Right, off we go into the monotone world of menus on the Playstation 3 then!
If you’ve ever used a PSP then the menu interface will likely be familiar, based on the ‘XMB’ or Cross Media Bar system you navigate horizontally and then select sub-sections vertically to reach your desired option. It’s pretty basic, uninspired and almost computer ‘geeky’ in my eyes, not intuitive at all and user friendly, unlike the Xbox menu screens we’ve come to know and love!
All the main console settings and system properties are accessed via this root/tree system and confirmations are made via your controller as you’d expect. Here’s the basic boring home screen on the PS3 menu:-
Once you have some online PS3 friends you can add them in via the relevant menu selection and send/receive messages via this same sub menu. Again nowhere near as friendly as the full featured friends list on the Xbox 360. It was at this point I wondered if anyone from Sony had really studied the ‘Live’ system at all and realised what it is that made it so simple and user friendly?
Presumably given time you will be able to obtain different avatars (Gamer picture) but at present you are only given a basic selection to choose from and that’s your lot. The same applies with themes, I couldn’t see any obvious way to customise your background but it’s probably there somewhere as when you select a game in the Blu-ray drive the background changes to a relevant game screenshot or image.
Next stop is the Sony Playstation Store, or what we would know better as the ‘Marketplace’. First off you have to register an account and create your online ‘tag’ much as you do for Xbox Live. This is accessed via the Store menu option as shown: –
Right then, on with the show! I’ve waffled about the machine for a while now let’s start to have a quick run down on a the games I’ve played!
First up, Ridge Racer 7 which is better known to us as Ridge Racer 6. They are basically the same game, it’s just the PS3 version trying to say it’s more current and therefore that equals better.
Now I’m not the world’s biggest console racer fan, not by a long chalk – just check my gamer card or games played list for confirmation there – so I only whacked this in for a quick 5 minutes (I will come back to it later) but on the whole from what I recall of playing the Xbox RR6 (briefly) it doesn’t look like some great techinical and graphical advance that everybody was proclaiming.
In fact if anything it seems to just look ‘brighter’. This is manifested by a lack of shadow and shading/lighting effects on the surroundings as you whizz past at silly speeds. Now don’t get me wrong here, in terms of speed, frame rate and graphical finesse it is up there with the best but it seems to be lacking something and I wasn’t surprised to find I am not the only one who has noticed the shortcomings of the PS3 version!
The level of texture quality just isn’t up to that of the Xbox 360 incarnation along with a lack of lighting/shading effects which is what I had seemingly noticed when I played!
Ridge Racer 7 then is not enough reason to rush out and buy your PS3 console just yet, will the other titles fair any better?