Monday, March 17, 2008

Playstation 3 games overview.

What are the Playstation 3 games like at the moment? The short answer is - still not good enough.

The troubles appear to lie in multi-format games and the fact the XBox can still be deemed the better console to work with. While this leads to things like the vertical tearing I mentioned in TimeShift or the occasional slideshow frame rate of The Orange Box sometimes the quality of a product can be seen in the little things that you don't even realise are there.

The Playstation 3 has a number of nifty little widgets that an owner might not even see, pop in a disc and not have it autoplay and it should change the background wallpaper and even play some appropriate music, the same goes for the cache data the game might save to the hard drive and even the savegame files.

Let's start with Resistance: Fall of Man a PS3 only title, it change the wallpaper... and that's it, not impressed.
Same goes for Ratchet and Clank from the same studio.
TimeShift also changes the wallpaper, but also plays some music. Well some might call it music it's a short weapon tone that's very badly looped and all the save files are just title screen icons.
The Orange Box is better, wallpaper change and the theme music from Episode 2 which I could just listen to by itself. The cache data does the same thing, the save files have a in-game snapshot of when it was saved except for the quick-saves, which features only the Half-Life lamda symbol. Now if I mention that QuickSaves are a PS3 only feature of this multi-console game...
Onto the best - Heavenly Sword another PS3 only title and it does things in style, background change, title music, and a video icon playing the trailer for the game on both disc and cache data.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and The Simpsons Game reveal their real roots in that they use no cached data at all with everything being streamed off the disc. Now considering the XBox360 houses a 12x DVD player meaning you get a 132 Mbit/s throughput whereas Sony have a 2x Blu-ray player with a 76 Mbit/s throughput; this means data access and thus loading is slower. This seems odd when you consider the default hard-drive in the PS3 has a 336 Mbit/s throughput.

So why not use the hard-drive? Because the game was designed to run on consoles that don't have one and the programmers obviously couldn't be bothered to change it.

And that's the state of play at the moment, the games just aren't using the full capacity of the PS3 compared to the XBox360. This may have to do with the programming environment, but can also be laid at the feet that the PS3 is simply younger then it's competitor.

However this might be changing with the forthcoming release of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, which is tempting even me a person who hates race games.


Anonymous said...

I will be purchasing my PS3 when GTA4 comes out! If fact, I don't call it a PlayStation anymore, to me, it's a GTA-Player.

Anonymous said...

...I can almost smell a Double Barreled with Cheese burger from Burger Shot right now...

Anonymous said...

That's like calling my iAudio an MP3 player… ;-)

FlipC said...

Ah but GTA4 was designed for the Xbox360 with the PS3 version essentially being a port, and the Xbox version will have extra downloadable content.

Two comments going around are that the delay in release was caused by tech tweaks for the PS3 (bad), and that it was getting more difficult to expand on games because you either limit your base by insisting the buyers have a hard drive or write the games without being able to use them.

Anonymous said...

So you recommend the Xbox360 for GTA4! OK, I'm open to new experiences. I'll get an Xbox.

The only problem is if the kids get a Disney blu-ray at Christmas. I've heard that Father Chirstmas has already stocked up on them.

FlipC said...

Depends how much you want the downloadable content, but the price for the Elite is £260 with the cheapest PS3 at £39 more and that's without the HDMI cable and headset and a 120Gb HD over a 40Gb one.

If you've not got a batch of old PS2 games or if you have and your old console isn't getting creaky (as mine was) then the XBox is looking a good option.

Then again as we know HD-DVD has lost the war against Blu-ray and Microsoft are still not talking about a Blu-ray addition (they want controllable digital distribution to take off instead).

So you can hope they bring one out at a reasonable price, hope that broadband gets to the speed where HD transfers are easily acceptable, or fork out another £200 on a standalone Blu-ray player.

I'd really like to take a stand and say - look this is the great stuff that's coming out on the PS3, but apart from GT5P, LBP, and Home I can't. It all really depends on where it's going to live and what you're going to be doing with it.