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The PlayStation from a Sega fan's perspective

July 2, 1998

I have been playing Final Fantasy VII for more than 30 hours, so I believe I am qualified to talk about my impressions about the PlayStation by now (I won't reach any conclusions about the game until I win it). My conclusions should be a little different than the ones from most people, since I have been very loyal to Sega (perhaps too loyal) since they released the Master System.

My first impressions after seeing the spells (and after seeing my friend play Tekken 3) is that the PlaysStation does look better than the Saturn. Really. The resolution seems to be a little higher, and even if it isn't, the gourad shading on the characters make the objects appear more detailed. Plus the lighting effects look very cool, and can be implemented very easily on the PlayStation (that's why they have been done almost to death in that platform).

I know what some of you are saying: "But the Saturn can do gourad shading and cool lighting effects. Look at games like Fighting Vipers and Burning Rangers." Sure, the Saturn can do these effects. If you implement them on software. It's up to the individual programmer to do these things if they are willing and able to do it themselves. And you better be a damn good programmer then, because you will have to find a way to make the Saturn processors do it without slowing down the rest of the game. The PlayStation has specialized chips to do these effects, so it can be done more easily.

The second thing I noticed was that the PlayStation controllers really suck. You cannot do diagonals easily. Actually, you can rarely do diagonals even if you try very hard! What were these guys smoking when they were designing these controllers? And I thought that with a game like Final Fantasy VII I wouldn't really need to move diagonally. Ha!

Again, I know what some of you guys are thinking: "You can buy a third party controller that will let you perform diagonals easily." Of course you can. However, most players will never buy these controllers because they are just casual gamers. And even it they do, their first impression will still be less than favorable. Besides, I think is the console manufacturer's responsibility to make sure its own controllers are very good. After all, they make the console.

Even if you are willing to overlook that, let's talk about something that cannot be fixed. The arrangement of the PlayStation's buttons. I played PaRappa the Rapper and I hated it just because of the controls. The premise of the game is very good: it's a "quick-reflex" game where you perform the right moves by pressing the right buttons at the right time. However, I find it much easier to memorize where "A," "B," "C," and "X," "Y," and "Z" are than where "Square," "Circle," "X," and "Triangle" are located. Sure, the names of the buttons are original, but I don't want original, I want practical. I play video games to have fun, not to wrestle with the controller.

Of course, all thoughout every gaming session I have with the PlayStation, I keep praying that the full motion video doesn't start skipping all of a sudden. How much time do I have left before it starts skipping? A week? A month? A year? Did Sony fix that problem with the new PlayStations? They never made a press release acknowledging the problem, you know. Why did Sony, which normally makes excellent hardware, release a video game system that skips?

I like to finish every editorial with a conclusion. Is the PlayStation better than the Saturn? Well, graphically, it definitely is. Controlwise and qualitywise, I'm afraid not, so I have mixed feelings. However, it all boils down to one thing: games. While I love my Saturn software, and I'm not sorry I got a Saturn, let's face it, the Saturn is dead. After Shining Force III and Rayearth, nothing will ever be released for the U.S. Saturn. What am I going to do until RPGs are available in English for the Dreamscast, suck my thumbs? I have to go where the games are, and right now it is the PlayStation.

By the way, the race will not be over once the Dreamcast is released, not by a long shot. Do you think the PlayStation 2 will be inferior, or even equal, to a game system that has been released beforehand? Dream On! (No pun intended).


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