It finally happened. I finally got a Playstation 3. I had wanted to get one for a while, but until recently I had not been in a position to own both the PS3 and a 360, and as I have said in the past, if I was only going to own one, it was going to be the Xbox.
So now that I finally own one, what do I think of Sony’s entry into this generation of consoles? If I had to boil my feelings down to one word, it would be mixed. There are many things I like about the system, and many others I do not.
What I like:
- Lack of Noise: The PS3 is incredibly quite. This really stands in contrast to the 360 which, if you have one of the older ones, sounds like an airliner’s preparing for takeoff. Sony’s workmanship is clear, and the system is just unbelievably quiet. I had heard PS3 owners mention this before, butI had no idea the difference would be this dramatic.
- Blu-ray: I have to admit, I am much more impressed with Blu-ray than I thought. I got Star Trek, which I had watched recently on my upscaling DVD player, and I was astonished just how much clearer the movie was. Everything was sharper, making for an impressive display of the difference a true high-def format can make. Now I am not impressed enough to replace my entire DVD libraray, but there are certain movies I defenitely want to own in the format now. I just wish I did not have to own 2 copies of some of them, and I will not pay $30 or more for a movie. Also, whose brilliant idea was it to decide the first release of Lord of the Rings was not going to be the extended editions? Seriously bad move, New Line.
- The Exclusives: Let’s face it; Sony has some impressive exclusives for the PS3. The Uncharted games are excellent. Little Big Planet is a lot fun. Metal Gear Solid 4 is just increadible. MAG has suprised me, quickly becoming one of my favorite online shooters, even if it has one of the worst names in video game history. Then you add some of the PSN exclusives like Flower and Wipeout HD, and I just find myself reminded of just why I wanted the console.
- Bluetooth Remote: If you use your PS3 for Blu-ray, do yourself a favor and get the official PS3 Bluetooth Remote. Not only is it a lot easier to watch Blu-ray movies with a remote as opposed to trying to use a controller, but since it is Bluetooth, you do not have to worry about hitting a sensor on the front of the console. Considering where my PS3 is sitting in my living room right now, I am glad I don’t have to point the remote at it for it to work.
What I don’t like:
- 1. Cross Media Bar: Wow, this is a clunky interface. I would even take the old Xbox 360 blades over this. Completely counter intuitive, it makes you jump through way too many hoops just to do what should be relatively easy things. To hook up my Bluetooth headset, I had to go to settings, find the bluetooth accessories section, pair the headset and then go to a separate audio settings section to tell the system I wanted to use this headset for speech. Just makes no sense.
- Installs, Installs, and More Installs: I go to set up my PS3, and I have to download and install the latest update, which took 20-30 Minutes. Then I went to download the Heavy Rain demo, which took time to download. Once it was done, I go to play it, only to find out I HAVE TO INSTALL THE DEMO! And on top of that, you cannot do anything else with the PS3 while you are istalling. I am playing on a console, not a computer. This is ridiculous.
- Updates: On top of the installs, there are the updates. Sony updates its console constantly, and while this may sound like a good thing, it is frustrating. I had heard stories of people turning on their PS3s for the first time in a while and waiting for a while before they can play because of the updates. After how long it took to set up initially, I can see how that would get old.
- Home: What a joke. This was supposed to be the answer to Xbox Live? Even though I was fairly certain I was not going to like it, I decided I needed to give Home a try. My time with this Second Life clone got off to a rocky start; try as I might, I could not get my character to look anything like me. Heck, my 360 avatar looks more like me than this does. I then entered the world, only to find load times, useless mini games with one small exception and just a huge waste of time. While I did enjoy one small part of my time in Sony’s virtual world, I do not really see myself going back.
- The Controller: No, I am not referring to the position of the thumb sticks; that is just a personal preference. I am not even talking about Six Axis; that is more a function of whether the programmers incoporate it well, like in Flower, or shoehorn it in as they did with Killzone 2. I am talking about the lack of a separate battery for the wireless controller. With the 360, if the battery dies on my controller, I can swap out the battery pack or even just throw in a couple of AAs. No such option on the PS3. If the internal battery dies on the controller, I have to plug it into the PS3 with a USB cable or stop gaming and hook it up to my separate charger.
I had mentioned I was mixed about the Playstation 3. I wish I was more excited about the system, as it is obviously well designed from a hardware standpoint. I guess i just feel Sony needs to open its eyes and see what is going on around it. Most of my criticisms of the system are easily correctable if Sony would just take the time to listen to its consumers.
When David Lange wrote his article on 5 things the PS3 needs to do, I had mentioned in my addendum that Sony needed to stop being arrogant. Even the little time I have spent as a PS3 owner has just reinforced this feeling. I truly hope Sony wakes up soon. There is so much wasted potential in this console. As it stands, I will more than likely buy anythings cross platform for the 360, reserving the PS3 for those impressive exclusives.
There will be exceptions, of course. After all, I would be crazy to buy Final Fantasy XIII on the 360 now that I own the system for which that game was designed…if I buy the game.
In the end, the differences between the 360 and the PS3 should not really surprise us. After all, Sony is a hardware company, and Microsoft specializes in software. Should we really be shocked, then, when each company’s console’s strengths reflect its designer?