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

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.

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