A Week of PS3: Some Thoughts

After seven days with the monolith from 2001 sitting on my desk I’ve got a good idea of what the system’s all about at this point in its lifespan.

Xbox Live pisses all over PSN. Poor friends integration (besides the fact that I only know a handful of people with one), different interface in every game, and they apparently remove older content because I can’t get the Everybody’s Golf demo or the first Uncharted trailer now. Plus no way to arrange content by game. I know PSN is free, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’d rather stay at the Ritz than a homeless shelter.

Live would do well to steal the idea of selling things in real money, though. At the current exchange rate Tekken 5 would cost me approximately 700 points. Although I’d have to buy 2,100 to get it. Fuck.

The PS3 is a better Blu-ray player than the 360 is HD DVD. I’ve watched a couple of films now (Apocalypto and Casino Royale) and have been thoroughly impressed, although despite the bigger library on BD I still struggle to find more than half a dozen films I want. There are a number of titles that I’ll be buying before the end of the year, though. And 1080p video doesn’t make Casino Royale any less overrated.

When the price drops I’ll probably buy a 360 with HDMI. It looks pin sharp and really is a surprising improvement over component or VGA. Oddly this is the first time I’ve watched native HD content over HDMI, since I’ve only ever used my upscaling DVD player previously.

Remote Play is a brilliant feature. Let me stream a DVD or BD to myself on the bog and it’ll be perfect.

Although the disc drive is significantly quieter than the 360’s, the fans aren’t. It’s near silent when turned on until they kick in after a few minutes (or is my room just too hot?), at which point I can hear them over a movie. Still, credit where credit’s due: it doesn’t sound like a jet taking off during a game which is an improvement.

I love the open standards for peripherals. Bluetooth means that anyone can put out wireless accessories, and being able to use any old flash memory card or USB drive as a memory card – allowing me to back up saves and even downloaded videos to my computer, no less – is fantastic. Ditto being able to use any old Bluetooth headset. Microsoft needs to note that charging £25 for a 64MB memory card is insulting when I can buy a 4GB flash drive to use with the PS3 for less.

On the subject of Bluetooth, why haven’t the syncing issues with the controller been fixed? Probably half a dozen times now my controller has stopped responding to leave my character running into a wall, and it’s not on when other wireless controllers like the 360’s and even the Wavebird have been absolutely rock solid. Because Resistance is so obnoxiously stingy with the checkpoints I had to do a whole – quite difficult – section again when it cut out and sent me gaily walking out in front of a big enemy with an equally big gun.

And why isn’t there an IR receiver? I see no real benefit to a Bluetooth remote (the ergonomics of a remote mean that it’s generally pointing at the device anyway) and it only serves to annoy the AV geeks who have their expensive universal remotes. You know, the ones who you’re trying to convince that the PS3 is a high end piece of AV equipment. Mine can turn on and control the 360 and PS2 but not the PS3, the one with movie playback that I might want to use with some regularity.

Stop plugging ‘CELL?’ and ‘Blu-ray Disc?’ at every opportunity. We know you have big discs (I said ‘discs’!) and a powerful CPU but we don’t need to be told in game trailers. It comes off like vapid marketing speak and undermines how good the technology actually is.

Most of all, the PS3 needs more games. Resistance, Motorstorm, and Ninja Gaiden don’t cut it at this point against two competitors that are ahead in sales and software. Thankfully there’s some good stuff coming this year.

2 thoughts on “A Week of PS3: Some Thoughts

  1. i agree with all of that, but to add that the xmb (cross media bar) is far superior than the xbox 360 interface, and profile intergration is nearly seamless on the ps3

  2. I can’t say I prefer the XMB, although I find it perfectly functional. The system settings are daunting to say the least (I still don’t know what a lot of it does) and there are some poor design decisions like leaving demos and downloaded games unsorted in the main menu. At the very least they need to make it like the PSP in that disc-based games appear in the XMB while games/demos on the HDD are sorted into a subfolder, and to make it even better give separate folders for paid downloads and demos. I don’t want Tekken 5 to disappear below a stack of demos as the downloads rack up.

    I nearly woke up the neighbourhood when I scrolled over the Motorstorm demo and had Slam blast out at full volume in the early hours. They should fix that while they’re at it.

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