Uncharted and Crysis are the peak of visual fidelity and have always set benchmarks on their respective platforms, and lots of debates have been going on about which game looks better- Crysis 3 or Uncharted 4. Being primarily a PC gamer my instinctive reaction was Crysis 3, but upon being asked about why I thought so, I couldn’t find a satisfying answer and had to go through lots of forums and still couldn’t find any conclusive answer. So I went to YouTube and found a video that had similar scenarios put together for a comparison. There is no explanation given in the video, but the scenarios are put together pretty neatly and I personally think that for a majority of the part Crysis 3 looks better than Uncharted 4. My reasons for the statement are give as below (Have a look at the video first) (Sorry for not using technical terms) (A considerable amount of nitpicking as well):
The first example is of both Drake and Prophet shooting leaves, and when Drake shoots leaves, they always have the same motion and always move in the same direction. In case of Crysis, the leaves’ movement is much less restricted and it is more physics based, which give it a natural feel. The leaves in U4 feel like sponges, but in Crysis feel more real (Though they should just tear apart in real life). In fact the highlighted leaves in the screenshot below, don’t even react to shooting.
Another aspect where Uncharted lacks is the smoke effect. The only reaction of the ground upon shooting is scattering of rocks, whereas in Crysis, there is a dust effect apart from the ‘stone scattering effect’, which makes the game look more authentic.
The second instance is a display of the water quality of both games. Here Crysis takes the lead pretty easily. The number of ripples created when shooting the water in Uncharted are always 2-3, whereas in Crysis there are multiple ripples, not forgetting the after-effect it leaves in the water (The foamy look, which is not there in Uncharted). Also the splashes of water do not look all that natural in Uncharted 4.
In this scenario, the physics and destructibility of both games (Actually engines to be more precise) have been showcased. And yet again Crysis takes the edge over here. Though both the games have almost equal amount of detailing to destructibility, it is the after effects in Crysis that makes it feel more authentic. The dust and the fluttered leaves present in Crysis give it a more natural look than Uncharted.
Also worth noting in this scene for Crysis at 1:49, is the reflection of the ripples of water under the trunk of the tree. That feels really authentic and is not seen anywhere in Uncharted 4.
Taking the environments, in both games (From the video) the areas are in wet condition (The mud is wet in U4 and the area in Crysis is near an exploded dam), but in U4, there is minimal reflection of light from the water on the stones which makes them feel out of place and unnatural, whereas in Crysis the reflection is pretty apparent. The ambient occlusion (Shadows in crevices, to be simple) is also better in case of Crysis than in case of Uncharted.
Looking at character models, it is very apparent that Uncharted has the edge in terms of the animations, owing to the various expressions, but when talking about visual detailing, Crysis takes it in certain aspects such as reflection of light the eyes of Psycho which gives it a natural look (No reflection in Drake’s eye, even though there is abundant light).
Also at many points in U4, the foliage looks 2D-ish, which is not the case with Crysis 3. (The example is in the video when Drake is making the faces at the end).
Overall I feel that the lighting has been used to make Uncharted 4 look very good, but when you take a look intricately or even wait for half a minute to observe, the flaws start glaring back at you, and make the game look not all that great. Heck in some aspects even Crysis 2 looks better (The water and the after effects), but well Crysis 3 actually takes the crown for the best looking game even after 3 years of it’s release (6 years after the engine’s release). What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.