PLAYSTATION 3: All Hype or the Real Deal
Since I missed out on getting the PLAYSTATION 3 at launch, I figured I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on one until at least March of next year. Since that’s what almost all retailers in my area were telling me, I decided that I would buy another XBox 360 for my new 32” Sony Bravia HDTV. After entering my local GameStop, however, the employees recognized me from when my XBox 360 broke (see Three Red Lights of Death). They asked why I wanted another XBox 360, and I said it’s because I didn’t really want to wait for the PLAYSTATION 3, and that I might just pick up the PS3 later next year. Surprising me, one of the employees told me they had a brand new 60 GB PLAYSTATION 3 sitting in their back room. It had just come in, so they hadn’t had the chance to sell it yet. I walked into the store expecting to settle for the XBox 360, and instead I had a Sony PLAYSTATION 3! Here are my first impressions of Sony’s brand new console, the PLAYSTATION 3!
Although the console itself is shiny, and therefore easy to collect dust, it looks amazing. The console is pretty big, but the pure black (and shiny) color gives it a tough, yet sleek, look. The systems power and eject buttons are completely flat (meaning they don’t come out of the console’s outer shell any) in front of the slot-loading disk drive, and seem to be thermal sensing (touch it with something hard other than your finger and it won’t turn it on, touch your finger to it and it recognizes it). The slot-loading disk drive is very cool because you just put the disk in the slot, and it sucks it in (much like a car stereo). The console is also very, very quiet. I would guess that this puppy is over 75% quieter than the new XBox 360’s (which are supposed to be really quiet). The general appearance of the console is breathtaking, and will fit right in with the rest of your home entertainment systems.
The included photo is a picture of the front of the PLAYSTATION 3, with Tiger Woods PGA '07 laying face down in front. If you look closely, you can see the standard screen that shows when loading games on the PLAYSTATION 3.
When you first turn on the PLAYSTATION 3, you’ll notice the very fluid interface for the console. The menus are very organized (more so than the XBox 360), and they get you where you want to be quickly. When you go to the Video’s section of the interface, the Cell Processor in the PS3 is powerful enough to play all of the videos in the list at the same time (in a thumbnail view). The only bad part about the interface is that it never appears if you have a game in the PS3 when you start the system. This is because the game starts right away when you turn it on. I’m not sure if there is a setting for that on the PS3 (as there is with the XBox 360), but if there is, I can’t find it.
The included photo is a picture of the PS3 interface from the Video section. It takes 5 to 10 seconds per 100 MB of transfer rate for the Cell Processor to save these files from a USB device to the hard drive (which is very fast, songs are almost instantaneous to save). Videos shown are saved to the hard drive (from top to bottom): Blink 182 (music video), Carlos Mencia’s Dee Dee Dee (music video), Red vs. Blue: Getting All Misty (TV show), Girl Next Door (full movie), Story of the Year (music video), Sum 41 (music video), Super Troopers (full movie), Tommy Boy (full movie).
SIXAXIS Controller: 9/10
The SIXAXIS controller designed by Sony is just fun to use. While most launch titles don’t utilize the controller’s motion sensing capabilities, games later on will find interesting ways to use it. The fact that the controller doesn’t have any rumble feed back is not noticeable. I think that the motion sensing in the controller is much, much more important that the rumble feedback from previous Playstation consoles.
The controller itself is wireless, and is a lot lighter than the XBox 360 wireless controller. In comparison, the wireless controller for the PS3 is about 20% lighter than the wired PS2 controller. It’s incredible! The few games that use motion sensing in the controller seem to work very well, albeit a little too sensitive at times. As time goes on, however, game developers will learn how to use this amazing controller, and it will be of much better use when playing games.
The included photo is a front view of the SIXAXIS controller, held in my hand.
The launch titles for this console (like most consoles) are very weak. The only launch titles I have truly enjoyed so far are Resistance: Fall of Man, and Tiger Woods ’07 (which is identical to the version on the XBox 360). The graphics for Resistance: Fall of Man are not as good as Gears of War for the XBox 360, hands down. Resistance does, however, give you a better feel for war, and even plays better than Call of Duty 3. In my mind, that makes it the second best game of the year.
Fortunately for us PS3 owners, there are many great games coming to the console, even though they aren’t here yet. Highly anticipated games coming to the PLAYSTATION 3 include: MotorStorm, Armored Core 4, Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway, Warhawk, Lair, Assassin’s Creed, Killzone, Metal Gear Solid 4, Gran Turismo 5, and the Devil May Cry series.
I think the PLAYSTATION 3 has a HUGE amount of potential. In the long run, I think this console will far surpass both the Nintendo Wii and the XBox 360. I’m sure if that means it will do better in sales, or just in general quality, because that will be determined over time. So far, the console has not had any problems with heat. I have only experienced the console freezing one time, and that was during a load for a demo I had just downloaded. Since then I have played the demo on several occasions and it never froze. Sony did exactly what they said they would do, which was to deliver an amazing platform capable of playing amazing games.