Ben's Week In Review: January 27
Well, itís that time of the week again. Here I go on a few of the most current issues in gaming.
PS3 Firmware Update 1.5
Arnold did the report on this, which I couldnít do considering I donít have HD. But it appears there was a major visual issue when trying to play PS2 games through a PS3 on a HDTV (these problems arenít evident on a normal 480p standard definition TV). And thanks to this update, it seems those PS2 games now look a lot better on HD monitors if youíre playing on a PS3, and I realized: the update isnít a compensation; itís not fixing or repairing anything, itís actually an upgrade. You canít have this kind of update for the PS2, so if you only have a PS2, youíre stuck trying to find the best way to hook the system up so the games donít look terrible. By the way, it turns out that component cables and a 16:9 setting on the PS2 helps a great deal, but even so, the PS3 firmware update simply makes the already-great backwards compatibility on the PS3 even better.
The next step is, of course, to get HD myself. Hoping to manage that by later on this summerÖ
Midwayís Gamerís Day
Few were even aware Midway had such a day Ė we all know about Sonyís Gamerís Day in September Ė but as it turns out, they had plenty of news to go around. And after hearing about the Unreal Tournament 3, Hour of Victory, and BlackSite: Area 51, Iíve realized theyíre really going gung-ho with the FPSs. And I donít have a problem with that, considering itís one of my favorite genres, but I so often donít equate Midway with UTÖand thatís one hell of a franchise. It makes me really look forward to the summer (when all those games are roughly scheduled for), and also makes me realize I need a good fast-action fix every once in a while. When Iím playing such a long RPG like FF XII, I find I start to yearn for something entirely different after a while. And thatís not a bad thing.
Basically, the more we ignore different games, the more we limit ourselves in our gaming experience, and ultimately, the more we limit our enjoyment. Thatís what I say. And it appears Midway is going to attempt to give me my FPS fix for when the warm weather rolls around.
PS3 European Launch
So as it turns out, and as I expected, the PS3 launch is on track for Europe. March 23 is the magic date, and I tell ya, you Euro gamers are getting one hell of a great launch lineup. Yeah, you had to wait longer than everyone else, but that list is twice as long as ours, and includes many more great titles (or potentially great titles) . It also seems like Sony shouldnít have the same massive manufacturing problems they had with the Japanese and North American PS3 launch last year. Therefore, I foresee a mucb better situation for you guys, and I would strongly suggest you take advantage, because itís right around the time there should be more than a few reasons to own a PS3.
We always have the new console game drought (as outlined in Arnoldís editorial last weekend), and when we start entering April, that drought begins to disappearÖas is the case with most all platforms when theyíre released right around the holidays the year before. So while I know youíve been forced to wait, in all honesty, itís a good thing. I believe the system will sell better, and I believe there are more reasons for consumers to own one at that time, so itís win-win for both parties.
Weekly Final Fantasy XII Update
Well, Iím at about 80 hours now, and right before the Final Confrontation. Of course, I wonít be actually beating the game for quite a while, considering I have about a gajillion extra things to do. I want to get all the best equipment for my three characters I use all the time (Vaan, Basch, and Ashe), and I want to complete just about all the side-quests. I say ďjust aboutĒ simply because I wonít be taking the time to hunt down all 80 Rare Monsters in the gameÖI just donít have the time or motivation to spend a good 20 additional hours doing that, and the rewards really arenít worth it, anyway. If I didnít have anything else to play, Iíd probably do it because Iím a huge RPG completionist, but thatís really not the caseÖIíve got plenty sitting in the game hopper.
I would also like to add one thing- while Iíd have to say itís one of the best Final Fantasies ever Ė easily in the top two or three Ė I canít say itís even in the top 5 of my most favorite. I just think the story took too long to develop, and while the characters and voice acting were stupendous, I donít like such heavy political angles to plots. Itís just not my thing. I doubt Iíd play the game through again, but I wonít say thatís written in stoneÖthere are plenty of games Iíve said that about in the past, and Iíve now played them multiple times. All in all, though, FF XII is definitely one of the best games of the generation. It is also one of the deepest Ė if not the deepest - overall RPG Iíve ever played. Period.
Working On The PS3 A "Journey"
That Ninja Theory co-founder, who had that really cool quote about designing games on the PS3 makes perfect sense to me. Sony has never produced a platform that made developers say, ďhey, thatís easy.Ē No, it always takes time. It took time with the PS1, it took time with the PS2, and in all honesty, I enjoy watching the advancements over the years. Theyíre more significant and obvious than on any other platform, and itís just a lot of fun to see. We have Resistance: Fall of Man now as a launch title, and if we look at the PS2 launch titles compared to last yearís titles, that system came a long wayÖso that means Resistance - if history is any indication Ė can be equated to those PS2 launch titles.
And if you do that, doesnít that just get your imagination spinningÖ?
1/27/2007 Ben Dutka