Sunday, 21 September 2008

Behold! The Great Back-Pedal of Aught-8...


Yep, I like to think that I'm generally a man who can admit when he's wrong.  That whole "Michael Bay is the next James Cameron" kick that I was on the other year?  Yeah, that was wrong.  Fun movies but the guy clearly has a micropercentage of Cameron's chops.  Short of a blow to the noggin which has the cumulative effect of removing Bay's personality wholesale - see the Lukas Haas plotline in Woody Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You" for how that might play out.

When it comes to the PS3, I'm equally all at sea.

I felt that I had the machine pegged - a metric f-bomb of (potential) power sadly hamstrung by the not-inconsiderable issue of no amazing games to harness it with.  The usual Sony battlecry of "It's too early in the life-cycle of the machine! Buy it now and some good games will be along once we've fished 'em out from the back of the sofa - promise!" was beginning to ring truly hollow and wouldn't be enough to bail out the Big S this time.

Having had the chance - props to Evo Jon and Elle Driver - to spend an extended period evaluating the PS3, mine's a big old slice of Humble Pie to go.  With extra humble.

Whilst my better half remains unconvinced - Boo Snook is all about the 360 - I have to say that I find this latest iteration of the Playstation brand to be an increasingly convincing option.

The XMB (or 'cross-media bar') interface is slick and intuitive - the video previews of game demos are neat, the information held is conveyed swiftly and it's a damn sight nicer than the endless sub-menus of the current Xbox Live media blades (though this may change when the Autumn 'New Xbox Experience' arrives imminently).

Video is slick and Blu-Ray - on the evidence of the "Casino Royale" transfer I saw - is a worthy HD format, albeit one with needless BS like region coding to make buying a PS3 something of a crap shoot for the enthusiast crowd.  Still, there are ways around that particular restriction -we're already seeing multi-region stand-alone Blu-Ray players being sold by third-party modders and I feel certain that the 'homebrew' community will deliver a solution sooner rather than later.

Games are fun - which is key, I guess.  I didn't get a chance to play "Metal Gear Solid 4", but the PS3 version of "Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare" is a percussive, eyeball-meltingly intense shooter, which employs every visual and auditory trick in the book to draw you into the game's blisteringly ferocious firefights.

"Motor Storm" is a great looking racer, with a fun physics engine which combines with a very user-friendly control system to deliver a game which rivals "PGR 4" in the high-speed stakes.

"Virtua Tennis 3" is far prettier than the 360 version - why, Maria Sharapova's digital avatar looks almost human in the PS3 iteration of the game.  Scarily human-looking, even.

If you like shooters, you're probably better off plumping for a 360, but you knew that.  If you want a less hardcore option but can't get around the Wii's critical lack of grunt and seeming disinterest in serving the core Nintendo audience, a PS3 seems like a wholly logical choice for a space in your living room.  And then there's the likes of "Little Big Planet" to consider, which just looks ace...

Having said that, the new 360 price cut just made your choice a hell of a lot more difficult...

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