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Ben’s Week In Review: January 27

Well, it’s that time of the week again. Here I go on a few of the most current issues in gaming.

PS3 Firmware Update 1.5

Arnold did the report on this, which I couldn’t do considering I don’t have HD. But it appears there was a major visual issue when trying to play PS2 games through a PS3 on a HDTV (these problems aren’t evident on a normal 480p standard definition TV). And thanks to this update, it seems those PS2 games now look a lot better on HD monitors if you’re playing on a PS3, and I realized: the update isn’t a compensation ; it’s not fixing or repairing anything, it’s actually an upgrade . You can’t have this kind of update for the PS2, so if you only have a PS2, you’re stuck trying to find the best way to hook the system up so the games don’t look terrible. By the way, it turns out that component cables and a 16:9 setting on the PS2 helps a great deal, but even so, the PS3 firmware update simply makes the already-great backwards compatibility on the PS3 even better.

The next step is, of course, to get HD myself. Hoping to manage that by later on this summer

Midway’s Gamer’s Day

Few were even aware Midway had such a day – we all know about Sony’s Gamer’s Day in September – but as it turns out, they had plenty of news to go around . And after hearing about the Unreal Tournament 3 , Hour of Victory , and BlackSite: Area 51 , I’ve realized they’re really going gung-ho with the FPSs. And I don’t have a problem with that, considering it’s one of my favorite genres, but I so often don’t equate Midway with UT…and that’s one hell of a franchise. It makes me really look forward to the summer (when all those games are roughly scheduled for), and also makes me realize I need a good fast-action fix every once in a while. When I’m playing such a long RPG like FF XII, I find I start to yearn for something entirely different after a while. And that’s not a bad thing.

Basically, the more we ignore different games, the more we limit ourselves in our gaming experience, and ultimately, the more we limit our enjoyment. That’s what I say. And it appears Midway is going to attempt to give me my FPS fix for when the warm weather rolls around.

PS3 European Launch

So as it turns out, and as I expected, the PS3 launch is on track for Europe . March 23 is the magic date, and I tell ya, you Euro gamers are getting one hell of a great launch lineup. Yeah, you had to wait longer than everyone else, but that list is twice as long as ours, and includes many more great titles (or potentially great titles) . It also seems like Sony shouldn’t have the same massive manufacturing problems they had with the Japanese and North American PS3 launch last year. Therefore, I foresee a mucb better situation for you guys, and I would strongly suggest you take advantage, because it’s right around the time there should be more than a few reasons to own a PS3.

We always have the new console game drought (as outlined in Arnold’s editorial last weekend), and when we start entering April, that drought begins to disappear…as is the case with most all platforms when they’re released right around the holidays the year before. So while I know you’ve been forced to wait, in all honesty, it’s a good thing. I believe the system will sell better, and I believe there are more reasons for consumers to own one at that time, so it’s win-win for both parties.

Weekly Final Fantasy XII Update

Well, I’m at about 80 hours now, and right before the Final Confrontation. Of course, I won’t be actually beating the game for quite a while, considering I have about a gajillion extra things to do. I want to get all the best equipment for my three characters I use all the time (Vaan, Basch, and Ashe), and I want to complete just about all the side-quests. I say “just about” simply because I won’t be taking the time to hunt down all 80 Rare Monsters in the game…I just don’t have the time or motivation to spend a good 20 additional hours doing that, and the rewards really aren’t worth it, anyway. If I didn’t have anything else to play, I’d probably do it because I’m a huge RPG completionist, but that’s really not the case…I’ve got plenty sitting in the game hopper.

I would also like to add one thing- while I’d have to say it’s one of the best Final Fantasies ever – easily in the top two or three – I can’t say it’s even in the top 5 of my most favorite . I just think the story took too long to develop, and while the characters and voice acting were stupendous, I don’t like such heavy political angles to plots. It’s just not my thing. I doubt I’d play the game through again, but I won’t say that’s written in stone…there are plenty of games I’ve said that about in the past, and I’ve now played them multiple times. All in all, though, FF XII is definitely one of the best games of the generation. It is also one of the deepest – if not the deepest – overall RPG I’ve ever played. Period.

Working On The PS3 A "Journey"

That Ninja Theory co-founder, who had that really cool quote about designing games on the PS3 makes perfect sense to me. Sony has never produced a platform that made developers say, “hey, that’s easy.” No, it always takes time. It took time with the PS1, it took time with the PS2, and in all honesty, I enjoy watching the advancements over the years. They’re more significant and obvious than on any other platform, and it’s just a lot of fun to see. We have Resistance: Fall of Man now as a launch title, and if we look at the PS2 launch titles compared to last year’s titles, that system came a long way…so that means Resistance – if history is any indication – can be equated to those PS2 launch titles.

And if you do that, doesn’t that just get your imagination spinning…?

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