PS3 fixed

Posted on January 27th, 2007 in Hardware & Software,Video Games by andrija

New firmware for PS3 – version 1.5 – has fixed the PS2 game rendering issue!  Thankfully, this means that PS3 is now a viable platform for playing those PS2 games you haven’t played yet.  Which is very important, seeing how there’s almost nothing made specifically for PS3 that’s worth playing (and buying ports is pointless given the higher price of PS3 games compared to Xbox360 – or, in other words, PS3 games never go on sale while Xbox360 games are on sale quite often).

There will be some good games for PS3, though

Posted on January 7th, 2007 in Video Games by andrija

Despite my dire predictions for Sony, there are some good games in the pipeline.  If you do have a PS3, do yourself a favour and download Grand Turismo HD demo.  And while you’re at it, Motorstorm demo as well.

Grand Turismo HD is truly a sight to behold.  There are a few pieces that look unpolished (some parts of graphics look amazing, some look only average) but this is still only a demo of a game that’s not yet close to being released.  I’ve seen only one track, but there’s plenty of cars to choose from.  Well, at 600+MB it is not a small download, so it’s understandable there wouldn’t be many tracks (or perhaps even more than just one, given how detailed the picture is).

Motostorm also looked good but it wasn’t as much fun to me, because I seem to suck at it rather badly.  I hope I can improve since this is the only game I can imagine buying for this console in the next few months.

Did Sony Screw up Royally with PS3?

Posted on January 7th, 2007 in Video Games by andrija

I think the answer is… it will be hard for them to dig out of the hole they dug themselves into.

After a few days of ownership, I can say the following:

PS3 – the good

1. BluRay disk for gaming storage provides plenty of capacity for the future
2. BluRay movie playback provides ability to watch new content in high definition
3. There’s linux for it, giving some hope for future functionality expansion
4. Controller is light, battery life seems ok.
5. Games can look and sound good, as you can witness if you play Resistance: Fall of Man.  No frame rate problems.
6. You can connect PSP to your PS3 and have it stream videos and even download and play PS1 games.
7. It’s shiny black.  You might like how it looks – but just maybe.
8. User replaceable standard 2.5″ SATA hard drive lets you upgrade to higher capacity – if you could only find what to put on it.
PS3 – the bad

1. You better have bought it for the BluRay… because you won’t get much value of its other features (not yet, and for some maybe never).
2. PS2 compatibility, depending on your situation, is pretty bad because of major graphical glitches (pixel flipping).
3. There’s linux… but it can’t do much.  A used PC that you could pick up somewhere for $100 would do more, and better.  Normally, you’d expect this to improve, but for political reasons, it may never get any better.  Right now, it only plays videos in a window (not enough power to do it full screen).  Switching between linux and game os is very clumsy.  Boot time is too long to be considered for a real media center (which isn’t entirely PS3’s fault though).
4. Controller sure does not feel like it’s worth $60.  Trigger buttons are terrible, at least as utilized in Resistance.
5. PS3 can’t play almost any media that you’d want it to.  Who needs yet another box that can play mp3’s?  Or who has mpeg4 or h.264 videos in some weird container formats that nobody is really using?  Who wants yet another thing that you can plug in your memory cards to watch slideshows from?
6. PS3 can’t play media from the network either!
7. To reiterate 5 and 6, PS3 is useless as a media player.
8. Controller issues – requiring pairing every time system is updated.
9. More controller issues – very clumsy implementation of controller if switching OSes, rebooting or especially playing PS2 games.
10. Even more controller issues – getting stuck during the game, possibly due to  connectivity losses during gameplay – which is absolutely not allowed for a gaming console.
11. No IR means no universal remote control can control your PS3, which is a showstopper for any serious home theatre use – and it’s supposed to be a BluRay player, isn’t it?
12. Downloading from Sony Store can fail, and you won’t be able to resume it!  A big problem for people with limited traffic accounts – which is just about the entire population of Canada!  Not being able to do anything while (typicall very large) download is in progress may be acceptable in some cases, but not being able to resume transfer in today’s day and age is completely unacceptable.
13. It may seem quiet at first… but it will ramp up after at most half an hour.  And at that point it will be just as loud as Xbox360 in dashboard.  The BluRay drive is quiet, though, so it will never be as loud as Xbox360 during the game.  But quiet, it isn’t.  Very disappointing, mostly because it seemed like it will do great regarding this one issue.
14. Announced accessories such as Bluetooth remote and PS2 savegame adapter seem to only exist on paper.
15. PS2 savegame adapter is one way only – if you could even find one, if it even exists.

To sum it up, PS3 suffers from a major lack of polish.  Many issues are so severe that they render the feature they’re tied to essentially useless.  I would not recommend it to anyone, except people who want a BluRay player and are hardcore gamers at the same time.  Until then, if you want next generation gaming, just get a Xbox360 – if you can stand the horrible noise, that is.

Best Anime of 2007

Posted on January 1st, 2007 in Anime & Manga by andrija

Tentative list:

1. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
2. Honey and Clover, Season 2
3. Welcome to the N.H.K.!

Best anime opening or ending songs:

1. Kimi no Koto – Coach / 2nd ending for Suzuka
2. Life – Yui / 4th ending for Bleach (not sure if it belongs to this year, will see later)
3. Modokashii Sekai no Ue de? / Second ending for N.H.K.

Speak of the devil and he shall appear

Posted on January 1st, 2007 in Vancouver,Video Games by andrija

I know my predictions are usually accurate (the problem is getting people to listen to me in the first place), but I had no idea that they would come true so fast.

This evening, just before closing, a PlayStation 3 was on display, available for purchase, at Superstore Metrotown.  Just one, but it was 60G and it was available.  On top of it, the guy added two Wiimotes to the behind-counter staging area just before closing (and positioned PS3 which was behind counter, all the way up so everyone can see it).