Tuesday, November 28, 2006

PS3: My first impressions

It's big, it's black and it's beautiful? I seem to remember everyone making fun of the Xbox and described it this way when it first came out in the last generation. This time, things are reversed: the Playstation is the bigger, bulkier and most certainly heavier brand ... and, the most powerful. I find it somewhat amusing that Sony fanboys (and Sony themselves) laughed at Microsoft for releasing two sku's on the 360, and yet here's Sony doing the same thing. Just goes to show you: choose your battles. But what about the machine?

The PS3 is a great machine and does deliver on the bulk of the promises Sony made, although to a lesser degree but that is Sony for you. The graphics are great, the sound is great and the games are decent for launch titles (those that I've played anyways). Resistance: Fall of Man does not disappoint as a great launch title even though first person shooters are not really my thing. I gave it a chance because of Insominiac (developers of one of my favourite series, Ratchet & Clank).

So here's what is good: built in Wi-Fi (even though I probably won't use it) and this is only on the higher priced version, HDMI output for my LCD TV, Blu-Ray movies are a nice bonus: but I'm not rushing out to replace my DVD collection...oh wait, I couldn't if I wanted to (but I can get 'Click' with Adam Sandler .... HOLY! rolling my eyes), the graphics and sound, rechargable controller with motion sensitivity....jury is still out on the games but they will come.

Here's what's bad: the menu system: it looks and works like my PSP but unfortunately that is NOT a good thing. The monochromatic display may be functional, but annoying: the 360 wins out here hands down....their "Online system that will rival Xbox Live" -- sorry Sony, not even close. Not that we blame you: it's free and it's first generation for you. Just don't sit there and tell us it will be better than Microsoft's because it isn't. The online store is nothing more than a webpage and it feels just like when you move around the web browser on the PSP: ok in a pinch but you wouldn't want to live there. Not being able to do anything else while downloading something is a major bummer and Microsoft fixed it with an update to their service--why would you not have learned from that? Finally, no rumble in the controller. Yeah, it makes the controller yet: and yeah, that makes it feel kinda cheap actually. I will miss rumble in my games, although it's not a showstopper...it's disappointing that business issues and legal issues for Sony are resulting in the consumers losing out. Pony up the cash to Immersion and fight them about it later, for chrissake.

Bottom line: The PS3 is a great console... it's potential will wait to be seen (just like the 360 which is now starting to get some great titles, one year later). The bigger question is, with Sony losing many exclusives will they be much like Nintendo is and the only exclusives become ones from their own studios? That could be . There will still be great exclusives. That's why I'm lucky to have all the consoles: they are all great in their own ways and will have games on them I want to play. The 360 will have Halo 3 and the Wii has Zelda and the PS3 is going to have another Ratchet & Clank.

I'm going to give the console an 8.5 - TODAY. Maybe by this time next year it will hit a 9 or higher but it loses points for price, lackluster interface, no rumble, poor online mode and a less than stellar launch lineup. These are all things that can be worked on, let's hope they do it right!

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