Review by nfuse

"Worth your investment?"

The PlayStation 3 has launched. It's been touted as the ultimate machine by many simply because it contains so many features like its Blu-ray player, PlayStation Store, web browser, Media, etc., but is it worth your money?

Exterior Design: 8/10
The outer shell is very nice and sleek looking. It still looks like a gaming machine, but it has some extra pop. The glossy black finish gives you that expensive look and the chrome trim on the 60gb version looks fantastic. Both the power and eject buttons are touch-sensitive but touch anywhere else and you'll have finger prints all over it. Something you don't have to worry about is the disc tray because there isn't one. Barely insert your disc in the disc loading slot and it will go in.

Now, out of all the next-gen consoles, the PS3 is the heaviest at 11 pounds [12.8" (W) x 3.8" (H) x 10.8" (L)] but don't let that con bother you. You won't be lugging it around everywhere but you'll probably want to place it on a sturdy surface.

In the front of the PS3 you'll find USB slots for your devices and HDD access/WLAN access indicator lights. The 60gb version will also include several memory card readers behind a "door" in the front. The side has a 2.5" serial ATA hard drive slot which may be removable and switched with another hard drive in the future. The back of the PS3 has ports for HDMI output, optical digital audio output (SPDIF), LAN/Ethernet, and PlayStation A/V output for analog audio and video.

Interface: 6/10
When you turn on the PS3, you'll be greeted by waves that expand throughout your television screen and the graphic user interfaces shows up. If you have a PSP, it's nearly the same cross menu bar GUI but with extra functions. The top selection includes users, system settings, photos, music, videos, games, network, and friends. A bad thing about this interface is that after you choose one of the top selections, finding what you want along with many other sub selections could be difficult. Also because of this, the GUI may seem too simple when it isn't.

Media: 8/10
Basically you can view photos, play music from CDs or music players (cannot be protected though), and view movies though DVD (PS3 will not upscale DVD movies), Blu-ray Disc or MPEG1, MPEG2, and MPEG4/h.264 video files from flash, USB, or disc-based media. Something I really enjoyed is that if you transfer the videos to the PS3's hard drive, thumbnails on the video menu are shown as 15-second video clips, rather than just as still images of the first frame of the video. Audio and video output is excellent.

One MAJOR drawback for some folks is that if your HDTV does not support 720p and only 480p/1080i, then the PS3 will downscale its games to 480p. A 720p compatible television is needed to enjoy the PS3 in high definition.

Controller: 6/10
It's just like a PS2 controller with extras and stuff taken out. New in the controller is the addition of motion sensing in six directions (SixAxis): up, down, left, right, forward, and backward. Games could implement this like tilting your controller could move your aircraft in that direction in Warhawk. While it may seem neat, it feels sort of tacked-on and gimmicky but games could definitely use this as an advantage.

Another thing added is the guide button in the center of the controller that is similar to the 360's but when pressed only offers you to return to the PS3's menu, start up or shut down the PS3, check battery power, and sync your controller to the PS3. What's changed is also the L2/R2 buttons which are more like triggers. The cons about the controller is that there is no rumble and because of this, the controllers seems too light and cheap and the batteries cannot be taken out. They must be recharged by connecting it to the console. The controller isn't really the best for first person shooters but it is just fine for other genres.

Launch Games: 2/10
Not many games felt enough merit to justify buying a PS3 at this time besides Resistance: Fall of Man. I'd suggest waiting until PlayStation 3's a readily available and by then better games will start appearing.

Backwards Compatibility: 10/10
The PS3 is near full backwards compatible with PS1 and PS2 games. The only con is that in order to use saves from your PS2 memory card, you'd need to buy a special card reader to transfer them but it's not a big problem if you really want to keep your saves.

Online: 7/10
Similar to Xbox Live, you can have messaging, friends, and online voice during games but voice and video chat will come later. An advantage over the PlayStation Network is that online gaming is free.

Cons about the Network is that you cannot message while you are playing. Unlike the Xbox 360, for that you would need to exit to the PS3 menu and do your messaging there.
The PlayStation Store is equivalent to the 360's marketplace with game content and extras but will offer more like music and such similar to iTunes and also PS1 games to download for your PSP.

In conclusion, the PlayStation 3 needs a lot of time before it shines in the gaming and online department. I highly suggest waiting at least 4-6 months before making a purchase. You may say that's a long time but think about PS3's being available where you can pay the normal price in a store instead of looking towards ebay and think of the games. More than enough games will justify a purchase during that time frame than today.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/27/06, Updated 12/04/06

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