Can you believe I first saw a PS3 in action.. TODAY?

As crazy as it sounds, yes, it’s true that it took me this long to get to where I could see one in action.

It was at the local Costco, hooked up to a flatscreen HDTV, with some kid playing … looked like Dynasty Warriors or a DW clone to me.

And I’m here to tell you that other than the subtlest of differences, it looked to me like a PS2 or Dreamcast game. In fact, I had to ask the kid playing it if it was a PS2 game.

If you tell me there’s all kinds of neat effects going on, I believe you. If you tell me there’s several orders of magnitude more polygons in every scene, yeah, I believe you there, too. If you tell me about the great lighting models, I’ll believe every word of it.

And then I’ll tell you that none of that shit matters, because it still looks like a video game. Slightly more refined, but no more real or anything.

I was expecting to see an incremental improvement; I wasn’t expecting to see subtle improvement. All of those subtleties combined together are less than the sum of their parts; the most expensive console of its generation shouldn’t look subtly better than its $99 predecessor. It should look dramatically better. It should have knocked me on my ass with “holy fuck how amazing is that!”


The PS3 doesn’t have any games that make the system worth buying at its ridiculous price, but it also doesn’t have any games that look anywhere near as bad as PS2 games. Are you sure your vision works? Were you taking any drugs at the time?

But on a somewhat related note, I still don’t know a single person in real life that owns a PS3, which has to be some kind of a record. I even knew people who had 3DOs and Neo-Geos within a few months of their launches.

Bad in what sense?

I started gaming with Space Invaders. Monochrome blocky things with two frames of animation. I also have a young son who likes Pixar films. So with Pong on one end and the trailer for Ratatouille on the other, my measuring stick for graphics is rather broad.

From this perspective, every console of this generation and the one preceding it comprise one large blob well beyond the PS1 and N64, but way, way behind Luxo, Jr.

The figures still look plastic. They still move the same way. The background artwork has the same limits.

See, that’s the thing… the PS2 didn’t have the horsepower to properly support the drastic overuse of specular highlighting, so things didn’t look nearly as plastic-y on that system. The plastic look is progress!

Specular highlighting/normal mapping doesn’t look like plastic when you have a competent art team.

Check out the vids in the Lair thread that I posted yesterday. Comes out in July and looks better then anything else out there.

There’s something about Lair that I don’t find visually appealing though I have a hard time putting a finger on it. It has great draw distance, and really nice water, but the fire effects are pretty blah (and in a game where you play a dragon that’s a shame) and things seem muddy in some way. It’s like they are trying to cram too much detail in their texturing maybe, the wings on the dragons look terrible IMO. I’ve been trying to find out if it uses voxels, because I get a very voxels vibe from it too.

Try to see one while it’s playing Motorstorm. That’s what all of the demo kiosks in my area always have loaded, and with good reason. It looks amazing.

Have you watched the Lair video that was released? “better than anything else”? I don’t think you’ve played GoW yet. The video for Lair didn’t look close to as good as the screenshots.

Lair probably has a lot of filters, layers, whatever to add before the game ships…I hope, because it didn’t look visually all that impressive to me either in the recent vids.

Motorstorm is the most complex looking title on the system for now, though even that didn’t strike me as being far beyond something the 360 could output. VF5 looks solid, but the loadtimes take adjustment. Resistance has a greater scale than GoW, but it also is definately a several notches below visually.

If not for the Backwards compatability debacle, I bought in far too early.

Count me in on the unimpressed with Lair camp. Honestly for all the graphic tricks that have been implemented in this generation better animation and interpolation seems to be the thing that’s needed to brings these worlds to life, not better use of the shaders.

I’m looking forward to getting my XBox 360 at some point, but when you play GOW2 it becomes clear just how little the power is being used for anything but a better paint job on the existing dynamics.

Up until each generation of graphic advances has allowed the developers to realize new ideas and environments. It was clear to everyone what we be improved between the PS1 and PS2 in terms of not only how things looked, but how they played.

With this generation being able to exploit the advantages of the platform is purely a function of budget. So I do think we’ll see some experiences that we couldn’t get on the previous generation, but not as many as we did last time. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

The most impressive thing about Lair is when you do a 180 degree turn in the air, and you see the world with so much detail revolve around you. I agree the ground environment doesn’t look that good. I also dislike the dragon design.

However there is no Dynasty Worriers style game in the US yet you were probably watching a PS2 DW game on the PS3.

If it was indeed the Dynasty Warriors-ish game you saw (it’s not DW, but I think there’s a demo for a similar game used on those kiosks), then yeah. Somehow those guys have managed to make all their 360 and PS3 games look like PS2 games. Don’t use them as any sort of watermark on how good or bad the consoles’ games look. Say what you want about how the “next-gen” consoles aren’t moving games lightyears forward or whatnot, but the graphics are most certainly way ahead of the previous generation systems.

With the exception of CES, I’ve still not seen a wii in person or in a store.

It’s worth adding that the reason I haven’t seen a PS3 is because I haven’t gone to a game store since it was released, not because I’ve been and they’ve been sold out or anything.

Lair looks like Ico, but busier.

Of course it looks somewhat better than Ico; the problem is that it’s not so much better that I see a reason to abandon the PS2… for any price, much less $600. I guess if it were a $50-$100 upgrade with good enough backwards compatibility (“Turn in your PS2, get a PS3 for $99!”) it might be worth it, if I had HDTV … which I don’t.

Get a blog


For me it’s that the shadows don’t look like they match up, nor are they harsh enough for the time of day pictured. Also, what’s up with the white dots all over the city? Or the funky dragon model? Or the stupid flaming catapult shots fired at flying dragons, that miss and then burn the city down.

I’d be surprised if something so detailed would fit on a PS2 though.

Well, I think it’s unfair to judge the quality of a console by its release games. (I’m guessing the game you saw was Genji.) Release titles are notorious for looking like shit. The best games for the 360 release were what? PDZ and Kameo? PDZ everyone agrees looked like shit, and Kameo was slightly better, but yah still shit. The Wii surprised everyone with Zelda, but other than that Wii games were highly cartoonish or stylized.

Really, in my opinion, consoles don’t get underway until around a year after its release. The 360 has been kicking ass lately and I wouldn’t be surprised if the PS3 does the same around the end of this year. I’m holding out until Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid come out. If those games don’t make me orgasm with sweet bliss and/or drop their exclusivity for the 360 there really isn’t any reason to buy the PS3.

But yah, my original point was that complaining is pretty useless until the developers start getting their acts together around a year after release. Anyone can agree that PS2 games looked leagues better as time went on yah?

If you are a fan of Ico and SotC, you would want the next game to run on a more powerful platform. PS2 could hardly give a decent framerate for the world SotC was trying to create.

Of course it looks somewhat better than Ico; the problem is that it’s not so much better that I see a reason to abandon the PS2… for any price, much less $600. I guess if it were a $50-$100 upgrade with good enough backwards compatibility (“Turn in your PS2, get a PS3 for $99!”) it might be worth it, if I had HDTV … which I don’t.

That’s what Nintendo is doing with the Wii. Too bad they are still charging new console tax for the GameCube+. There are about 70% house hold in American still don’t have a HDTV so you are not alone.