: Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: May 27th

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Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: May 27th

Is It Really Thinking?

Ahh Sony, sometimes you never cease to amaze me. This week has made me remember why I firmly believe that Sony is the best console manufacturer ever. Just look at the firmware update they’ve just given us. Not only did they fix things like 720p Blu-Ray playback, but they go and deliver on their promise of upscaling PSOne and PS2 games into HD images. I’ll be perfectly honest; it’s rough playing a lot of these older games on an HD LCD set, because you see every pixel and imperfection. Even if a game features a progressive scan mode, like Gran Turismo 4 or God of War, it still doesn’t look very good on an HD LCD.

But this update is something completely different. Where as Gran Turismo 4 once looked like an overly pixilated, rough edged mess before, it now looks like a borderline next-generation title. The most notable fix can be seen in the car detail, which features an incredible application of anti-aliasing and increase in color quality that just makes the car ‘pop’. It floored me to see the kind of difference that this update made on my TV. People’s results will clearly vary, all depending on their TV and how well it naturally scales and renders an image.

In my case, and that of dozens of others I know, the results were astonishing. After GT4, I popped in a few other games, such as Shadow of the Colossus and marveled at the results. Framerates don’t seem to have been changed for games that needed them (Need for Speed Underground), but I’ve noticed that load times and save times have improved quite a bit, which makes sense since that is directly a hardware influenced aspect, as opposed to an emulated aspect.

Then you’ve got upscaled DVD movies, which allow those with HDMI compatible sets to view their DVDs in 1080p resolution. This is a feature that is typically found on more expensive DVD players, but it’s on the PS3 as a free update. How awesome is that? I’m often hard on Sony’s approach towards things and their current state of affairs, but you cannot deny the simple fact that nobody does hardware like them.

In addition to upscaling games and movies, the PS3 can even sync with the PSP and allow PSP users to use media content from their PS3 anywhere in the world. I could be in London and as long as I have an internet connection, I can view or listen to what’s stored on my PS3’s HDD. That same feature goes for laptops and other portable devices that have DNLA3 software downloaded.

At what point do the PlayStation 3’s updates come to an end? What exactly is this machine capable of? Will PSOne and PlayStation 2 enhancements be improved even further? Try thinking about what else Sony can update the PS3 with that they haven’t mentioned already. But I guess that’s the beauty behind the element of surprise, and perhaps Sony has been right all along…people really don’t know the true potential behind the PlayStation 3.

Warhawk Beta Rocks!

I also want to mention that the betas Sony is currently running are a great way to spread early word. I’m in the Warhawk beta, and I must say this is nothing short of amazing; the game is an absolute blast. The fact that it features so many various forms of combat gives the game a dynamic I can’t say I’ve ever experienced before. I’m not overly big on the whole online multiplayer scene, but I was a huge Unreal Tournament and R6: Rogue Spear player back in the day (and Socom, to a lesser extent). I can say with confidence that Warhawk is the next big thing for Sony. I’m completely in love and look forward to every free minute I have just to play the game.

5/27/2007 Arnold Katayev

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