchmaking and dropped connections.

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First word of a timeframe for a possible patch landing was received a couple of weeks ago when user AceSoloMcCloud on the EU PlayStation Forum got replies to enquires he had been making.  The first was from an SCE UK rep:

I understand from your correspondence that you have encountered some issues with this title.  As the title’s publisher, we have been made aware of some issues that are currently affecting a very small number of users.  I can advise that the developer of this title, Atari, are currently working on a patch to address these issues which we expect to be available within the next two weeks.

He also managed to get a response from the CEO of Threewave Software who were the developers of the online part of the game:

We are prioritizing our list of issues and are working on a solution that benefits all markets and players of Ghostbusters.  We are currently in testing for an update to Ghostbusters that addresses this issue you mention below.

Well patch v1.03 is now live.  Joystiq have received a press release, that we have yet to see, stating that the patch offers an “increase in resolution to match that of Xbox 360” while offering “numerous other localization fixes.”

Fun, but flawed

Despite being disappointed by the lower graphical fidelity on offer in the PS3 version and the mixed reaction it was getting I still picked the game up on release and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is one of only a few games I have played to contain some genuinely funny moments.  As teh interwebz would say, I lol’d.  Getting the original cast back was absolutely vital though.

Graphically, sure it was no looker, but the graphics were adequate though they suffered from screen tearing and drops in framerate.  Personally I found the screen tearing to be the most annoying graphics issue.  Then there is the horrific bug in the library that we mentioned in our review where screen refreshes come around about once every 30 seconds or so and you are left guessing whether you are moving in the appropriate direction to get through that, thankfully short, section.  That bug is way up there with some of the Fallout 3 bugs in the top ten of “How the Hell did that get through testing?” bugs.

Post-patch improvements?

Forum feedback suggests that if nothing else the glitches that were preventing the two trophies being picked up have been fixed.  As for the cross-region multiplayer fixes feedback is mixed so far and it will probably be a few days before enough people have given the patch a try for a clear picture to arise.

Speaking of clear pictures what about the graphical improvements?  I spent twenty minutes replaying the start of the game before downloading the patch and then played through the same section again after applying it.  Subjectively I would say it does look better after the patch.

An “increase in resolution to match that of the 360” though?  No.  Any increase in resolution?  Not that I could see.  My own rudimentary attempt at checking the vertical resolution gave me a count of around 560 pixels.  Being much closer to the originally discovered vertical resolution of 540 pixels than the 360’s 720 pixels I would suspect that I have miscounted an extra 20 pixels and that there is no resolution increase at all.

I would say any graphical improvement is limited to the image appearing slightly less blurred than it did prior to the patch, but as that’s a purely subjective opinion and I could not conduct a proper side-by-side test I would not be at all surprised if it turns out that there is no graphical improvement at all.

The best I could do was call up screenshots from previous comparisons to compare with the image on my TV.  It does look better than those earlier PS3 screenshots but clearly it is still not on a par with the 360 screens used in those comparisons.

Even if the graphics engine, Terminal Reality’s Infernal Engine, has been tweaked the 59MB patch is not going to have delivered increased resolution textures and shadow maps which were both clearly of lower resolution than those on the 360 version.

I suspect that some of the sites that performed the original comparison will be back to take a second look following the patch.  It will be interesting to see if their findings are any more positive than mine.

Thanks, TheDeathAvenger.

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