DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The PS3 has landed - and it's lovely!!

"Kikizo... nice site, nice images of PS3"


So after having spent a weekend with the shiny PS3 – here’s my initial review…

The Royal Mail delivery guy was only slightly freaked when I ran out of my house and hugged him after spying him unloading a PS3 sized box from the back of his van on Friday (launch day in the UK). He was on a special PS3 delivery run and said that he’s made a lot of people happy that morning!! I took that to mean that he'd dropped off their PS3s not 'pleasured' them in any other ways but I guess you never know!?

I unpacked the console which is big, curved, heavy and sparkling in the mid morning sunlight thanks to its super gloss finish… The PS2 was unceremoniously decamped from under the TV and put to one side, the PS3 took its place, leads were connected and log in details logged. It took about 5 – 10 mins to get everything sorted including the obligatory download of the 1.6 operating system (which enables background downloads, additional PS2 compatibility etc).

I have a broadband wireless signal and the PS3 picked it up no problem – next stop was the Playstation Store where I set up an account and was soon downloading Gran Turismo HD, F1 Championship demo and the ‘Grenade’ cinema advert (all free content). Later I returned and bought two full games - Tekken 5 and Blast Factor which set me back about a tenner for the two.
Everything was smooth sailing registering even if I dropped signal a couple of times and I grinned when a bonus confirmation of a free ‘thank you’ copy of Casino Royale Blu-ray flashed across the screen. In order to address the signal drop issue I found that moving the PS3 slightly on the shelf I found a much sweeter / stronger spot for the wi-fi signal (it jumped from 30% to 67% strength and hasn’t dropped since).

The Pad:
The Sixaxis pad is lighter than the PS2 Dualshock and I was glad that I’d bought a second one (plus charging dock so can charge both controllers at the same time). Yes it misses the rumble – and I’ll certainly replace these with rumble enabled pads when they become available – but the new trigger shaped L2 / R2 bottons are very nice. The motion sensitiveness take a bit of getting used to – I have mastered it on Tiger Woods PGA ’07 to put spin on the ball but can’t really get on with it in MotorStorm where it feels ‘tacked on’ and unnecessary (but is defaulted to ‘off’ anyway).
Using the Sixaxis to play Fifa ’07 (PS2) was fun – the novelty of not being wire connected to the machine is a real delight and changes the way you play. Would be superb if EA could map a ‘dive’ / ‘push’ / ‘header’ function to the motion sensor for Fifa ’08!?

The Games:
There’s a good reason why Resistance and MotorStorm are top of the sales chart this week – they are both excellent games. Read my full MotorStorm review:
MotorStorm - racing has never been so good. In a word though it’s great and showcases the PS3 off to the max. Plus it will have regular additional content to download in the months ahead… If you only pick one game, I’d make it MotorStorm!

Resistance is a rock solid FPS with a nicely sci-fi infused plotline and great damage physics engine. It engaged me enough to want to play through the single player story and the first few levels break you in hard – this is not an easy in rails shooter, you’ll need to think and react to constantly changing situations from the start. Graphically it’s very nice with a mature, restrained hew and a nice balance of reward for progression, plus some great ‘WTF’ moments when the alien enemies surprise you either with impressive set pieces or a deft bit of A.I. tricksiness. The online multiplayer is an absolute blast too, massive scale death matches and team games… Will be playing this for a long while yet!!

Tiger Woods PGA ’07 is a solid update of the game – lots of options and killer graphics. Big jump over the PS2 version if you like your grass to sway and your golfer to grimace as he watches your shot dropping into a water hazard (the water is superb to look at but you really don’t want to be going near it in this game if you can help it!).

The downloaded Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection delivered a top notch fighting experience with very nice graphics and Blast Factor is a fun erm, blaster where you use one analogue stick to move and the other to fire.

Have got other games planned to play but not enough hours in the day… On my shelf are the PS3 versions of The Godfather, Blazing Angels and Need for Speed: Carbon which are the fruits of trading in a load of PS2 / PSP games... More on those games soon…

I took a gaming timeout to watch Man Dancin’ (15) on DVD - haven’t had chance to grab a Blu-ray film yet but will probably invest in Mission Impossible III this week. This 'gangster returning home' tale is distinctly offbeat – but it looked and sounded fantastic. I was impressed with the number of options available e.g. picture cleaning and colour saturation which my current DVD doesn’t offer. In fact although I wasn’t planning to use the PS3 for my normal DVD playback as a rule, it did such a great job with this cool Scottish thriller that it may become the platform of choice.

Other Media:
So far I’ve only had time to load up and few music tracks and photos – but it’s a very simple operation either directly from memory card or via USB from digital camera / PSP. Am looking forward to trying out the remote access with my PSP and streaming content at some point. Surfing the www on the TV is fun and easy even without a keyboard.

Overall :
I’m a very happy customer… It’s been a long slow wait for the PS3 over here but from the initial experience it has been worth it!!
Pros – Next Gen graphics, strong initial game line up, unbelievably fun online (Resistance and MotorStorm in particular), easy to use Playstation store with some great content (Gran Turismo HD, Tekken 5, game demos etc), motion sensitive wirless controllers, very crisp feature laden DVD playback.

Cons – Expensive (shopkeeper in independent game shop I was in yesterday said that most of his PS3 sales had seen people trading in their 360s and / or PS2s to off set the cost, no Next Gen football games yet, Lack of rumble in pads at the moment is sad.

Darkmatters: H O M E

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mine just arrived too Matt. Well, actually I've had it for weeks along with the new Sony Bravia X-Series 1080p telly!

I'm just looking for an Amp upgrade and the home cinema system is complete.

That and someone to donate HD-DVD addons for the 360 so I can start reviewing HD-DVD's too.

I started getting Blu-ray discs for review and competitions too, and I'm pretty impressed so far.

I love the ease of integration with the unit - I'm using my bluetooth phone headset, and the wireless is so simple without extra cost.

What I am a bit confused on is the Media Server integration which I can't get working with Windows Media Center or TVersity.

Oh, and the lack of store additions and 1080p games. However the recent software update showed just how much can be achieved.

It's pretty gorgeous though.