PS3 and LittleBigPlanet

So after my rant about the lack of good games on the market, I lucked out and received a PlayStation 3 and LittleBigPlanet as gifts. After spending a day playing around with the system and game, I have some initial reactions. First, what a beautiful machine! The PS3 certainly has a professional look to it. It looks right at home among the other A/V equipment on the shelf. The main system interface is a little polluted, but not difficult to learn and navigate. The controller is going to look immediately familiar to anyone who has play a PlayStation 2, as the buttons and layout are identical. The only difference is the cord - a detachable USB cable. The controller that came with my unit is the new DualShock 3 controller, which has both rumble and the six-axis waggle.

After updating to the latest firmware and signing up for a PSN account, I scheduled a bunch of game demos and movie trailers to download. Here is where I think the PlayStation 3 has a real leg up on the Wii. The Wii Channel is meant to give you a way to view trailers and download demos of some DS games. The PlayStation Network (PSN) is so much better. Not only can you get demos for the PSP and PS3, but you can also get trailers for movies and a slew of great content. Downloads can be performed in the background, unlike the Wii where you must complete the download before doing anything else. I got a couple of trailers for Wall-E (I love that movie) as well as the demos for Mirror's Edge, LEGO Batman, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. The downloads were huge (over 1GB in the case of Star Wars), but it was nice to be able to do other things while they downloaded. I let the controller charge and went outside with the family while it finished the download.

The first demo I played was for Mirror's Edge. This is a FPS game that has you running and jumping much like a free-runner from rooftop to rooftop. This was also must first taste of the six-axis control, which I found to be grossly inferior to the Wii controllers. Really, if this is the best it can be used for, Sony should just save the cost of the parts and remove it from the controller. The biggest problem is that while holding the controller your hands simply can't move in a natural way to "waggle". Tipping forward and back is about the best you can manage. I was glad to see that none of the games I tried depended on this feature.

Graphically, the PS3 is night and day better than the Wii. This wasn't really a surprise, as the Wii has been described as two GameCubes duct taped together. Still, the system really brought out the best in our HD set. The HD trailers I downloaded looked phenomenal, as did the games. We haven't watched a movie on it yet to see how well it upconverts. I suppose the only drawback is that the crispness and brightness of the picture has me thinking about getting a 1080p set for the basement so I can see the machine perform at the highest resolution (our current set is 1080i).

This brings me to LittleBigPlanet. LittleBigPlanet has gotten a ton of media hype over the last few months. It's a simple platformer with gorgeous graphics. So what makes LBP so special? The interactivity and customizability. From the get-go, LBP is giving you the tools and showing you tricks on how to construct a fun level for a platform jumping game. You can either play the levels created by the game designers - there are 50 of them and the few I've seen are a lot of fun, or you can create your own levels. In addition, you can sign on to your PSN account and play levels that others have created, and other players can join you. It opens the door for some fantastic user-created content, and Sony is really pushing folks to come up with interesting levels. I think this will do wonders for the replayability of this game. The family has given it a try, and everyone is enjoying it so far.

If you have a PS3 and a sense of humor and fun, I can definitely recommend picking up LBP. If you are in the market for a Blu-Ray player and also enjoy games, the PlayStation 3 is a solid appliance. If you are in the market for a gaming system....I haven't seen enough to give a firm recommendation there. Between the Wii, the XBox 360, and the PlayStation 3 (not to mention the DS and PSP), you have a lot of choices to make about your personal preferences and style.


Sam said...

FYI: My buddy J says that the current release of Fallout 3 for the PS3 is pretty buggy (Just like the PC release of Fallout 2 if you remember).

Enjoy it! I know that it knocked my socks off the first time I saw a Blue-Ray movie.

Jade Mason