Month: March 2007 (page 1 of 3)

Blocked

Blocked
I wonder why?

GTA IV

Just watched the trailer. Wow. Available at:

http://www.rockstargames.com/IV/

http://www.thegtaplace.com/

GTA IV
Graphics looking very detailed (Flickr set here), much more impressive than I expected. This really does look like a city (New York?) thats alive. Good to see the Rockstar humour is still present – check out some of the billboards. The trailer music reminded me of Matrix. No gameplay details but still…roll on October 16th.

GTA IV

Sky Anytime

Sky’s much lauded new feature Sky Anytime was finally made available to Sky HD customers today with Sky+ boxes to follow soon. Launch the TV Guide and press the red button to access the Sky Anytime content. Downloaded overnight and refreshing daily it will showcase Sky’s ‘best’ content and allow you to access this at anytime. Finally the missing 140GB from my Sky box is being used.

It probably also explains why my HD box fans have been on at 6AM for the last few days. I thought it was a buggy firmware release but this makes more sense. One nice aspect of this content is there are no DOG’s or adverts. While I was initially sceptical it is a nice way of catching some shows that I may have missed, especially some of the one off shows. There’s just too many channels to keep track off. It’s also free which is pretty rare for Sky.

However if I do turn it off I would have loved the option to reclaim the 140GB for my normal recordings. It’s also a bit weird how much SD content is included for Sky HD users. Finally, does it download or record off the channels as the programs are broadcast? I guess that doesn’t really matter. For the moment I’ll keep it enabled and review the content on offer. If it’s offering content outside my normal viewing then it will be worthwhile. If not then at least my box will resume it’s normal quiet life overnight.

PS3 – The Hardware

PS3 StandingSince it’s announcement in 2005 the PS3 has always had a rough ride. It’s too big, it’s too expensive, it’s too late. I’ll start of my thoughts on the PS3 by first looking at the hardware. I’ll then follow up with a post on the software and operating system and finally the games. Phew.

The first thing that strikes you is how shiny the PS3 is. Not just the little silver sections but the whole thing – piano black shiny that is a magnet for dust and fingerprints. Then you notice that there is no ugly power brick that sits out with the console. Everything is contained within the not inconsiderable PS3 case and while the case is bigger than the 360 it’s not overly so as first touted by the media. The design also hides it’s size well in my eyes and looks pretty good. If you add the 360 power brick to the 360 then it’s probably a bit bigger than the PS3. Still, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and some people think it’s butt ugly. I guess it’s one of these love or hate designs.

Annoyingly even though Sony touted the PS3 as ‘true HD’ it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable which is a bit cheap after paying £425. With everything connected up you then plugin the sixaxis controller via the charge cable. For me this is another issue as the cable is really small at only 3ft. While a longer one can be purchased (Maplin sorted me out) it’s another little bit of cost cutting although the 360 didn’t come with any recharging capability – the plug and play kit was a separate purchase so it’s a small gripe really.

Once you switch on the PS3 it will auto detect video settings and then you are in the PS3 front end. One of the more lauded features of the PS3 is 1080p playback. However many launch games do not support 1080p and there are still precious few users who have access to a 1080p screen. If you’ve used a PSP then the interface will be instantly familiar although thats for another post. One of the problems with the 360 is the noise it makes and I was expecting the PS3 to be worse as it uses more power. Surprisingly it’s pretty quiet. After some play it does increase slightly but no where near the noise of the 360 which is down to fan and disk activity. It does generate slightly more heat but nothing thats too alarming if you’ve felt the back of a PC before. It’s quietness is a real strong point and is ideal for movie and music playback unlike the 360.

Another sleek feature is the touch sensitive power and eject buttons. While it’s a gimmick it works really well and adds to the overall finish of the hardware. Disks are loaded via a slot loading mechanism which works like a mac. Put the disk in half way and it’s pulled in by the PS3. The disk when loaded is fairly quiet, impressively quiet compared to the 360. The disks are one of the more contentious features of the PS3. The PS3 is a Blu-Ray player and all games will come on Blu-Ray disks too. This feature undoubtedly added to the delay and cost of the PS3 and only time will tell whether it was worth the wait.
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PS3 Quickies

Day 1 of the PS3 has seen mostly highs, a few lows and enough time to jot down some quick thoughts…

  • The hardware looks fantastic
  • Power brick is integrated and side by side with the 360 it’s not that much bigger
  • It’s oh so quiet compared to the industrial noise coming from the 360
  • It’s hot.
  • Blu-Ray movies look great
  • Flow isn’t up on the store – fools
  • Rumble is a big miss – I guess by Christmas though that will be resolved
  • Stripped down menu system is a joy to use
  • Motorstorm is a great game both offline and on. Again online is pretty quiet as there’s no standard headset.
  • It crashed once during an online game.
  • The lack of an integrated online service like Live is a real step backwards when you try to meet up with friends and play online. Xbox Live is years ahead of this.
  • For first gen games the graphics look really good.
  • The charging cable for the pad is too short. Off to Maplin tomorrow to resolve that little issue.

I’m more impressed than I thought but I’ll play some more with the system before putting up a more extensive post.

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