...and it was good.
Last week, I got many e-mails in regards to my absence/lack of substantial update (read: none). Those following my column on a regular basis will also know that the majority of my things, including my XBOX 360, are all packed away, leaving me to a lack of gaming and weeks of sadness and depression.
Or... that's what I would be writing if something hadn't happened. You see, dear reader, at the time I wrote last week's column, I was waiting for a package in the mail. Originally that package was going to come sooner, but due to some silliness with the bank, I was forced to order it at a later date. And what was that package, you ask? Why, a brand new and very shiny Playstation 3. That's right: I finally got one! I ordered it from Best Buy through a limited deal they had where you get WALL-E and LittleBigPlanet along with your system, and honestly, I couldn't be happier with the system. Well... ok, that's a lie. I could ALWAYS be happier. I'm the critical one here. Allow me to lead you along a journey through the ups and downs of the system regardless, however.
So first off, one thing that I LOVE about PSN over XBOX Live! is that not only is the service 100% free, but it's wireless and comes with an internet browser. You heard that right. PSN already has it's own version of Twitter set up (which I haven't tested out) and YouTube XL which is made to format HDTVs. It's not perfect, obviously, and it's a little blurry due to the upping of resolution, but it works like a charm, that's for sure. I can sit and stream whatever YouTube I want for hours, and it doesn't cost me anything extra. On top of that, I don't have to pay to access all the demos, free add-ons, and multiplayer gaming. It's all readily available to me off the bat. Chalk one up for the PS3.
The dashboard is the standard Playstation dashboard we've all been used to on all of Sony's products for a while now. It's clean and sleek, and I can't really complain against it. You can choose to have a theme if you want, and that one theme is similar to how the XBOX 360 is now where you'll have a singular background image and rotate through it. There are some premium themes, but the great thing about it is that you don't have to pay for the cool ones. For example, I have a Fallout 3 theme that makes my dashboard look like a PIP-Boy. It's awesome! I also have a Bioshock 2 multiplayer theme which features multiple rotating backgrounds and changes all the "Pictures" "Video" "Music" options into that quirky little character image a la the XBOX 360 Achievements, except these pictures are all meant to be the characters you play in the multiplayer mode of Bioshock 2. And it didn't cost me a dime to get! Chalk another one up for the PS3.
Speaking of Achievements, you know that we don't have those on the PS3, right? We have Trophys. They're similar yet ultimately different. You see, the main difference is that instead of having various points assigned to a Trophy, we have Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Platinum you can only get if you beat every other trophy, and the Bronze, Silver, and Gold are given out for decidedly hard goals. I'll be honest, I don't even bother to try for most trophys because a lot of them are so damn hard. For example, Fat Princess' Trophys are almost all multiplayer oriented, and considering everyone in multiplayer doesn't want to play Fat Princess (they all want to play team deathmatch), I'm not on the multiplayer. Make sense? In talking to Nate, he said that he didn't feel the procurement of Trophys are as satisfying as getting an Achievement, and I suppose that is possibly true for some people, but they're pretty much the same thing through and through. They have quirky names, they're fun to get, and they essentially make no difference in the world of gaming. I mean, it's not like you get more based on your Achievements or Trophys. Besides, some of them are absolutely hilarious. In the aforementioned Fat Princess, I got a Trophy called "The Cake Is Not A Lie!" for beating the singleplayer. That's a win right there. This one is a draw because ultimately both the Achievments and the Trophys are pointless (sorry, Nate).
As far as exclusive games go (i.e. PSN vs XBOX Live! Arcade games), the XBOX wins this one. There just really aren't a lot of games on their network I found myself interested in. I of course got Fat Princess (if only for the controversy it caused in my state, the home of the ATHF Bombings), and I got an AMAZING game called Flower. Outside of that, though, I didn't see a lot I wanted to try. On top of that, unlike with the XBOX Live! Arcade games, you can't try them out before you buy them. You either go the whole nine yards or you get nothing. There are a few games that do in fact offer demos, such as the Watchmen games, but I didn't have any real interest in those, and those are available on the XBOX anyway. The PSN does offer old PS1 games on it, but the 360 offers some of it's old library, too. I want to call it a draw because I was able to download Final Fantasy VII, which is one of the greatest games of all time, but this one is a win for the XBOX 360.
About playing old games: the backwards compatibility is an instant 360 win. No question. Unfortunately, the big wigs at Sony just don't think we want to play PS2 games, which is a lie almost as bad as the cake. The PS3 is being killed by the fact that you can't play old games on it. Sony does claim that "Some games will run," but this is an overall falsehood. For example, on Sony's online site it says that I can play Shadow of the Colossus on my PS3. Can I? No. No I can't. And that is a mega loss. Like I said, SOME old PS1 games are available for download at a reasonable cost ($9.99 +tax), such as classics like Tomb Raider, Spyro, and FF7 (which is a big big win), but ultimately the PS3 loses this round once again for the lack of availability on it's system.
So right off the bat, we have the PS3 with 2, the XBOX with 2, and one draw in the middle over Achievements vs Trophys. This is just based on what's available right away, and this doesn't take into account things as graphical powers, accessories, etc. There is no doubt that the PS3 has a better graphic capabilities, and the fact it comes with an 80 gig harddrive all on it's own is pretty great (as opposed to going out and paying out the rear end for all yours). The blu-ray player and the upscaling DVD, is pretty nice as well, and all controllers being wireless and only requiring a USB charge for a short time period is great as well. With all of these things in consideration, I'd say the PS3 gets another point, putting it ahead of the XBOX, even though I like the XBOX more.
That's important thing to note: I do like my XBOX more than I like my PS3. You know why? The over all library of games is better on the XBOX. You see, the two systems share a LOT of games. Most of the big titles, in fact. However, I've already played most of the big games on my XBOX, and all my pre-orders for upcoming titles are all on the XBOX if only for the fact that I want to be able to play with my friends. Also, all of the exclusive PS3 titles I want come out next year (DCU Online, God of War III, The Last Guardian). I played demos for all the hot PS3 titles (Killzone, Infamous, Resistance) and I wasn't impressed at all. In fact, I found all three to be rather boring and run of the mill. I ADORE LittleBigPlanet and I can't see that game EVER not being fun, but as far as exclusive, PS3 pretty much loses hands down, leaving us with a tie in the end.
Don't get me wrong: my PS3 was a great purchase. A fast blu-ray player, four amazing games, and wireless internet make me happy as a clam. I'll probably work on reviews for my games in the upcoming weeks (but if you're curious, LBP, Fat Princess and Flower are all must own games), and that's only if I can take the time I took out for this article again (it's kind of hard to not play the PS3 at all hours right now, to be honest... especially since I'm on vacation). I'll even do my best to get more games on the PS3 in order to create some more articles not centered around the XBOX. In the end, I can't honestly tell you to get one system over the other. This is something any smart reviewer will tell you, and that it's all about personal preference. Chances are, all your friends own the XBOX, so get that and a blu-ray player and you're set. Or defy them and get a PS3 and rock out on your own. It doesn't matter. They're both excellent systems, and I'm happy to own both.
Just don't buy a Wii, because that's just fucking stupid.