Review by Ratchet12345
"It's a lot of money, but it's a lot of money well spent."
The PlayStation has started to go downhill lately - the PS1 and PS2 had their problems, but the PSP and PS3 have taken a lot of crap, mainly because they were (and still are to an extent) to expensive - the Nintendo and Microsoft alternatives are far cheaper, and do the same thing, right? Wrong.
When you pay for something, you expect that money to be traded for a good or service WORTH the money you've just traded it for. And all 3 consoles are worth their current price - the Wii is great for parties, but isn't next-gen when it comes to graphics. The Xbox 360 is a great console with some excellent exclusive games and lots of online facilities, but those online facilities have to be paid for month after month, and the PS3 leaves it for dead when it comes to power. And that's what you're paying for when you buy a PS3 - power, in the masses.
The first thing you'll say when you play a game on the PS3 on a decent TV is "Wow". No console or PC can match the PS3s power at this point in time. It's processor has 8 cores - count 'em, 8. Even though 1 is used for the OS and the another is disabled, that still leaves 6 cores for the most realistic gaming experience you can get. The PS3 practically eggs developers on to try and push it's CPU and GPU to the limit, to make it lag, to make a game that will only just fit on the Bluray Disc, and it's been impossible to do those things. It performs like a dream, and you won't find better graphics anywhere else.
Not only this, but the PS3 can take full advantage of the TV it's being displayed on, and the cable it's being connected with, being able to display full HD 1080p resolution video, in games, movies and even in the main menu. If you have a big screen, be prepared for a big shock when you boot the PS3 up (or after you tweak the settings to make it display at 1080p). Even if your TV isn't massive, you will still get high quality images. As long as you have at least a component video cable and an LCD TV, you should be able to get at least 720p, which is still extremely good. However, to maximise the PS3s potential, you need a massive screen with a HDMI cable - almost no loss of image or sound quality there. If you've got the TV and the peripherals, the PS3 will look stunning.
Not having surround sound makes this a bit hard to rate, but even with stereo speakers in your TV, this system sounds great. It's fully compatible with 7.1 surround sound, so if you have a surround sound system and a HDMI cable, you'll hear sound coming out of every one of them (in selected movies and games). Watching Bluray movies with it must be spectacular audio-wise - I've watched DVDs with only 5.1 surround sound, and that sounded amazing, so imagine what Bluray sounds like with 2 more speakers. Again, you will need a really good surround sound system and a HDMI cable to maximise potential.
Sony have decided to stay with their classic Dualshock controller, with the predictable Dualshock 3 now packaged with almost every PS3 (some bundles are packaged with a Sixaxis, which is Dualshock 3 without rumble). There are some new features, but nothing extraordinary - such as the "totally not a rip off of the Xbox 360s Guide Button" PS Button, and new "totally not a rip off of the WiiMotes motion sensitivity" motion sensitivity. Hmmmm, no wonder Sony released their console so late - they were too busy being plagerists!
But still, if you didn't have a problem with the Dualshock or Dualshock 2, then you won't have any problems with the Dualshock 3. And, whether you get a Sixaxis or a Dualshock3, they are both fully wireless and rechargable with the included USB cable, and you could play a full 8 hours wireless and not have to charge it until you're finished, at least in my experience. Also, the controller has crazy range - I've taken the controller to the other side of my house and it still operates the PS3 (but of course, you can't see the TV from that far away, but it's good to know that the system doesn't have to re connect the controller if you do take it far away).
What can't the PS3 do? It plays PS1 game, PS2 games (with some PS3 sets, not with the PAL releases), PS3 games (duh), Bluray movies, DVD movies, CDs, MPEG4 movies, MP3s, displays pictures, has full online gaming and an internet browser, as well as the capability to be controlled through a PSP from the other side of the world.
You may be thinking "Holy crap, I don't need all those things? When will I use all those features?" Well, you might not use them all, but maybe Sony sleeps better thinking that their customers are satisfied thoroughly, and that their products give the consumer everything they need. Sure, you may prefer Firefox or Internet Explorer to the PS3s browser (for me it's due to the lack of keyboard and mouse, although you can use USB and Bluetooth keyboards with it, yet another feature), but it's nice to know it's there - you can even go to Youtube on it, and although it's a bit pixely, Youtube looks pretty good in 1080i full screen.
The PlayStation Network isn't as bad as it seems - it's free, a definite plus to the subscription-based Xbox Live service, and unfortunately, having never used it, I can't compare the 2 networks much, but the PSN has its ups and downs. An up would be the PlayStation Store, similar to the Xbox Live Arcade (I think...), where you can download content for your PS3, some free, some not. Even some full games are avaliable for download via the Store, and it'll cost you less than retail, especially if games cost you $120 AU a piece here in Australia due to import costs and the fact that we're so far away from the US and Europe.
However, the PSN can be a bit unstable - if you have connection problems, be prepared to go nuts. Constant unwanted signing off and connection problems plagued my PS3 for the first couple of days I had it - turned out my configuration options weren't set right. So, a downer that the PSn can be difficult to get working, but an up that some problems can be solved, either by the community or random tinkering with hardware.
GAME LIBRARY: 8/10
The PS3 has its fair share of exclusives - Ratchet and Clank Future, Metal Gear Solid 4, Resistance: Fall of Man to name a few. These games are the gems - they take full advantage of what the PS3 can do. Then, you have the multi-platform games, also available on other or both the Wii and the Xbox 360. These games tend to disappoint compared to the PS3 exclusives, but that's not to say they're bad. For example, Grand Theft Auto IV is an awesome game, but it couldn't take advantage of the PS3s full capabilities because it was also being rleased on the Xbox 360. Metal gear Solid 4, on the other hand, could, because it was only released on the PS3, and it looks freaking awesome.
The downloadable games are also fun and good for a cheap 2-5 hours of fun, but the real stars are the exclusives - they were built for the PS3, and you'll be able to tell when you play them.
The PS3 has caught some pretty bad rap due to its high price, but in this world, you get what you pay for, and the PS3 is no exception. if you're a gamer who looks for great graphics, mind blowing (and perhaps ear destroying) sound, and has a good TV and sound system, then the PS3 is an excellent choice. Even if you alreay have either or both the Wii and the Xbox 360, the PS3 is simply what Sony calls it - a Computer Entertainment System.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/18/08
Game Release: PlayStation 3 Hardware (AU, 03/23/07)
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