Review by judgementring

"More than I asked for"

If HDTV and Blu-ray technology were the standard, the PS3 would be an ideal gaming/dvd console. But HDTV and Blu-ray are not the standards. While we can be certain that HDTV soon will be, it's still debatable if Blu-ray will be as well. It looks that way but it is no way written in stone that it will be. This was even more so when the PS3 was first released. Sony took a big gamble by including a Blu-ray dvd payer and asked all of it's loyal PS2 owners to dig deep into their pockets to take that gamble with them. I myself bought my PS3 with terrible trepidation. Hopefully, it will prove itself to be the console of the future it's touted to be.

Another thing the PS3 includes that could have been optional is a built in 2.5" hard drive. You use to be able to choose between a 20GB or 60GB model, but the 20GB model has been discontinued. As of this date an 80GB model is soon to be released. There are several things you can do with the hard drive which may or may not interest you. If you join the Playstation Network you can download the latest game demos and movie trailers. You can also copy your music CDs to it if you're so inclined. You can even copy a whole game disk to it if you want to. You can connect your digital camera to the PS3 to store your own photo and video library which you can playback as a slideshow. The hard drive is also supposed to cache information so games load faster, but I haven't seen any notable difference.

Online gaming is growing in popularity among console users and the PS3 comes equipped with the hardware and a dedicated website you can use to get started. Besides an ethernet port, the PS3 also provides the ability to connect to the internet wirelessly. The only thing missing is the router. I'm almost surprised one isn't built right into the console since Sony made such an effort to include everything you could possibly need for a full multimedia experience. As a member of the Playstation Network online gaming is free, an admittedly enticing offer for those of us not yet part of the online gaming community. With a PSN account, in addition to online gaming and the ability to download game demos and movie trailers you can also download emulated versions of PS1 games that can also be played on the PSP. I guess that's nice for people who don't have a library of their favorite PS1 games, or who own a PSP, but to me it's just another superfluous feature I have no use for.

Probably the only thing the PS3 really needed to be called a next-gen gaming console is it's robust and powerful new multiprocessor, the Cell Broadband Engine. Without going into esoteric technical detail the thing most gamers can understand is that it is 40 times more powerful than the PS2 processor. Can I hear a big WOW for that? Oh, yeah. Even on my humble 15" standard definition television it's plain to see that the Cell Broadband offers visuals unseen in the best of PS2 games. You will not be disappointed. Another truly next-gen feature the PS3 offers is a bluetooth wireless controller. This thing is a dream. Originally slammed for omitting the popular rumble feature, I think Sony made a wise choice in omitting it. It makes the controller lighter and while the rumble feature is a nice add-on, in the heat of gaming battle you won't even notice it's missing. The important thing is the elimination of a sometimes annoying cord that would intrude upon your focus. That's gone. Good bye and good riddance.

Now, let's move onto something really important. Backward compatibility. On a SDTV (normal television) PS2 and PS1 games look comparable to what they do on their native platforms. On a HDTV (high definition tV) they look like crap. It wasn't until nearly July, 2007 that Sony released a system update that finally addressed the problem and made the games look better, but still not as good as they originally did on their native platforms and a SDTV. Should this be tolerable? Clearly, Sony is expecting us to leave the past behind, ie our favorite PS2 and PS1 games, and march forward with them into the wonderful world of hi-def and blu-ray. The problem is it isn't so wonderful, as of yet, and it's incredibly expensive. It is the future though, and although an expensive proposition Sony has fully prepared us for it, including an HDMI connection to give you the best picture and sound the hi-def revolution can provide.

I wouldn't recommend you get the PS3, but if you're an avid gamer and want to play all the great games that are bound to soon come out, and even now are coming out, on a powerful next gen gaming console dig deep for your last dime and go out and buy one. Who knows? Maybe you'll like all the extras. If so the PS3 will be a godsend for you. For me, I would have been happier, and less poor, if the extras were optional.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/23/07

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