Review by TyphoonGT

"Now a solid competitor in the next-gen console field... if you've been on the border between PS3 and another system... you can't go wrong here!"

Let's not mince words here. The Playstation 3 did not have a stellar launch. It had a few good games, but not enough to justify the very high $600 price. However, that was a year ago. Now, the PS3 is finally catching up with the other two players this gen, the Wii and 360. "No games" is no longer an argument.

The PS3 comes in two flavors right now

80GB - 4 USB ports, WiFi, Bluetooth, flash card readers, PS2 emulation, blu-ray player $500

40GB - 2 USB ports, WiFi, Bluetooth, blu-ray player $400

Other features, such as Ethernet, HDMI, etc come standard on all systems. If you DO NOT care about backwards compatibility (playing PS2 games on your PS3), then the 40GB should definitely suit your needs. Very few people use the card readers, and you can buy a cheap USB hub and have more USB ports.

The PS3 is powered by the very fast and hardy Cell Broadband Engine, better known as Cell. The PS3 also uses a powerful RSX graphics chip and has plenty of memory for even the prettiest of games. Thanks to these components, the PS3 will be able to produce beautiful graphics and physics.

The PS3 is chock-full of features. With a PC, you can use Windows Media Player 11 and enable media sharing. Your PS3 can then detect the PC over the network and stream video, audio, and pictures to itself. Wanna watch a YouTube video? Fire up the web browser and browse away. Don't like the on-screen keyboard? You can plug in most any USB keyboard, the PS3 will detect and work with it. You can use any bluetooth or USB headset with your PS3 for voice chat and in-game communication.

Of course, the PS3 also boasts the Blu-ray player. Blu-ray is one of the two HD hard media formats in the current "format war." The PS3 is no crippled player either; it supports all the functions that equally pricey Blu-ray players have. If you've got an HDTV, and even better, a nice home audio system... you will thoroughly appreciate how much better Blu-ray is than DVD and cable / satellite HDTV. Better, uncompressed sound and video are what make Blu-ray worth it.

The PS3 can also support remote play with a PSP. As of writing, the PS3 with the latest firmware is able to use Remote Play with any PS1 game on the PSP. Whether it's a PS1 game you downloaded from the PSN or a game on a disc, it will work remotely on the PSP.

One of the PS3's attractive features is that it has free online play. There is no fee or subscription for playing games online. The gameplay is surprisingly smooth. There are a few flaws though; in comparison to Xbox Live, the PSN has some flaws. Chiefly, there is no in-game XMB (XrossMediaBar). You cannot send messages to friends or have private voice chats with them in-game. Rumor has it that Sony will be fixing this soon, so one of the few flaws with the PSN will soon be fixed.

Games. Of course. It IS a gaming system after all. When the PS3 launched, there were complaints of the system simply not having enough games to justify its price. Well, now that the PS3 is finally in a decent price range (only $50 more than the 360 Premium, which you'd end up paying for anyways with an Xbox Live subscription), there are also games to come with it.

Some of the good games currently out include: Call of Duty 4, Resistance: Fall of Man, Warhawk, Oblivion, Guitar Hero 3, Rock Band, Uncharted, Ratchet and Clank, Unreal Tournament 3, Orange Box. My personal favorite PSN games (small, cheap games you can buy over the Playstation Store) are flOw and Super Stardust HD.

The PS3 has plenty of great games in its future as well: Haze, Metal Gear Solid 4, Grand Theft Auto 4, Final Fantasy 13, Gran Turismo 5, Battlefield: Bad Company, Devil May Cry 4. There is simply no more logic to the "It has no good games so it's not worth my money" argument.

The PS3 is a great system now that the prices have dropped and more good games have come out. The PS3 has plenty of great features, and a built-in Blu-ray player for the ultimate HD experience. If you're thinking of which next-gen system to get, and you like the games out and coming out for the PS3... you should definitely consider this gem.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/19/07

Game Release: PlayStation 3 (US, 11/17/06)

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