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.
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.
... 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]