Tech Guide - War of the Consoles

By David Orton

Since the announcement of the Playstation 3 I knew there would be conflict between the "NEXT generation" consoles. All of them look and sound wicked but the only way to really find out how good they are I decided to buy all three!

The first console I bought was the Nintendo Wii at £179. I was chuffed with the price and knew this would be sold out everywhere quickly! As I removed it from its box I realised its small chassis and childish yet futuristic appearance. It definitely has the WOW factor!

It comes with built in wifi (wireless Internet) but lacks some of the graphical flair of its competitors. The Wii has the main selling point as motion recognition. Think Minority report. It's nothing like that.

Its motion control is thought to add a whole new level to games, and get couch potatoes moving (you can hear them groan at the thought!). In Wii sports – to Play tennis, you swing the wii-mote as a tennis racket! Like you were playing tennis! But without all that running around that you would have to do when playing real tennis. You wouldn't wanna do that!

I received "Wii Sports" with the console and was quite happy y'know. But everything is not as cool as it looks. A few things that peed me off were:

  1. The controller sensors are agitating to configure.
  2. The controller batteries are not rechargeable.
  3. The controllers are motion sensitive, yet not always precise.

Yet I could not base my main opinion on one game, so I purchased Zelda: Twilight Princess. Good game but still has the same problems as I mentioned earlier.

Other things in favour of this console are the “channels”. The two most important being Internet Channel – which you can use to access the Internet, and “Virtual Console Channel” - which allows you to buy and play selected games from many previous consoles. In May Nintendo also launched its foray into on-line gaming to appease those who do that sort of thing.

The second console I purchased was the Xbox 360 Premium for £279.... that's an extra £100 compared to the Wii! Just imagine how many games you can buy with that? From opening the box everything seemed pretty bland, yet looks were not everything. From playing the first game (Gears of War) I noticed very good graphics and relatively fast gameplay.

I was happy with the remote and picture quality. The price was also not too bad I suppose. Unfortunately the price shot up when I decided to take the Xbox on-line... I had to fork out an extra £90 for a HD-DVD player, £80 for a wireless adapter AND THEN £40 just to play the damn thing!! I was appalled at the abuse Playstation got for the price when I found out Xbox's cost more when you buy the minimal components, which the Playstation features at no extra cost. Yet I still was happy with the Xbox generally apart from the features were not very impressive.

Finally I paid £425 for the Playstation 3. Its an extra £146 than the Xbox 360 and a staggering £246 than the Nintendo Wii, which is enough to buy yourself another Wii console!

When I took it out the box I noticed the almost hypnotising glow and reflection of the chassis and the HUGE ventilation access. Yet i didn't let the looks steer my decision. From turning it on I noticed the immense futuristic and advanced factors of the console. I then saw the on screen interface (similar to the PSP) and thought the Playstation was definitely at first look, very cool.

It has a very small catalogue of games, but more are on the way. The current picks seem to be Virtua Fighter – but only if you are a fan of Virtua Fighter as it is not an easy game, Motorstorm and Resistance: Fall of Man. Currently the graphics are not too different from the 360's, but it is expected by many to eventually look much better.

So, what's the verdict?

It depends on what you want. If you want strong graphics and centralised online play then go for the Xbox 360. If you want very strong graphics from a well known brand and have plenty of dosh, go for the Playstation. If you want fun game play that is immersive and allows to kill people without really killing – or play classics Nintendo games such as Mario, Metroid and Zelda. The only place to go is the Wii.