Tag Archives: Gran Turismo

PlayStations 3 and 4

Because of some of the trailers coming out of E3 (Final Fantasy VII Remake, LEGO Dimensions), and the possibly-coming-soon Final Fantasy XV, I started looking into the relative merits of the PS3 and the PS4.

Some background: I have played consoles for years (Atari 2600, NES, SNES, Master System, Genesis/Mega Drive, PlayStation, Dreamcast). I’m pretty sure the Atari has been in my family for longer than I have. My in-laws have one, too. I’m pretty sure also that my family of origin’s console was new. I have bought three consoles from the above list: PS1, Dreamcast and Mega Drive (possibly in that order), not a-one of them was new. (note to self: get Dreamcast working over here, and introduce kids to Chu Chu Rocket.)

From time to time we (mainly me and Oldest, but including the other two as well, even if the most we can expect from Youngest is chewing the controls) like to have a bash at some of the old games.

But sometimes it seems it would be nice to have a bash at some of the newer games, too.

Like, I have Final Fantasy I, II, and IV-IX on the PS1 (and III on the DS). Despite hearing that the later games in the series suffer a bit of a decline (well, I don’t know about the MMOs, but as they require a subscription I shall happily continue to ignore them), I still would like to give them a go.

I’m not sure I’d want to touch car racing games of the 8-bit era now, though I played quite a few. I play Gran Turismo 2 on the PS1 a bit with the kids. Comparing games like Out Run on the old machines, where, at best, turns and objects you might need to react to show up on screen at about the time you need to react to them, I notice on GT2 scenery being loaded just after it ought to be visible from line-of-sight, at some curve way ahead. GT5 and 6 on the PS3 have improvements on the graphics, of course, but they also support a 3D mode. Interestingly, GT7 on PS4 doesn’t seem to.

(I’ve spotted 3D projectors on Amazon for less than $500. Don’t know if they’re good projectors, but the possibility is rather interesting…)

Also, I’ve played some LEGO games on the DS (Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings, Marvel), and while I could get them for 2-player action on the PC, a console might be easier.

Early models of PS3 are backwards-compatible to PS2 and PS1. PS1 is less important to me, as I have one, but there are a few PS2 titles I would be interested in. Some of them, though (Final Fantasy X and X-2) have PS3 and PS4 versions. And then some don’t.

The backwards-compatible versions are the 20GB, 40GB, 60GB, and some 80GB models. The hard drives can apparently be upgraded so you’re not tied to a specific size. 60GB seemed to be a safer bet than 80GB, so I’ve been keeping my eye on that. Compared to a 40GB the other day (both Used on Amazon), and they didn’t seem that different in price. Gotta watch out for which ones come with cables and controllers, but it looks like you should be up and running for $200 or less (inc. shipping, if you time it right). Can’t get those backwards-compatible models new.

PS4 has no backwards-compatibility. Some titles are available on both PS3 and PS4 (looking at the HD remaster box set of FFX and FFX-2 the other day, the PS4 version was rather more expensive – the pre-release Lego Dimensions Starter Set was the same price for either version). New PS4 costs about $400, Used (“Good” quality, inc shipping, cables and a controller) starts (as I write this) at $305, and going down the list the price rapidly increases.

For bang for the buck, and wider selection of what I want to play (though, to be honest, such playing would be rather occasional), PS3 would be my (sadly hypothetical) priority (the research has been fun, however). But some of these (as far as we know) PS4-only titles are rather enticing…

Games and Processed Meat

I had a couple of spam comments the other day, but yesterday’s post on The Ra Expeditions really tapped into a vein (well, 21 spam comments). A couple of them mentioned “video”, I wonder if the YouTube link triggered it. Well, I’m throwing in a bunch more, today!

I played a couple of old games today: the first one to keep Oldest and Youngest distracted (it only worked for Oldest), and the second because it was easier to switch back and forth between that and dealing with kids, that trying to concentrate on something more productive and dealing with kids.

So the first game was Gran Turismo 2. Youngest loves cars (and trucks, he doesn’t have many words but he distinguishes between those), and Oldest does like playing games.

We were playing a 2-player game in Arcade Mode. This has a reasonable selection of cars, and a limited number of tracks (3 tracks in Road Race, 1 in Rally). You can add more cars by extensively playing in GT Mode, I haven’t played that extensively, and I’m not sure I even have any saves of it.

I won most of the games (as you’d expect), even with having to deal with Youngest (who would occasionally point and say “car”, but most of the time was trying to escape to be with other people).

Oldest almost won a round, running with a 200-odd horsepower car while I ran with the significantly less powerful classic Mini Cooper. Not only was the Mini the car with the absolute least horsepower available (61 IIRC, with a couple of other options clocking in at 63 and maybe 65?), it was also terrible to steer. This of course made Oldest terribly excited, he kept wanting me to use that car again. I did, after trying the other 60-something HP cars first, he won that one.

Funnily enough, after resisting the Rally option the whole time (I forced it on him at the end), he won that round, too. That time, I was running a 400HP car against his 200-something HP car. Thre were just points where my car wanted to do nothing but spin…

I wanted to find the part of the single-player campaign that acted a bit as a tutorial – a big yellow line on the track to help you learn how to take corners is a feature I particularly remember – to help Oldest learn how to play well/beat me. By the time I’d figured out what it was (going for licenses on GT mode), Oldest was done with Gran Turismo for the day.

The Rally track, and Oldest’s favourite Road track, both had “Tahiti Road” in the name. It’s a magical place.

I remember with car racing games on older systems (Commodore 64, Sega MegaDrive) scenery appearing when it was pretty close, you couldn’t see it very far ahead. I noticed that on some corners on GT2 this time round (“oh, this bit of track is visible now…. here it is!”), but thankfully it’s still far enough in the distance that you’re not basing your next few steering moves on it.

The second game is one I’m currently having a “reminiscence run” of, is Star Trek: Birth Of The Federation (download link). I have the CD, it’s nice to not need it.

BOTF is along the lines of the Civilization games. Expand your territory, make the other major races your friends, then squash them like the bugs they are. There are some minor races that you can befriend or conquer.

The opening videos aren’t very inspiring (and weren’t at the time), the “You Won” messages were something of an anti-climax as well, and sometimes the micromanaging (and doing the Exact Same Thing in each new system you colonise) can get tedious, but there’s still a lot going for the game as well.

I like how each race gets a different design for the game screens. That’s a genius move that I haven’t seen elsewhere (and if I’m forgetting a game that does that, then I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen anything that does it to the same extent).

The game has its own screensaver (that I haven’t seen this time round) – each ship in the game rotates around a few times before it gets switched out for the next one. And there are two models for the Borg Cube in that screensaver – on one, one side has a smiley face. Gotta love programmers having fun.

I like the Wormhole mechanic, the Outpost and Starbase mechanic, and the terraforming mechanic.

The space battles with the different tactics are pretty cool, don’t think I’ve seen that sort of thing executed in turn-based strategy anywhere else, and it’s not exactly easy to pull off in real-time strategy, either.

The Open Hailing Frequencies option never seems to be a good choice, sad to say.

And there’s something incredibly satisfying about having your 9 Romulan Warbird IIs decloaking and blasting the Borg Cube to pieces.

Fun times, and memory lane. Don’t have a lot of time for this now.

And I think I’m about out of time this evening for dealing with a Poison Headcrab