Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to play the PS3, as well as [finally] pick up an Xbox 360.

First things first... The Playstation 3... Yeah... well... it's black, and big, and elusive, not to mention pricey. I've played Resistance: Fall of Man, Call of Duty 3, and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and I wish I could say that they impressed me, but unfortunately I can't. Same goes for the Blu-Ray movies.

Call of Duty 3, looked good and felt fairly intuitive, but the lame way you turn the controller to melee seems to be nothing more than a last minute addition forced in by Sony in order to have another game that makes use of the motion sensing capability of the 'SIXAXIS' controller. The game looks pretty, but I really didn't feel that it's all that much different than the other WWII shooters out there, especially Call of Duty 2.

Resistance: Fall of Man is supposed to be the direct response to Gears of War on the Xbox 360, but again it seems like a game that is ALMOST ready for prime time. It is a fun game to play, and has a good premise, but for a game that has been hyped as being able to show off the PS3's capabilities, it misses the mark. The real saving grace of Resistance is oddly enough, the online play, which seems to be better done than the single player mode. Playing online with 39 other people really keeps the action frenetic, but to it's detriment there is no room for strategy, it's all just running around shooting anything that moves. Sure you can limit the number of players, but who has a USB heaset, or even a bluetooth one that they are going to use strictly for the PS3.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance... Sucks; unless you liked the Marvel arcade games from 1997. The only thing that I really liked was that there is so much of the Marvel universe tossed in for the fans, while not being too "inside" for those who [like me] don't know Peter Parker's birthday. If you have multiple controllers, and multiple friends to play with it will make the game more fun.

The SIXAXIS controller is essentially a rehashed Dual-Shock controller minus the dual-shock. OK, and the cable, plus adds an extra button. The controller is lighter than the old dual-shock, but has a cheap feel to it. The R2/L2 buttons turned triggers don't have as precise a feel as the 360's triggers, though this may be a limitation of the titles that I've played so far. The other big annoyance that I've come across is the charging cable which is about 5 feet long, not nearly long enough for playing while charging, which is important since the controller MUST be charged before you are able to use it for the first time, [and the extra controllers that you buy don't come with a cable at all], luckily it's just a standard mini-USB cable.

Oh, and the initial setup requires a firmware update, and takes about an hour to complete; and hour and a half if you setup the online service as well.

Now the 360:

I decided to get the 360 specifically for 'Gears of War' which has ended up consuming nearly every free moment since. I'd like to say that I could have had a flawless experience, but I can't; though all of the glitches have been minor they were all pretty much fixed with the dashboard update available when I first signed into Xbox Live. The only things that are still minor issues are that the backwards compatibility is still not complete for all of my games, which is not a major issue; and that like some others, GoW had a "Disc Unreadable" error which has happened a couple of times. By the way, the power "brick" is HUGE!

The controller is comfortable, and a vast improvement over the original Xbox, and comes with a pair of user replaceable AA batteries, and cover. This is a bit of a point of contention for me in comparison to the PS3 which comes with a rechargeable wireless controller. But the rechargeable pack, and cable are only $20 CAD, which i can excuse since the cable is more than long enough to sit back far enough from a big HDTV so as to not burn though your retinas, a la the PS3 cable.

Gears of War, is simply the most fun that I've had playing a game. Period.

I was able to pick up Gears and start playing within the first few minutes, and the tutorial walks you through without much effort to learn. A big reason for why this game is so fun is that the controls are intuitive and mapped in such a way that it just works. Being able to take cover, and blind-fire/throw your weapon is just fantastic [even though I don't use it much, I like precision firing]. Above all my favorite combat in the game is the short game, so to speak, you can "tag" an enemy/opponent with a grenade, which goes off in a few seconds, but the most satisfying is using the "Lancer" [the main gun in the game] to engage the enemy with the chainsaw bayonet. There's nothing like sawing through a "bad-guy" who thinks that they are being smart by rushing you.

The multiplayer is incredibly fun with having 4 on 4 skirmishes allowing you to form a strategy with your team mates over the headset included with the 360, [which attaches to the wireless controller... Sony...]. The maps are considerably smaller than those in Resistance on the PS3, but then again it's just 8 players, not 40 it is just as fun to play, and you get the same game play as in the single player version, but you get to stomp on the heads of your opponents. The other big thing that is not limited to Gears, but rather across many 360 games, is that while you are waiting to play you can watch the current round being played, in a spectator mode.

Well that's all for today, I have to get back to stomping mouthy little 14 year-olds.

Until then,