Tuesday, June 17, 2008

PS3 or not to PS3?

Metal Gear Solid 4 came out last Thursday and so far the critics have been raving. A brief view of metacritic yields such praise as:

"Is it possible to give a game an 11? If so, this would be the game that would merit that score."

"Hideo Kojima set out to move and excite people, to truly make a work of art, and not just a fun videogame. Metal Gear Solid 4 is an accomplishment like no other."

"A true masterpiece that will be revered for years to come like its predecessors, but one that will stand through the tests of time and will still be referred to as perhaps the pinnacle of storytelling in videogames."

All this praise has got me interested. What could be so amazing about this game to get such glowing reviews as this? I mean, "the pinnacle of storytelling in videogames"? Wow. I've never been interested in a Playstation before, but now, jeez, I think I'm ready to plunk down by $400 a give it a chance, just to play this freaking game.

One way to look at the current generation of gaming consoles is in how much potential each console has left. By potential I'm referring to how much uncertainty each console still has in its offerings. The Xbox 360, as far as I can tell, has a fairly certain future. At this point it's put most of it's big offerings onto the table, it doesn't have much of a hand left. Halo 3, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto. After this past holiday season there's really not many surprises in store. Sure we'll have some milking of the Halo franchise, another Gears game, but I don't foresee anything as mega-selling as Halo 3 coming along.

Next up is the Wii. When the Wii was first announced it definitely had the greatest potential. The idea of motion-based controls just blew everyone's minds away. Unfortunately I don't think the Wii ever truly utilized those motion controls to the extent it could have. Instead it seems to have become a haven for mini-games and 'shovelware'. An interesting read on this lack of squandered potential is from MTV's Stephen Totilo with an article a while back called The Case of the Missing DS Drawing Games. Now that the Wii has got it's obligatory Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Kart, and Brawl games out of the way, I just don't see what big name items are left. Maybe another Zelda game before the current cycle is up, but even that's a bit of a guess. As far as I see it, though the Wii might continue to sell like hotcakes, there's really no more interesting games coming out for it.

And now we come to the Playstation 3. Usually I don't side with the PS3, but when it comes to remaining potential, this is where I think it's at. With pretty much nothing worth owning until now, the PS3 is still hiding its hand pretty well. Another Final Fantasy game, which is almost a certainty, hasn't even been announced as far as I know (correct me if I'm wrong). Blu-Ray being the winning format certainly works in Sony's favor, as does the price drop, which is right on the heels of the 360's current price. In terms of games, I think the 360 has the best selection right now, but in terms of potential, I think the PS3 has the most left.

So, is one game worth buying a Playstation 3 for? I'm not sure, that's probably why I'm writing this. The biggest thing that I have against the PS3 at the moment is that they dropped the backwards compatibilty, though the already-sold-out Metal Gear Solid bundle was backwards compatible, and just yesterday Sony said they were shipping more. If they do, I just might be tempted enough to buy me one.

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