10 July 2007

Console Wars: Episode I

A Continuation of Innocuity
Yeah, I know..shameless rip-off of Star Wars - but my brain is numb.

So, now that the PS3 has finally been on the worldwide market for some time now, there's one helluva lotta shit being tossed between the three 'fanboy' camps (with the PC gamers standing at the window, laughing their arses off). And it's honestly got me thoroughly entertained.

For starters, I want to clear something up. I'm frequently lumped in with the Xbox 360 'fanboy' camp. That is totally unfair - I'm actually more in the 'not in the PS3 camp' camp, if you catch my drift. And I have good reason for this - with the PS3, Sony have essentially given a giant middle finger to their loyal following. I honestly can't see how the PS3 fans can't see that Sony have delivered them a product that is nowhere near what they could have gotten.

Lets see:
  1. They gratuitously didn't come up with a single original idea for their controller. They nicked the 360 Guide Button, the Ring of Light and the analogue triggers from Microsoft. They blantantly copied the Wii's motion sensing idea, in some kind of vain attempt to prove that it's merely a gimmick. And to cap it all, they didn't include a rumble feature - which most gamers would prefer over motion-sensing. At least Microsoft came up with a few neat ideas and mixed the controller up a bit (making it better, in the process), and Nintendo - obviously - came up with admittedly cool idea of motion sensing.
  2. The thing is huge. We're talking 'were the hell am I gonna put my TV' huge. Plus it looks like a grill my Dad bought in America - really, I'm not just saying that because of that slightly bizarre picture produced; my Dad actually has a grill that looks just like it. If I can find a picture, I'll post it! Anyways, when you think about the actual comparable power of the 360 and the PS3 - the relative sizes are ridiculous. We're disregarding the Wii here, because honestly, it's not truly next-gen. It's just a Gamecube with - yes, Sony you were right - a gimmicky controller; so they can compact it into a tiny space.
  3. The so-called 'backwards compatibility' doesn't...actually...work. You'd be better off playing your PS1 and PS2 games on your old PS2 - at least then you get a vaguely decent image quality. As it stands, the PS3 produces a vastly inferior picture quality when playing PS1&2 games. Microsoft have small problems with certain games when it comes to this (Fable and Thief 3 are the ones I've managed to identify), but for the most part the 360's BWC works like a dream.
  4. The menu is bizarrely complicated. Yes, it's aimed at the so-called 'hardcore' - but honestly, an iota of user-friendliness would have been appreciated. Also, the last time I used one (there may well have been updates in the last two months that fix these), it wouldn't allow us to connect to a wireless network that didn't have an internet connection...and it can't create ad-hoc networks - something the 360 can do pretty much out of the box, given the correct hardware.
  5. So far, every multi-platform game has looked better on the 360 (as proven by Gamespot) - with the notable exception of The Darkness, which looks different on each platform, but equally good.
The one thing I won't complain about is pricing. In order to get a 360 up to the additional hardware standards of a PS3, you have to spend £445 (360 Premium Pack, Wireless Bridge, HD-DVD player, Play-and-Charge Kit), as opposed to the £400 for the PS3, which comes with the equivalent built in/included. However, for people who aren't interested in HD movies (or for those who already have an HD player), it's a no-brainer, really.

Although, obviously the important thing is the games, right? And ultimately, you should go with the console that has the games you want to play. I bought the 360, because of the enormous number of exclusive titles that I want to play (Halo 3, Gears of War, Bioshock to name three) - plus I like the nice chunky controller.

As for the Wii - well, until Super Smash Bros Brawl comes out and subsequently gets good reviews, I'm on the fence as to buying one. But beyond that, the only criticism I have is that they didn't go truly next gen - which they easily could have. All other criticisms are aimed squarely at developers; you can't just port games to the Wii! It doesn't work like that! You have to actually think about it. Yes, EA, I'm looking at you.

And that's pretty much all that's in my brain at the moment...so...yeah...g'night!

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