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Matt’s Lite PS3 Impressions

posted on November 5th, 2006 by matt

On Friday night, I took the trip to the Toys R Us in New York City’s Times Square, and put in a few minutes with the soon-to-be-released Sony Playstation 3. Here are my thoughts on the beast that is the PS3.

Once I got there, I saw that a line had already formed with about 10 people. The kiosk had four PS3’s setup, but only one was working. I’m not sure why the others weren’t in use, but I’ll stop myself from coming up with something that sparks hysteria on the Internets.

The game on display was Motorstorm. Although nowhere near the level of graphical power that was shown at E3 2005, it still looked great. The level of detail on the riders and the vehicles themselves was a sight to behold. The level itself was also very detailed, with high-res textures and effects.

It was pretty interesting to hear the reactions from the crowd. One person in particular was all hot-to-trot about the graphics. They were definitely amazing, but it’s not the greatest thing since sliced bread. Some other people still weren’t convinced about the system, stating that for $600, it needs to look a lot better than what’s currently being seen on the Xbox 360.

Once most of the attendees dispersed, I finally got a chance to take the system for a test drive. The newly dubbed SIXAXIS does feel much lighter than the Dual Shock 2, almost to the point of it being weird. Usually when I think of something light, I tend to think it’s poorly made. I’ll reserve my final judgment when I actually get the system, though. I’m assuming that the lack of a rumble feature is what caused the controller to drop a couple of pounds. And speaking of rumble, it came apparent to me that not having rumble is somewhat of a problem, especially with a game that has you bouncing all over the place like Motorstorm. I’m a huge rumble fan, though, so you readers that see no benefit from a rumble probably won’t care about the loss of it. But for me, the level of immersion is definitely lacking without it.

Also, the new R2 and L2 triggers feel very nice. They feel much softer than the Xbox 360’s triggers. My hands actually started to center on them, as opposed to having them stay on the R1 and L1 buttons on PS2’s DualShock.

As for the game, I do have to say it looks better than most Xbox 360 games I’ve seen, but only marginally. There’s no real difference between the two where you can say “That’s definitely a PS3 game.” Only the hardcore will notice the difference, but it’s still based on what game you’re playing. In the end, it’s the developers that will show you how good a system can be. Right now, PS3 and Xbox 360 are essentially the same in my eyes.

One thing that disappointed me about Motorstorm was the level design. It all felt a little too “last-generation.” I saw nothing in the demo that resembled the original trailer in terms of level design. No crazy hills rolling into one another or anything like that. Basically, it felt like a PS2 game with better graphics, and for a system that costs so much, I want a little more than that.

But of course, this is just one game, and it didn’t even use the tilt functionality. The PS3 can still surprise me, but as of now, I haven’t seen anything that makes me want to wait in line to get one.

And I apologize for the somewhat crappy picture I took while at the store. There were way too many lights on, and my camera phone isn’t the greatest. This is the best picture I could get without it looking like a laser light show, so blah.


  1. Christian said on November 5, 2006:

    Was the PS3 played on an HDTV?  Becuase 360 in HD still in HD is just jaw dropping to me.  If first gen PS3 games can look better, even to just the eyes of the hardcore, the future will be quite interesting.

  2. jay said on November 5, 2006:

    I don’t completely get why magazines, sites, and professional reviewers assume gameplay reacts to generational changes. Presentation is constrained to hardware so within each system there is a little change but then a large jump from console generation to generation. Gameplay is only marginally dependent on presentation (usually) so why would having a stronger console mean something specific for gameplay? Gameplay evolves organically over time much more often than in huge growth spurts because of a new system.

  3. Matt said on November 5, 2006:

    Yeah Christian, the systems were all hooked up to Sony HDTV’s. It was funny, my friend and I went to a GameStop before going to TRU and we saw a preview for Gears of War in HD. It looked fantastic, but I still can’t say it looked better than what I saw for PS3. And I totally agree with you, Jay. Nothing changes in my eyes. It takes a smart developer to change how games are played, not the system upgrades. That’s why I talked about the level design. It just shows that the PR about "next-generation" gameplay is all bullshit. One thing that also came apparent to me was the lack of imagination. I remember playing Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast and looking at the vibrant blue sky. Motorstorm had a beautiful horizon with the sun beaming down through clouds, but I probably won’t remember it for too long. But I still remember the Sonic one. That realistic look is just getting generic. Where’s my fantasy and imagination nowadays? 

  4. Chris said on November 5, 2006:

    Your fantasy and imagination (along with that new gameplay you mentioned) is in the next aisle over and can be picked up on the 19th. :-)

  5. Matt said on November 5, 2006:

    Haha, exactly:)

  6. GoldenJew said on November 5, 2006:

    So out of curiousity– how many of you are getting a PS3 when it comes out?  I’ve no money or interest for awhile, personally, and I’m a huge Sony white.    

  7. Matt said on November 5, 2006:

    I’m definitely not getting one. I’m Nintendo through and through, so all my income is going to the Wii. Xbox 360 will probably be after, not the PS3.

  8. pat said on November 5, 2006:

    ive been solidly in sony’s camp for the past two generations, but ive heard some stuff i dont like about the ps3.  ill admit i know nothing about the tech behind games, but ive read both ps3 and xbox360 use "in order" processing, which apparently means the games are really pretty, but neither smart nor innovative.  again, i speak from ignorance so its possible either ive misinterpreted this or its overblown, but until sony shows me something i like i think its going to be the wii for me (although id still prefer to call it the revolution).

  9. Matt said on November 6, 2006:

    I don’t know, isn’t that a bit presumptuous, Pat? I mean, I remember when Hideo Kojima complained about the PS2 not being a good system to develop adventure games for, but we still got games like Shadow of the Colossus. They may not be the best systems ever engineered, but I can’t see how they are only going to be cinematics or something. Even though my playthrough was fairly lackluster, it still resembled a video game. Developers are going to be the ones that show what a system is like. I do remember hearing something about how the PS3 takes code, but I can’t imagine a system with that kind of speed will take a hit on how it manages code. Most OS’s can’t truly multitask, but it sure looks like they do.

  10. Christian said on November 6, 2006:

    In order processing is basically the opposite of what most normal CPU’s do.  It actually can be a lot easier, but no one is used to working with it. I think Gabe Newell of Valve described it as being a case of in-order + multicore = really hard to get everything working well.  Any schmuck team can write PS3 code- doing it well won’t be so easy.  Thus you won’t be seeing many teams able to write robust graphics, physics and AI all at once.  They’ll choose one, and we know which choice that will be.  Still, in the end I think we’ll see a PS2-esque change as most developers adjsut to the hardware, and initial launch games will be outclassed by newer stuff.

  11. jay said on November 6, 2006:

    And since history is written by the victor, if the PS3 does well then the processor will be heralded as brilliant despite the extra effort it took to take full advantage of it. If the PS3 doesn’t do that well it’ll be compared to the awkward Saturn architecture.

  12. pat said on November 6, 2006:

    i was trying not be be presumptuous by being as self deprecating as possible.  i really dont know whether thats relevant or not, which is why i reserved judgement.  however the mindset behind the wii is something i can embrace much more readily than a graphics first machine. ultimately the games will make the decision, but at this point that is how i see the landscape.

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