PS3 vs. the Wii
Better late than never I always say. Here's my breakdown of the two new consoles, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii. The story originally ran in last Sunday's paper, along with some quicky reviews of various launch titles. I'll post the reviews tomorrow.
But then who ever said we were fair? Here
$600 gets you one PlayStation 3 complete with a 60GB hard drive, Blu-ray DVD player, Ethernet and USB ports, one wireless controller, built-in Wi-Fi and a Blu-ray copy of
WHAT IT DOES BESIDES GAMES
The PS3 can play Blu-ray and regular DVDs, display digital photos, copy music (though you can
Sleek, black, beveled and large. Stylish, but also rather heavy. It doesn
Much more complicated than it ought to be. The PS3 is supposed to take full advantage of your average HDTV, but it doesn
Anyone who owns a PlayStation Portable will recognize the PS3
The Sixaxis controller (as it
This is where the console shines. Just about every game played on the PS3 looks phenomenal,
You can surf the Internet via the built-in Web browser, though typing in addresses is a hassle. You also can make a friends list, but only for each individual game; there
If you have an HDTV (and why did you even try to get a PS3 unless you did?) you
THE BOTTOM LINE
For $250 you get the Wii console, a “Wii-mote” controller and “nunchuck” attachment, cables, a sensor bar, Wi-Fi Internet access and a copy of the game “Wii Sports.”
WHAT IT DOES BESIDES GAMES
Not much. You can display and manipulate digital pictures by inserting your camera’s memory card into the console (which enables you to then send photos to friends and family). That’s about it. No DVD or CD features to speak of.
Small enough to be unobtrusive, the Wii resembles more of a peripheral PC hard drive than it does a video-game console. Considering how big and clunky the 360 and PS3 are, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Thankfully easy. Just put the sensor bar on top of your TV, plug in the appropriate cables and voila. Getting the controller to recognize the console took a bit of effort on my part, but that’s what manuals are for.
The Wii screen displays an array of different “channels” — one for playing games, a “news channel,” a “weather channel,” etc. The most interesting one is the “Mii Channel,” where you can create amusing little avatars to stand in for you and your friends, which can then show up in games like “Wii Sports” or be sent over to other consoles.
Here’s where the magic happens. The “Wii-mote” is a wireless, motion-sensitive controller that resembles a TV remote. Operating the device is remarkably easy and fun. Playing a tennis game? Just swing the controller like a racket. Is your game character holding a sword? Swing the controller to have him vanquish his enemies.
There’s even a small speaker in the controller so you can hear the crack of the bat. Plus, it vibrates!
For games that require a bit more button-pressing, like the new “Legend of Zelda” game, just plug in the “nunchuk” attachment.
Overall the controls offer a new way of playing games, one where standing and moving about is required, though your arms do get tired rather quickly.
Passable. Wii games look about as good as your average GameCube title. Not bad by any means, but nowhere near the kind of crisp definition that the 360 and PS3 offer.
It’s still being tweaked, but the online Wii store offers a variety of classic games like “Donkey Kong,” “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Super Mario 64” to download and play. You buy the games with Wii points, which you purchase via credit card (1,000 Wii points equals $10; most games run about $5 and up).
You can also download alternate channels, like the aforementioned news and weather channels, though they’re not available yet. A Web browser is also in the works.
If you don’t have a strong wireless signal in your house you’ll need some sort of attachment to directly connect to the Internet (an official Wi-Fi USB adapter is $40). If you have an HDTV and want to take advantage of the nice picture, you’ll have to buy the appropriate cables. Another “Wii-mote” will set you back $60. To play the downloaded games, you’ll need a “Classic Controller” ($60).
By eschewing the shiny graphics arms race and instead attempting to attract the casual gamer with innovative game play, Nintendo has come up with a winner. The Wii is an impressive and, more importantly, fun piece of machinery. Games like “Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,” “ExciteTruck” and “Wii Sports” give you some A-list titles right out of the gate, too. At long last, here’s a console the whole family will want to play.