PS3: Games…

I got the following 3 games for launch:

Virtual Fighter 5
Read the reviews. It’s all true. Looks, IMO, a lot better than DOA4, and i always liked the series for it’s being closer to reality. Good game, if you are into precision fighting games. The Quest mode is fun so far, let’s see how long the appeal lasts. In terms of “no online game” ditches it got, I do agree with the publishers statement, that having an online mode for a game that fast is impossible. DOA4 proves quite nicely that winning there mostly depends on connection speed and luck. I was in matches where my opponent fell down without moving, or i just dropped dead without a chance to counter my invisible opponent…

NBA Street
I loved that game when I played it years ago on the PS2, and this incarnation is just so much fun again. Great dunks, very nice commentary on all the outdoor courts and the NBA stars that were born there. The career mode is fun, the game looks great. Good buy.

Motor Storm
Just wow. Playing this on my projector with a 7 foot screen is the a complete blast. It might not be the most realistic driving simulation (NOT), but even my daughter thinks this is a fun game, and she normally despises driving games. The graphics are very very sweet. This game actually shows off my XBox. I do not have any driving game on that platform that comes close to this, in terms of graphics.

All in all, 3 very good games.

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Published in: on March 27, 2007 at 7:29 am  Leave a Comment  

PS3: Networking

The Playstation Network in Europe seems to be completely overwhelmed, or just badly implemented, as I was unable in the last 3 days to create sub accounts for the rest of my family. Entering any online game failed as well. There might be several reasons for this, including my wireless setup (although that works fine for XBox360), but I decided just to wait a few weeks and check it out when the dust has settled. When XBox Live launched, it was a hazzle initially as well, by now this is a very mature system. I hope PSN get’s to the same level fast…

I was able though to download demos from the store, including Gran Tourismus HD. That’s something… 🙂

Published in: on March 27, 2007 at 7:24 am  Leave a Comment  

PS3: Initial impressions

I got my own PS3 on the day of the European launch on Friday. I already had the old PS2 hooked up with a digital audio and a component cable from Monster to my AV equipment, so i could just unplug the old, and plugin the new, and be done with it. This is a nice touch in my book.

The build quality is excellent. Handing, touching, using a PS3 feels like using a high quality audio component. Setting it up, including wireless, was flawless (assuming you are familiar with the PSP interface, which I am, if you are new to it, your mileage may wary). I like the build in WiFi, and, comparing it to my XBox360, this brings the official price difference down to a good 100 Euros. For that you get BlueRay and a bigger HD, and of course a bundle of other differences.

The controllers are “small” compared to the XBox360, and they do not seem to have removable batteries. For my large hands they are the minimum size to be comfy with, but the rest of my family likes them a lot more than the heavy XBox360 controllers.

I set the system up to 720p (the highest native resolution of my TV and my Projector, both support 1080i, so i might try that later). The output works fine on both systems, and the readability of the UI is good.

I then created some user accounts for my family, changed default logon settings etc, and created a Playstation network account for myself.

So far, so good. From just the first 2 hours, i like the machine a lot.

Published in: on March 27, 2007 at 7:21 am  Leave a Comment  

PS3 vs. XBox360 – DVDs and Music

Yesterday I took an hour to compare the 2 console systems as media systems.

XBox360: the biggest plus I see is the ability to be an extender for your computer system. I don’t see similar functionality for the PS3 yet, so that is a clear win for the Microsoft system (calling it XBox from now on).

Music
I tried just one album, the 20th anniversary SACD hybrid from Dire Straits “Brothers in Arms”. I ripped 3 songs to the XBox, and ripped the whole CD to the PS3. I did the later, as the PS3 does not allow me to select which songs to rip, on the other hand, ripping the whole CD on the PS3 is as fast as ripping 3 songs to the XBox.

I did not change any settings. On the XBox you can not change any CD ripping related settings. On the PS3 you can. Several formats and qualities are available. The PS3 also can play SACDs directly in multi channel sound.

The PS3 interface is, IMO, more elegant and gives you more information. On the other hand, the ability to show the encoding and the bitrate is probably only interesting if you are able to do that in the first place, and if you are a nerd…

Sound. No comparison. The XBox looses detail like hell (this is true for playing the CDs directly, or for the ripped songs) compared to the PS3. It’s no contest.

DVDs
I tried the 2nd Tomb Raider movie, mainly because it has decent picture quality and it was just lying close to the consoles as a region 2 movie.

Sound: The same as with Music. The XBox can not hold a candle to the PS3 for playback. The XBox sounds hollow, loosing details, missing dynamics.

Picture: The story continues. The Xbox has a fuzzy, washed image, with not enough contrast and the occasional artifact. The PS3 on the other side is 2 classes beyond that. Where the XBox fails to be as good as your run of the mill 100 Euro standalone DVD player, the PS3 is easily that good, if not better. Note that the PS3 does not have scaling build in yet, so both systems were running at Pal progressive resolutions.

When my real DVD player was broken a while ago, I had to use the XBox as a player for a month. This was a bad experience, the XBox is louder than my projector, and the picture/sound is really bad. With the PS3 I do have a decent backup system now, one that i can easily recommend to others as a good system in that price-range. With the XBox, I told people, great gaming system, but go and buy yourself a DVD player as well….

And, it’s quiet. When both systems are turned on, and you listen to music from the harddisks on both, you turn off the amplifier. You hear the distant rumble of the airplanes… no, wait that is the fan noise.. You turn off the XBox… and the noise stops. Yes, the PS3 has a fan as well, but it’s a lot quieter during DVDs/Music in comparison to the Xbox.

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Published in: on March 27, 2007 at 4:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Arcade: Dig Dug

Arcade: Dig Dug:
I remember that game as one of the most expensive allowance eaters of my youth. Probably shows that i am a fossil…

Update: Although Major Nelson states this is available in all regions, I don`t see it yet on XBox Live… maybe tomorrow….

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Published in: on October 11, 2006 at 8:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

And the XBOX360 is back again…

this time it took just a week to ship the XBOX away, and get a new one back. It already survived my Wife’s 3 hour Zuma session, so I am very confident this one will last at least another week.

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Published in: on September 11, 2006 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

XBOX360 support…

So i called in this morning, to claim a new warranty repair. The usual drill, lot’s of questions etc. Then he asks me about the free space around the XBox, to make sure it has enough airflow. I tell him, it’s mounted horizontally and has around 20cm (8 inch) of space in all other directions.

He starts telling me that this is not enough and he has to note that, and they might not repair it for free because of the heat issues. My wife than took a measurement (as the 20cm was guessing), and it’s 35cm, so this was all well.

But excuse me? Where in the freaking manual do they state 30cm as the minimum safe distance?

If they would state that, they would admit to a glaring design mistake in the XBOX 360. Hence, they can not really hold me, or any one else for that matter, responsible for “not enough airflow” if they do not state what the amount of air needed for the system is.

If the XBOX360 really needs 30cm in all directions, to operate in a safe manner, that’s a joke. But what really pisses me off, is that i am the one who spend 800$ on XBOX 360 stuff so far, and i have to send the thing in for repair (twice now), and they treat me like i am at fault for their shitty workmanship.

It’s about time Nintendo and Sony get their act together. Microsoft seems to need a bit of competition to start appreciate the customer a bit more.

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Published in: on September 5, 2006 at 8:45 am  Leave a Comment  

My XBOX360 broke down again…

Just 6 weeks after it arrived, I am going to call support tomorrow to arrange for another pick-up. This time, the DVD drive broke down. I was in the middle of a gaming session, when i heard a LOUD, cracking noise, followed by: “Can not read the disc..”.

I checked the game disc, looked fine. I tried it again, only to have it be eject right away. I try other game disc, i try music CDs. No luck with nothing at all. But the drive got mighty loud 🙂

So much to me not believing a word of all the “bad quality control” stories so far. The whole XBox360 adventure is turning to a real selling point for a PS3 in my view.

Two defects in less than a year.

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Published in: on September 4, 2006 at 8:06 pm  Comments (1)  

XBOX360 Arcade games… (2)

I finally, after 30 minutes, got through to support. This can get solved, but it’s not acknowledge in the knowledgebase article 911198, nor in any other document. And all the other people on the web don’t seem to have had luck with support either…

So here is the solution:

a) you need another account on your XBox360. A silver account is fine. Most likely you have that, otherwise you would not have noticed.
b) you call to support (can only vouch for the german support, they do this).
c) you wait
d) you continue waiting…
e) when you reach someone, you explain your problem. They verify the “replacement console” story (have your reference number of that incident).
f) then they need your GamerTag. They calculate the amount of points you spend so far
g) and the other gamertag get’s that amount of points
h) now wait again, this is supposed to take 10days
i) when you finally have the points on the other account, you buy all the games again

Now, repeat after me: I LOOOOVE DRM. It’s good for you. It enriches your life – otherwise you would never ever hear stories like this.

I don’t even want to start arguing at how many places Microsoft could do a much better job in this area. It’s so obvious, and i just don’t have the time. I am just glad that in 10 days, my wife can try to break her high score again…

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Published in: on September 2, 2006 at 7:17 pm  Comments (1)  

Can not play XBOX360 arcade games anymore…

I am not the only one. When you have a defect XBOX360, and you get a replacement unit, like I did, the original buyers account has to be connected to XBOX Live, so that you can play the games you purchased.

Now I understand that this is a security feature to prevent people from copying games around. But..

This completely sucks ass and is another glaring display for the disregard of content providers, Microsoft in this case, to their consumers. I am not the only one (just google for this problem, you get plenty) as everyone who got a replacement unit can not play the games on their secondary accounts or when the internet is down.

Sorry guys. This is a totally unacceptable solution. Have a fucking “reset my account ID” on your freaking website, so the next time i log in, the new XBox will authorize itself again. Or get rid of the DRM system.

This also means, if i buy a 2nd XBox and want to copy the games on it, to play them in another room – let’s say I am watching TV, and my Kids want to play. No way, my friends. Unless they use my account.

This is just evil. I get a replacement for a broken piece of hardware, and i loose functionality. I hope Sony does a better job on this with PS3.

So far I was a fan of XBox360 and XBoxLife. This just got a good damper.

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Published in: on September 2, 2006 at 6:14 pm  Leave a Comment