Playstation 3 Review

Playstation 3 Review

It’s black, it’s shiny, it’s a​ dust magnet and it​ is​ a​ console gaming system that offers so much more than merely the ability to​ play the state-of-the-art games.

Sony’s catchphrase for the PlayStation 3 is​ PLAY B3YOND (aka Beyond) – and what the PS3 offers is​ a​ device that is​ capable of​ playing the latest PS 1080p games, surfing the Web, play blu-ray videos and so much more.

But first things first …

The local phone company tech showed up at​ the door to​ install DSL. Cool. Problem was the wireless modem was connected to​ the wall outlet upstairs and the PS3 was in​ the master bedroom (hooked up to​ the HDTV) downstairs. Look in​ the manual … Select Network Settings … Select Internet Connection Settings … Select “Wireless” and then press the X button. a​ firmware download later, the machine was surfing the Web, using a​ Logitech USB keyboard.

There were a​ couple of​ retail games included in​ the box – Genji: Days of​ the Blade and Resistance: Fall of​ Man. Genji was tried – nope, need to​ upgrade the firmware to​ the next iteration (from 1.00 to​ 1.02). Again, not a​ problem. Resistance comes packaged with the firmware upgrade and other games down the line will do the same thing (think PC and getting the latest iteration of​ DirectX with the game).

Sony ushers in​ its version of​ the next-gen console system with the launch of​ the PS3 on November 17. Pre-sales indicate the machine will sell out. The first 500,000 units shipped carried the blu-ray release of​ Talladega Nights: The Legend of​ Ricky Bobby. Sony wants those who buy the console to​ see what blu-ray can do. Words don’t do a​ blu-ray justice. it​ could be mentioned that blu-ray disks hold much more information than DVDs (DVDs can hold nine gigs of​ information while blu-ray disks can hold 50 gigs), and in​ the case of​ movies come the closest yet to​ a​ visual experience that is​ amazing. Imagine all that on a​ disk.


What’s in​ the box …

The PS3 comes in​ two models, the lower-priced ($499) 20-gigabyte playstation 3 hard drive and the ($599) 60-gig playstation 3 hard drive. There are differences, aside from the hard-drive size between the two.

The 60-gig machine uses a​ Cell Broadband Engine and the main memory is​ 256-meg XDR RAM with 256-megs of​ GDDR3 VRAM. The hard drive is​ a​ 2.5” Serial ATA and the main input/output devices include a​ memory stick, SD and CompactFlash disks as​ well as​ four USB 2.0 ports. The 20-gig machine only has the USB ports, not the other input/output device ports. The hard drive size and the input/output configurations are the differences between the two machines.

The machine will support screen sizes of​ 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p with the ability to​ connect either through HDMI cables (not included) or​ the composite analog cables (5 connections – three for video and two audio channels). Both machines have the digital audio capabilities and the Blu-ray/DVD/CD (read-only) disc drives.

Blu-ray and Cell Broadband Engine …

The Cell Broadband Engine was developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba and is​ purported to​ deliver up to​ 10 times the processing speed of​ a​ typical home computer. The hype on the engine states that developers should be able to​ start approximating actual intelligence in​ games, rather than artificial intelligence, meaning the enemies should get a​ lot smarter. The engine is​ capable of​ performing 200 billion calculations per second and has a​ clock speed of​ 3.2 GHz.

The blu-ray disc offers next-gen media capabilities that can render high-definition graphical power to​ a​ receiver that is​ also HD. it​ can support 1080p, which is​ 1,080 lines of​ progressive scan – the highest resolution available. Blu-ray discs can carry more than five times the amount of​ data of​ a​ DVD. DVDs can hold up to​ 9 gigs of​ information but the blu-ray disc can hold 50 gigs – which translates, in​ gaming terms, into titles that will be much bigger in​ terms of​ detail or​ game scope. Blu-ray also supports 7.1 surround sound.


Sixaxis controller …

No more forced feedback from the controller – that has been replaced by gyroscopes in​ the peripheral that will enable players (if supported by the game) to​ use controller movement to​ affect the game. Let’s face it​ – we have all tried to​ take corners in​ a​ racing game by tilting the controller in​ the direction we wanted to​ turn. With the sixaxis controller, that will be possible. Menus will be able to​ be accessed by tilting the controller, or​ flight controls will rely on the angle that the controller is​ at. in​ every other way, this is​ the PS control device. However, only one sixaxis controller comes in​ the box.

PlayStation Network …

Signing up is​ fast and free. You can connect to​ the Internet via the CAT5 port or​ the wireless network card. Each account is​ broken into two parts – the Master account and the secondary account. On the network you can download demos, keep track of​ a​ friends, send messages, and chart game progress. There is​ an​ option to​ input billing information (credit card) so that you can buy games and such through the network and load them onto the hard drive of​ the machine.

Using the machine …

The PS3 has a​ crossbar menu on the boot screen. This is​ exactly the same as​ the PSP. You can store video, audio, downloads, browse the Internet, message friends, access the PlayStation store (where there are free downloads and downloads you would pay for as​ well), or​ launch a​ movie or​ game.

The disc simply slides into the front of​ the machine, a​ la a​ CD player in​ your car, and the buttons to​ eject it, or​ turn off the machine take only a​ whisper of​ a​ touch. Using the controller, which has a​ lithium battery in​ it​ and once charged can go wireless, the PS3 owner can quit the game by pressing the PS logo, holding it​ down and waiting for the prompts. The power supply is​ built into the casing, and while I puts out some heat, it​ does not feel as​ hot as​ the 360 external power supply.

Navigating the crossbar menus is​ a​ breeze and hooking up the PlayStation Network is​ also easy.

Anticipations and expectations ran high for the next-generation console systems and Sony has delivered. This machine is​ amazing.

Blu-ray, Cell Broadband, storage, Web access, sixaxis controller and high-def graphical output all add up to​ a​ machine that is​ delicious to​ look at​ and delightful to​ play on, or​ just to​ watch movies on. The machine is​ easy to​ use, but the cover is​ a​ dust magnet and will need to​ be tended to​ (wait, isn’t that a​ ‘con?’ Nope, the sleek machine design is​ a​ definite ‘pro.’)

There is​ a​ marked difference in​ storage and input/output between the 20-gig and 60-gig machine. Everything else is​ the same, but with only a​ price point difference of​ $100, it​ seems silly to​ not buy the bigger machine. Clever marketing is​ not entirely too friendly in​ asking consumers to​ cough up that extra $100 for more machine. Sony did tout this as​ backward compatible with all PSOne and PS2 titles, but – while not confirmed – there does seem to​ be some titles that will not run on the machine.

Verdict: 9.7
The games, both as​ launch titles and those coming in​ the next few months, will be amazing and will take console gaming into the next generation. The controls are easily accessed and used – both on the PS sixaxis controller and the crossbar navigational system. This machine has so much that using it​ merely as​ a​ gaming device seems rather silly. No, it​ won’t be a​ primary Web surfing tool (and it​ is​ recommended you get a​ USB keyboard for that anyway) but the PlayStation Network is​ a​ definite bonus. Blu-ray provides wondrous graphical output and the machine does play CDs as​ well as​ old PS titles (maybe not all, but still the majority). With online downloads, or​ games with the latest firmware support, this is​ a​ machine built to​ play, to​ use with entertainment media and to​ go online with.

Go ahead, spend the extra $100 for the bigger machine, you may be glad you did so – especially if​ you plan to​ store photos and such on the machine. About the only thing that would have made this better would be a​ R/W disc.

Sony has said that this is​ the foundation for the next 10 years. Maybe it​ is, maybe technology will outgrow it​ sooner, but one thing is​ certain – this machine fits today’s entertainment needs wonderfully.

Playstation 3 Review

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