well, you know what they say about opinions

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

what to recommend

Yet again, it's been a long time since the last post but every now and again I feel re-invigorated to post some opinion or other about video games. Perhaps in years to come I'll look back at these posts and reflect on how accurate or close to the truth some were.

This time I think it's been prompted by the purchase of a PlayStation 3 a few months ago, and I just felt like expressing a few thoughts on it and how it's left me thinking about what to recommend to people this Christmas.

You see, I didn't really need a PS3 and at the time I didn't
really want one. I just kind of got one because it was the right time financially to pick one up. So having done that, I plugged it in and hooked it up to my telly via a HDMI cable and started using it.

You know, I was impressed... T
he PS3 is slick in the engineering department; it has no buttons, the disk is front loading, it's almost silent and the Blue Ray drive doesn't make a sound. The menu's are clean, minimal yet stylish, you can see all the little thumbnails animating in the menu's, it has a web browser, it makes little stylish beeps and clicks and it feels like a good bit of kit (a bit like most of Sony stuff lying around the house).

So, initially, thumbs up and in many ways it felt like a step up from my established next gen gaming system, the Xbox 360.

However, a few months on and I find myself asking which system do I think is the better system to recommend to others and this is where things start to get difficult.

Why..? Well it's because right now the 360 has it all when it comes to games; the graphics are (generally speaking) better than the PS3 (framerate, aliasing, pop-in etc.), the online part is much easier and reliable to use, the marketplace offers some great arcade titles and games are usually in shops sooner and cheaper than the PS3 versions. So, with an endorsement like this, the advice would seem to be clear: 'Buy a 360'. But it's not...

Whilst logically the 360 is the one to get I feel strangely compelled to recommend the PS3 because 'if' (and I mean a big'IF') Sony can just get a few things right... you know tidy up their sloppy PSN, lower the prices of their games a little, get some games to market quicker and improve the results on PS3 for cross platform development it will be the one to own. The hardware is reliable, it doesn't sound like a microwave in your front room, it can produce stella' visuals (we've already seen them) huge detailed games can fit on the Blue Ray, it has wireless networking, bluetooth and card readers and soon it will even record your TV!

If (and I mean a big IF) Sony succeed in tidying up the loose ends of a hugely ambitious project that is the PS3 it will be, without doubt, the one to own/recommend.

There's also all of the hardware issues that relate to the 360 to consider too. I think it's fair to say that almost all 360 owners expect their 360's to break within a year or two of purchase, either disk read problems or the dreaded Red Ring Of Death, and this surely goes in Sony's favour.

With this in mind, and without a proper 360 hardware revision this year, I'm left thinking of the saying "A candle that burns twice as bright, lasts half as long" and at the moment the 360 is definitely the one burning twice as bright.

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