Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Home audio about to blow up

The two previous Pirates movies are out on Blu-ray this week to coincide with the third theatrical release. All the reviews I’ve read about the Blu-ray discs are glowing. Top-notch video, audio quality AND tons of bonus features. Couple that with the release of Curse of the Golden Flower next week and 300 in July and you have one happy PS3 owner. Of course Ninja Gaiden Sigma will make me happiest, but we’re just talking movies right now.

A key piece to this movie happiness is the impending release of the new line of receivers from Onkyo. The most affordable is the SR605 which is among the first to decode ALL of the new HD audio formats. MSRP is $599, but most sites list it for $499. I’ve seen some early deals that offered pre-orders at $399 although I can’t find them anymore. Since the PC purchase has been pushed well back to sometime next year, this receiver purchase is a no-brainer. Thank goodness I didn’t bite too early on the earlier Onkyo.

Making equally big noise is the Matrix Trilogy on HD-DVD. I really, really want the original in HD, but I can wait for Blu-ray, whenever that will be. It’s a real shame that the Animatrix is still the same old DVD version. A crime really.

The biggest Blu-ray release for me this year is definitely going to be Blade Runner: The Essentail 25th Anniversary Edition. The flyer included in the Matrix box set teases the HD-DVD version, but the Blu-ray one is supposed to come out on the same day. Blade Runner was the title that made me adopt the original DVD format so quickly and it’s still in my top five movies of all time. The wait for this is going to be painful.

Another Blu-ray surprise is that the PS3 version of Stranglehold will also include the HD version of Hard Boiled. At first I thought this premium extra would raise the price of the $59 game to somewhere around $79-89, but it's only ten bucks more, $69! Wow. I will take the HD version of a movie over achievements every time.

Some new screens surfaced from the recent Square/Enix event in Japan. There were tons of interesting news and photos, but again, this particular pic from the Final Fantasy I remake on PSP has me psyched. I mean, the sprites are just soooo colorful and gorgeous. I really hope to see some more movies of this in action to either completely sell me on it or potentially frighten me away for good with crappy animation.

One last RTS note and we’ll be done with that business for a while. I greatly disliked Age of Empires III and naturally had no interest in the first expansion. The second expansion, The Asian Dynasties, is another story. I can’t ignore a game with my peoples in it. At least I think Japan is in it. It’s out this Fall, which means I probably won’t play it until next year when a new PC (or Mac?!) comes into play to prepare for StarCraft II.

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