PS3 and Wii Impressions

14 11 2006

Nintendo Wii

Today I went to the Best Buy in Santana Row to go buy Damien Rice’s new album “9”. I spent about 40 minutes in the Santana Row parking garage by Best Buy. It was a mistake going in there; no parking spot with about 100 cars going in and 5 cars going out. It was madness. I decided to just park in the Valley Fair parking garage across the street.

I ended up going inside Valley Fair and found myself at the EBX videogame store. I was attracted to the glowing blue light of the Nintendo Wii demo kiosk. A game was running, but there was no Wiimote to be found. I asked one of the workers if it was available to try out. He said that you needed to give them a Driver’s License or an ID to be able to try out the system. I agreed and handed him my driver’s license. His co-worker explained that employees have to tie the wrist strap attached to the Wiimote to the customer’s wrist. I’m glad he didn’t actually do that and just explained how to use the controller.

The game being demoed was Excite Truck, a racing game by Nintendo. You control the vehicle by holding the remote lengthwise and tilt it side to side like a steering wheel. It took me a while to get a hang of it. The response of tilting system seemed a little bit slow to react, but maybe it was from not being used to the weight and lack of feedback of the Wiimote. The tilting of the system actually works, which was quite amazing to try it out. It’s so different from using a joystick on a regular controler.

Without taking account of the tilt control innovation of the Wii, Excite Truck seems to be an average game. Nothing about it stands out. The graphics are not bad but it’s bit generic and dull, despite the track being set in a tropical beach area. Gameplay wise I didn’t see anything special about it. The only thing I can say I liked about it is the innovative new way it controls, which I find really amazing. I can’t wait to play games that are actually good with the Wiimote. Props to Nintendo for bringing that to the market.

There were a couple of guys that were watching me play and talked to me for a bit, asking how it controlled, etc. They mentioned the PS3 being demoed at the Best Buy. I lost a little bit of interest in Excite Truck, to say the least. I left the mall and walked to Best Buy.

The PS3 was being demoed in the 2nd floor where all the videogame stuff are. A couple of people were playing NBA Live or NBA2k7. One of those. The graphics looked pretty good, about the same as basketball games I’ve seen on the Xbox 360. Bored, I walked over the ol’ Xbox 360 kiosk. I played the Lost Planet video and a couple of guys in their teens stopped to watch. They seemed to be impressed by the game, as I was when I first watched the video on the internet.

Walked back to the PS3 booth and two kids and their dad were trying it out. They were having trouble with controlling the NBA game and after a few minutes gave up on trying to play it.

PS3

It was then my turn to try out the PS3. In my head I was thinking, “I can’t believe I’m playing a videogame system that sold for over $9,000 on eBay!” Well, not really, but it was still pretty cool to think I was playing the PS3. I would have gotten a similar feeling playing the Wii for the first time if the game being demoed was something other than Excite Truck, which is anything but exciting.

I exited the NBA game after giving up on trying to figure out the controls. I pressed quit and it went to the PS3 XMB. The XMB menu system is similar to the XMB system of the PSP, except it’s in high definition and there are several features added. I didn’t really get to try it out much, but it seemed fast and simple enough. It looks nicer than the Xbox 360 dashboard to me because I prefer it’s simplicity.

There were a few game demoes including Genji 2, the NBA game, some other game, and Motorstorm. I tried out Motorstorm. Wow, the graphics of this game is pretty damn good. It almost makes Excite Truck on the Wii look like a Gamecube game. The controls are solid, even though I crashed a few times. One time I went straight down a huge cliff, and it was shown all in high-def glory.

A small group of people were watching me play and I was getting a bit self-conscious with all of my spectacular crashes and 50 foot jumps, so I decided to let other people play. Then I finally bought the CD that was my reason for going to Best Buy in the first place and left.

Having played a little bit of the Wii and PS3, I’m a bit impressed by them in different ways. The thing that impressed me about the Wii was the tilt control system, which definitely brings a major shift to videogames. I really liked that and can’t to see good games take advantage of it. I was also impressed by the PS3 but more so because of the graphics. The system also has its own tilt-like control system called the Sixaxis, too bad I wasn’t able to try that out.

Having played all of the next generation systems now, I have a better idea of what I will buy. I will most likely end up owning all three systems, but with my dad pretty much telling me flat out that he might be buying me an Xbox 360 for my birthday I will probably focus on the 360 for now. All I know is that fans of each systems will be happy with whatever they buy.

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