Monday, May 12, 2008

A How-To Guide on Buying a Next Gen Console

I wanted to make this blog to be informational to all. Regardless of what they like and they might not like, so I decided that in the recent times, besides reviews of movies and games, you'll be seeing other informational things that might help you out. So, here it goes.

My Guide on How to Buy a Next Gen Console.

If you've followed the trails on buying a console, or the old PS2 is starting to lose its strength, then maybe this place would be the best stop for you to get a peek on what you should consider on. We have 3 heavy weights, the PS3 (Successor of PS2), the Xbox 360, (Successor of Xbox), and the Nintendo Wii (Successor of the Gamecube). Lets get all of that into detail.

The PS3

In long, its called the Playstation 3. This is Sony's premier console and sports the most expensive of prices in the world. Well, you have 2 models for this currently in production. The 40 GB version, includes a 40GB hard disk drive (HDD) to save up on your game saves, or to download more games from the internet. It has 2 USB ports, and is not backwards compatible (BC). BC would mean that it can't play old PS2 games, but PSX/PS1 games are just fine. It has a built-in Blu Ray Player to play all the Blu Ray goodness that you want, and not to mention great games for it too. The 80 GB has a few extras on the BC side, where it plays PS2 games, but depending on the region of the console (meaning, only US consoles can play US PS2 games, and not Japanese games. This one, can't be unlocked.), the HDD is 80 GB and 4 USB Ports from my knowledge. Both have Wifi built and an HDMI Port to link up to attain higher definition of picture quality.

The Xbox 360

Microsoft wanted a piece of the gaming world, and this is their answer. It has a few versions, coming from the Acrade, the Premium, and the Elite pack. The Arcade is by far the cheapest, having included a few arcade games from Xbox Live Arcade and no hard drive. Even controllers not wireless. While the other two have HDD's of 20 gb and 120gb. The Elite version separates itself best with a HDMI port, that allows for higher definition gaming.

The Nintendo Wii

This was a shocked. First announced to be Revolution, it has its name changed later in the process of building the console. People have been criticizing its name for hilarious purposes, but who's laughing now when it is actually the hottest console to fly off the market? The Wii has only 1 color, built in 512mb storage, utilizes a remote and nunchunk that responds to movements (Or motion control), and really it is fun. the cheapest among the three consoles (But not in Europe where the Xbox 360 Arcade is cheaper by 20 Euros if not mistaken).

There's your brief, now comes the deciding factors.


What is a console without games? For Sony, its a Blu Ray Movie player. For Wii, its a MP3 player, slideshow and so many small little things that I can't really remember. And Xbox 360, I am not sure at all. But in respect with games, each and every one of the consoles are bound to have an exclusive. Lets put them in respect.

-Sony PS3-
Hurm, this boils down to a few only. In truth, I can only note some games that are actually very very worthy of play and collect. Such titles are Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Warhawk, Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Future Destruction, GT 5 Prologue and Resistance: Fall of Man. These titles, well, GT5 is beautiful, Uncharted is 2007's game of the year for PS3 and Warhawk was quite good utilising the six axis. Basically, that's it. Ignoring DLC games for the PS3, that's basically just it for the PS3 gamers to feel happy about their exclusive. In fact, even Haze is a disappointment.

-Xbox 360-
Ah, this is something where the 360 excels on. They have some of the best games, and graphics are great too. Playing Gears of War was beautiful, Mass Effect was a great RPG, Ninja Gaiden 2 is beautifully awesome, and so many more exclusive. definitely one of the best platforms of 2007 to have great games for the hardcore gamer crowd.

-Nintendo Wii-
Hurm, this platform on its own, hosted the game of the year for 2007. No doubt Super Mario Galaxy has made its name on to the hall of fame, but lets not forget Mario Kart Wii, Super Smash Brothers, and also Wii Fit. If you've noticed, i've only talked about Nintendo's First party titles. While the 3rd party ones, erh, you've No More Heroes (stunningly satisfying), Rayman Raving Rabbids. that's how much I can remember. Honestly.

Despite all 3 platforms have exclusives, lets not forget the factors of multi platform games. GTA 4, Call of Duty 4, Rock Band, and others have made the platforms more like comparisons on which one gets the better edge. For Malaysians, investing on a console on its own is already tough enough. So those kind of comparisons make it much harder for us to look into, truth be told.

Online Capability
This is actually one of the showstoppers for the 3 platforms. This one truly breaks it, and so lets talk about them in specific one by one.

It should be noted that the PS3 is just in. And the online functionality, is not bad really. Go to the new sleek store, and download demos, games at cheap prices, movie trailers at 720p and so on. This portal is good, but somehow, it lacks the edge that the 360 has. This interface really feels common, and basically, that's pretty much it for the store. Online matching, well, it feels tough and rough for this part, as some users have been having trouble having friends to link up to and play with. But still, its good.

-Xbox 360-
Hands down, the best online service. Hardest part, is that you have to subscribe to it. To people, it may look cheap, but when you compare with the PS3, it's definitely better to just stick to the PS3 either way. But, if you really insist on paying for it, you'll be rewarded with some of the best functionalities. Differ who you want to play with, choose the list, and make it very simple that playing with friends has never felt better before. I should say, that it is really annoying to suddenly see who's online on the upper middle part of the screen. Couldn't they have done something like Yahoo on the bottom right side instead?

-Nintendo Wii-
This is a bit tedious. Ok, you have codes when you play games. Fine. But how about codes for all the games that you own. Makes it tough for you to remember ey? Furthermore, you have to remember the codes that your friends has. Why can't we just check with the online service if the guy has the game or not?

Ah, this should be worth mentioning. Serious. From revolutionary to plain old copying, the fun never stops when it comes with a controller.

-Nintendo Wii-
Hands down for this one, this true revolution. Ever held a TV remote before? yeah play the Wii with that. It's almost similar and I admire how all the buttons seem to be at the right places. It never fails to amuse me how wireless technology has already been utilized for a new way of playing games. Slash people with the Wii Remote, shoot with it, do motions with it, its definitely a whole new way to play. Owh, and didn't I say Rumble is also included?

-Xbox 360-
I think this one shows what improvements are made of. Where do we find the fact that we can have our thumbs rest normally, compared to a Sony controller? This controller is nice, with a huge home button for in game media bar access. But this control sheme doesn't really suit the Japanese I believe. Its a break from the old conventional D Pad style of playing and controlling the game. Rumble is there, but I heard the battery depletes out quite fast? At least its not using AA batteries.

Huh? Honestly, nothing has changed. First it was the banana controller, then it was the same old design. The Six Axis didn't have rumble on it, but the Dual Shock 3 does, and its a blessing for Sony players all over. But, if you know Sony, they unveiled motion sensing technology when the final build was almost imminent to launch. Honestly, nothing change from the old. Hey, why fix something when it's not broken?

So, based on all that, do we have a final verdict?

Final Verdict

I would like to say that you shouldn't actually feel any wrong having any of the 3 consoles. They have their strengths, and they have their weaknesses. Say if you have like enough money to only buy yourself one console in your lifetime (though I don't suggest you do so), I will list down here what are the consoles that you might like. (Judging will be done based on features and games along with all other considered factors)

Nintendo Wii
Imagine the fact that until now, the unit is very hard and remains so badly seen to be obtained. I am not kidding. This is really 1 tough console to buy in the US alone. People wait in lines, and now, since its almost 2 years already the console is available, people still can't secure one and just pick it up from shelves. Its cheap, games are fun, really fun. The console now suits more to the casual players. Casual meaning those who aren't hardcore gamers that kill and slash people or whatever shooting stuff. These people do puzzles, enjoy moving their body while playing sports, and making sure lots of sweat come out from your body. The games are diverse, but the library feels lacking towards the hardcore gamers.

Wow, who wouldb've thought the console would be so expensive? That's the problem. Coming out at 600 USD was a total pain. Hardly the games show any promise, but some are still awesome as hell. So, cheap Blu Ray player and game machine? yeah, why not. Its basically the cheapest Blu Ray player in Malaysia, so its a great buy to begin with. Metal Gear Solid 4 has just been released, so I do think we should look at how awesome the game is (Considering the fact that a whole lot of people have found it to be awesome also.) But looking at future prospects, I really hope PS3 stands tall.

Xbox 360
I must say, this is a shocker. I somehow grew to become a Sony fanboy, only noticing that fanboyism is nothing but a waste of time. For the hardcore gamer, this is your console. I should say that the PS3 is also giving stiff competition, because the PS3 is getting ground now. But with a great online service, packing library of games, you can't go wrong having lots of fun in this console, especially for the hardcore gamer. But does the US company know what the Japanese likes and wants? I should say lets wait for September to come. That month begins the awesome time of games fighting for ground once more as who will take crown of the biggest sales of the holiday season. For the hardcore gamer, this one is awesome for you. You won't regret playing Gears of War, Mass Effect and so many other sweet titles coming your way.

On my personal opinion, I bought the Wii first because it is a whole new way of playing. Even playing No More Heroes was so much fun, almost on par with God of War too. I'm trying my best for a PS3 next year, as my console ticket is now out of use. 1 console per year, that is the rule. But I'm really having fun now with my Wii, and hope to see Rock Band and my PS3 soon. hehe.

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