PS3 Slim – Further Impressions

As I have already written, I have a PS3 Slim. Now that I have been able to test it some more, here are further impressions:


But first of all, I have to set some things straight. Yes, the new update brought some improvements I haven’t really acknowledged. So contrary what I wrote previously, you can see how long your buddy was offline. Incredibly, you are even shown status updates in-game while you play. Nevertheless, the interaction with buddies is still in it’s infancy, compared to what you can do on Xbox. Let’s face it, the PS3 just isn’t a good multiplayer system just yet.


Just seen Batman Begins on Blu-Ray. Yes, it’s much more crisp than DVD. On the other hand, the Wow-factor fades away very quickly, somewhat like driving fast on the freeway. You get used to the speed. By the end of the movie, I couldn’t really tell if I was watching DVD or Blu-Ray. But DVD looks better on an HD TV already. And I’ve already seen HD material on my TV. And my TV isn’t Full HD. And it isn’t THAT big. *sigh* Difficult subject.

But of course, now that I have Blu-Ray there is hardly a reason to buy DVDs anymore. What surprised me more about Blu-Ray were the subtle format changes. I don’t know if it’s universal but the Batman Blu-Ray is controlled by a pop-up menu at the bottom of the screen rather than a separate menu screen. On the one hand a bit weird to get used to, on the other hand, a much more streamlined experience. When you insert the Disc, the movie just plays. There are no fancy menus you have to navigate trough first. I thought that was an fascinating evolution.

General Impression of Demos & Games

So now on to the actual games. In general, the downloadable games seem to be of better, more polished quality than XBLA games. But then, I might have just hit the gems. I only downloaded the games I knew were awesome. The choice is pretty limited anyway.

Little Big Planet

This is the only real game I have so far. And I just borrowed it. What can I say. It is very enjoyable. I’m definitively going to play it thoroughly. It even caught the attention of my Girlfriend. We played the first 3 levels in co-op. She loved the customization option of the character (how girly of her!) and also the fact that you can smack each other (how un-girly of her!). The co-op challenges were very enjoyable. However, already the third level gets a bit too difficult. It was difficult for her because she isn’t so experienced. It was difficult for me because collision is not as crisp and defined as in other jump & runs. So she quickly lost interest the first time we had to restart the level because we have died too often. I think a nofail mode like in Lego Star Wars would have been beneficent. I will have to continue alone. But I think I’m going to get my own copy, the Game-of-the-Year-Edition seems like a perfect choice.

Wipeout HD

I’m a sucker for racing games but even though I expected awesome, I was blow away by this. It’s the most polished downloadable game I’ve played. The visuals are amazing. I would go so far as to call it THE game to try first when you just got an HD system. But it’s not only the looks. It also plays great, has a lot of content. It is basically a best-of from both PSP versions combining the strengths of those titles and building upon it.

The only disappointment is the sound. I really enjoy electronic music but most of the songs feel bland and uninspired. Too bad because Wipeout was always known for it’s ambitious soundtrack. I mean, they basically started the career of Fluke! In Wipeout HD there is maybe one song I enjoy, the rest is just background noise. Pity.


Ah yes! I expected A LOT. Maybe that’s the problem. The game is great, no doubt. But sadly, I don’t quite think it is the revolutionary experience I thought it would be. It’s nice to see the experiments with controls but every time I have to make a sharp turn I yearn for an analogue stick. Also, flying downwards is really difficult if you sit low on a couch as I usually do. It’s almost ironic that you mostly want to exactly that: fly low in order to stick to the ground to pick up the flowers.

But more severe is the fact that I expected the game to be more free and explorative. It really isn’t. There is a clear, rigid structure you have to progress trough. Your experience is heavily controlled by requirements for you to fulfill and visible as well as invisible walls. It is very game-y.

That doesn’t mean that the game is bad. It’s also VERY enjoyable and quite easy on the eyes. It’s just different from what I expected. But I’m not quite trough with it yet. So I might change my mind when I’ve been trough the entire experience.

PixelJunk Eden

Fun! It looks cool. It has a simple mechanic. There is some nice beat in the background. There is a good sense of progression. It is a bit repetitive but I guess that’s the point. The controls and movement feel daunting at first but you learn quickly that there really isn’t so much about them. It’s a great game to just get into a flow and zone out jumping around and collecting stuff.

Noby Noby Boy

Um, difficult. It’s very confusing. It’s more a screensaver than a game. People told about the cool things you discover playing with it so I played for half an hour or so but didn’t discover anything. Tried a couple of things but none of them worked or if it worked, it wasn’t really exciting. The controls are really dodgy. So far my impression is rather negative. The intentionally confusing Japanese visuals get on my nerves. On the other hand it’s quite cheap so no big damage there. Maybe I try it some more when I’m in a better mood.

The Last Guy (demo)

That one caught my attention previously and I’m planning to buy it. So far I’ve played only the demo. The idea to go with a Google Maps inspired look sold me even though everything else about the game is quite an eyesore. Music is awful too. Really annoying: super-intrusive tutorial messages that interrupt the game. You need to click each one of them away with a different button. ARGH! But otherwise it’s very cool.

Super Stardust HD (demo)

Very polished look but I don’t see what the fuzz is about.

Killzone 2 (demo)

“But Killzone 1 sucked before so what made you think we wanted more”. Seriously, I was bored playing the demo. I don’t quite know how I got trough. Maybe I fell asleep? Environments are bland. Not only are they boring, the stuff that happens in them is boring too. Random things explode. You are attacked from random openings by random people and have to save other random people. Rinse and repeat. Amazingly, this theme carries over in other aspects of the game too! The sound effects of the guns lack oomph. Feels like you are shooting air-powered toy guns. There is also a lack of feedback if you manage to hit something. Incredible. It’s almost as if they wanted it to be as bland and uninspired as they could. And they surely succeeded. It sets a new benchmark for boring. The only thing that was cool was the look of the interface.

Metal Gear Solid 4 (demo)

This was hilarious. Started the demo. Realized that the demo doesn’t include the audio from codec dialogue. Skipped that. Started instinctively playing it like a shooter. Went trough one room until I came into heavy fire. Tried to engage the cover mechanic but failed for reasons I don’t understand to this day and died. Finally remembered that this is Metal Gear Solid and I’m supposed to be stealth. Because of lack of story and any tutorials on how to use the interface, I decided that there is nothing here for me to see. Left. Will buy the game anyway.

Wet (demo)

Tries very hard to be like a Terentino movie. VERY HARD. But it lacks visual polish, the low polygon count of characters and environment shows. Don’t understand why. When I saw the trailer, I thought it was a polished Wii game. Controls are fine but it’s hard to get used to the fact that the game EXPECTS you to constantly jump and slide in slow-mo when fighting guys. After I did that a couple of times, I found increasingly harder to motivate myself to do it again, especially because the moves look silly if you fail to hit anything. It seems like with proper training, you are supposed to chain various moves together in a Tony Hawkian fashion. The courtyard area at the end with various mulitplyer pickups at elevated positions suggests that. But I never got to that level of control. I think I just might be not cool enough for that game.

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift (demo)

Nice! Looks great, plays great. Turbo/Cooldown mechanic is an excellent idea. Have I mentioned I’m a sucker for racing games? Sometimes it’s hard to figure out where to go but I guess that’s the whole point. Initially I was put off be the fact that I totally failed using the buggy. I thought there was something wrong with the difficulty of the demo until I tried the Monster Truck. Felt much better! Might get this and the prequel but I’m pretty sorted with Wipeout HD right now.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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