One of the amazingly important things to me,
since I acquired an HD-capable 51" widescreen TV, is games that support
High Definition formats. Sure, I can use the TV's "full screen" mode to
widen existing games at the expense of some stretch; this works decently
well for some games, and horridly for others. But there's something just
completely, wonderfully cool about finding games that support a
widescreen aspect out of the box and are progressive scan.
The Gamecube is my second best console in this
regard. Every game on the Gamecube can be displayed in 480p, simply by
holding the "B" button on boot. And many games on the Cube (such as Soul
Calibur 2 and F-Zero GX) have selectable Widescreen format support. But
480p is as high as the Gamecube goes. It's a start, but not as good as
things COULD look. Besides, much as I hate to say it, the Gamecube
doesn't have the games to hold my interest. I'm about to dump a couple
more titles that I find I just don't play any more, which will leave me
with a mere five Gamecube titles left on the shelf. While there
are plenty of cross-console titles for the Gamecube, I'd prefer to play
them on the PS2 or Xbox first based on the control schemes.
The PS2 is the worst. 480i, all the time. Yes,
there exist VGA adapters that work with some titles, but they won't feed
properly to my TV and I really don't feel like trying to make that
happen in any event. Hopefully this will be corrected in the PS3.
In any event, I've come to rely on the
capabilities of the Xbox for my intensive gaming. It's the only console
with both progressive scan and true 5.1 audio support built in (the Cube
uses virtualization modes that don't quite cut it). It's got four
controllers natively, unlike the PS2.
And it can handle the 720p graphics mode, which
I consider the "holy grail" of this generation of games.
Even so, I'm feeling rather let down. So far,
the number of decent titles I've seen with this support is easily in the
mere single digits. Only a few titles come to mind: Tony Hawk (Tony
Hawk's Pro Skater 4, Tony Hawk's Underground, Tony Hawk's Underground
2), X-Men: Legends, Steel Battalion, Enter the Matrix. Soul Calibur 2
has 720p, but not widescreen (in widescreen, it just puts black borders
on the sides and keeps the aspect ratio the same).
I'm fully aware that just about every Xbox
title around supports 480p. And if more of them were like the Dead Or
Alive series or Legacy of Kain: Defiance and supported 480p in
widescreen then I'd be okay with that.
HDTVPub keeps a
database of HDTV-enabled game titles. So does
HDTVArcade. The list
only proves the point; far too few titles support more than the basic
480p mode. It's not that it's not doable, either, or that it's not
desirable. Gamers would have been ecstatic if they'd learned that they
could play Knights of the Old Republic, for instance, in Widescreen or
720p. Sports titles like Outlaw Golf could look even better; most EA
Sports games include a Widescreen option even if they're only in 480p.
Halo2 is only 480p, but they're supporting
Widescreen. With an FPS, I expected this, as they've got to keep that
framerate up and Bungie's pushing the boundaries of what the Xbox can do
already. MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf looks to have the same approach.
Still, a man can dream. Since they're all
pushing 480p as standard now, hopefully the next generation consoles
will default up to 720p for those of us who've invested in a quality
Got Comments? Send 'em to
Michael (at) Glideunderground.com!
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