I suppose my first play on what is going to be the dominant home console for the next, ooohh, 6 years or so probably deserves some comment.

Not too much though. Playing a current-gen title on the new hardware (the latest Tony Hawk's) only brought home what a straightforward upgrade the PS3 really is. And how arrogant that price point and format choice seems.

(Incidentally, Blu-Ray is not the reason the PS3 costs so much to produce. And some would argue it's actually a pretty good bargain).

Although I will always favour simplicity in front-ends and menu systems, the PS3's was markedly underwhelming in simply mirroring that of the PSP. And although I highly doubt that it is some draconian TRC Sony have dredged up, I was stunned at being forced to watch the Tony Hawk's company logo and intro videos. Even now I have trouble believing that they were unskippable, but that's what they were. (And to top it off, the Tony Hawk's intro runs in mockingly slow motion for Christ's sake).

The motion-sensing seemed a little awkward, but that's to be expected, and I'm no way near as cynical about its inclusion on the Six Axis as others. Incidentally, the controller is comfortably light and has a smooth matte finish unlike its sticky and smeary forebear.

Which cannot be said for the giant tortoise unit itself, several degrees too heavy and bloated to come across as slickly high-tech as it wants to be. After only 40 minutes of play it started heating up like a radiator, and were it not for the surprisingly quiet running noise, I half expected it to cough, splutter and maybe even sweat, like a fat man running a marathon after an all-day buffet binge.

Worst of all were the power consumption reports people told me about. If it is even halfway true that this thing consumes 10-15 times what the PS2 did, then Sony ought to face some kind of environmental crimes tribunal. Especially when it still takes a reach around the back (one reach too many for some gamers) to turn the thing off completely. It makes Nintendo's efforts to keep Wii's power consumption down seem worthy of the fucking Templeton Prize.

Andrew Fletcher
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