Review by DoraboChan

Reviewed: 01/02/07

Success is all but guaranteed with games like FFXIII on your side.

Like with any deserving book, you ought to read it in its entirety before you should be allowed to denounce it as bad. While the PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3) had a bumpy introduction--its production run, weak set of launch games, and high MSRP--it has a very bright future in store for it from a software point of view.

From a technical standpoint, the PS3 is a huge jump from its predecessor, and comparable to the XBOX 360 in power.

The system is very well built. You can tell Sony built the system with utmost care and craftsmanship. There have been very few reported cases of systems breaking down or malfunctioning. And it should be noted that Sony's warranty for the system is a full one year, not just 90 days.

The system does blow slightly hot air out though. This may raise a red flag, but it's nothing to be worried about so long as you keep the system well ventilated and give it some space. The system runs extremely quiet as well.

The design of the system leaves something to be desired at first glance (especially seeing it only in pictures). The logo is a breakaway from the past cleaner-looking PlayStation brand logos and looks out of place and makes me wish Sony went with a more traditional font. However, after owning the system for a few weeks now, I have come to appreciate its look in the vertical position. I really enjoy the chrome trim. It looks outstanding sitting next to a Sony XBR3 HDTV, which is also black.

The hardware includes a Blu-ray drive, which plays blu-ray games and movies, DVDs, and CDs. Ports for Sony's proprietary memory sticks and other storage are included. You also have USB ports, in which you can connect the controller into or any other supported device. There is a hard disk drive included that lets you save content such as playable demos, trailers, save data from games, videos (MP4s, etc.), music (MP3s, etc.), and so forth. You can also partition the hard drive to install the Yellow Dog Linux OS, which adds more functionality to the PS3.

While it's more or less the same in terms of its looks and buttons, the PS3's wireless SIXAXIS controller, to me, is a step down in terms of functionality and design compared to the DUALSHOCK2 controller. We all know by now about the lack of rumble, but it's just "missing" something in the middle, and looks too naked compared to the PS2 controller. The L2 and R2 triggers are also designed differently and first impressions made me think of the word "flimsy" and "cheap" as to how they are to be pressed down. However, after getting used to pressing those buttons while playing Resistance, it's now become second nature. Still, I do wish the design of the controller had incorporated more in the middle from an aesthetic standpoint.

At least in the middle you do have a PlayStation Family Logo button, which looks nice. When you press and hold it, you can quit any game you are currently in the middle of and return to the XMB. Or you can turn off the system if you like and put it in standby mode! No more walking to the system and turnining it off like what was necessary with the PS2. (You can also turn on the system by pressing the PS Button.)

Since the SIXAXIS controller is wireless, it comes with a USB cable (a standard to mini connection), you can charge the controller by plugging it into the system since the system has USB ports of its own. The battery life on the controller is quite excellent, and lasts for hours and hours. Although the provided cable is very short, so you may want to purchase a longer cable if you want to charge while playing a game from a distance.

PS3's online network is completely free and does not require you to purchase any subscription to use. You can go online straight out of the box if you purchase the 60GB model, so long as you have a wireless router nearby. With the 20GB model, you will need a wired connection, but there is a provided Ethernet cable that can connect to your wifi hub or router.

I did encounter small trouble in getting my online connection setup because I didn't know how to assign an IP address for the PS3, but this only set me back only an hour or two in terms of researching the problem on the Internet and finding the solution. If you're well aware of how your current network operates in your home, you should have very little trouble getting your PS3 online. Thanks to the PS3, I have a much better eye now on how my network is setup.

Now, once you get online you'll probably want to upgrade your firmware out of the box to the latest firmware, which only takes a minute or two. You will then want to register your PLAYSTATION NETWORK (PSN) account. During the registration, you make your own Online ID that is unique to you, and you only, for the entire world to see! This Online ID lets you add fellow PS3 gamers to your friends list and communicate with one another. You can also select an avatar, but as of this writing, you can't use a custom avatar. Your PSN will be your gateway to the PLAYSTATION Store, in which you can download demos of games for your PS3 or PSP, trailers of blu-ray movies, straight to your hard drive.

Of course, the main draw for online is to play with fellow gamers in your favorite games. There is hardly ever lag when playing, although there are times when the network is down and requires maintenance. For example when Sony released the Grand Turismo HD demo for download from the store, it caused traffic and resulted in the network being down for some time.

The set of games for the PS3 in 2006 really only included one standout exclusive game, and that was the FPS Resistance Fall of Man. The others were mostly ports of games released on other consoles, and most of the other exclusives were considered mediocre.

However, to judge a system by only its launch games would be downright unfair. In terms of the future software for the PS3 there are some outstanding games on the horizon. Afrika, Devil May Cry 4, Lair, Heavenly Sword (in the same spirit of God of War), Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots, Tekken 6, and Resident Evil 5 are all coming for the PS3, and most are only coming only for PS3.

I'm more of an RPG fan so I am well versed with what the PS3 has to offer in the future. The PS3 still delivers--for RPGs, there's Final Fantasy XIII, the action RPG Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Makai Kingdom from the strategy RPG masters at Nippon Ichi, a new Shin Megami Tensai game in the works, a Level 5 game by the tentative name of White Knight Story, and a port of the mega-hit Oblivion all to look forward to. There's bound to be much more RPGs to be announced and released on the system in the very near future, so don't be disappointed with just that small few. Final Fantasy XIII will truly be a must-own title and help propel the system to success, as did FFX for PlayStation 2 in 2001.

It's the last day of 2006 as I write this review and I feel quite confident about the success of the PS3, with such an amazing library in store for it. The true test of the console will lie in whether or not the games will be good. Do not be delusional and base your thoughts on whether the system will be "good" or not just on the early going. The price does need to come down to attract the mainstream, which is also another concern. However, not to fret--Sony will lower the price eventually as they have hit a stride in producing PS3s recently, which in turn means lower production costs for them. If you can afford getting the system, it would be a worthy purchase.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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