Pros: Tons of features, amazing graphics, incredibly versatile.
Cons: Trying to get one.
Getting One is Half the Fun
As a rule, people hate to wait in line for anything. If we have to wait ten minutes in line at the bank, its a major hardship. Fifteen minutes for a cashier at the supermarket, and were livid. Yet, there we were, waiting for over 40 hours at the local Wal-Mart Supercenter to get a Playstation 3.
Of course, we had already waited in lines at other stores to get a pre-order weeks before, only to be disappointed each time. This was going to be the most highly hyped product since the X-Box 360, of course, and everybody wanted one.
But frustration turned to elation when we arrived at Wally Word around 9AM on the Wednesday morning before the Friday 12:01 AM release of the game console to be told that there were 12 units available, and since we were the fifth to arrive, we would be guaranteed one should we wait until H-Hour, D-Day.
Truth be told, I would not have waited all that long myself, except for the fact that my son wanted one so very badly. And when they slapped that Playstation 3 wrist band on him to signify his status as one of the honored few who would be getting one, well, there was no turning back.
We did stagger our stay a bit. The good manager of Wal-Mart was kind enough to bring benches and chairs, and a friendly camaraderie was struck up by the 12 parties waiting for the PS3. Many of them were headed straight home to put theirs on Ebay when they got home, but not us: we wanted ours to keep. (By the way, the Ebay nonsense continues as I type. Once console is going for $99,999,999.00 , undoubtedly someone playing games, but the average price is still around $3000 right now).
Finally, the moment of truth arrived, and we got our game. After being escorted out to our cars by police officers, we safely made our way home with our treasure.
What is a PS3 Anyway? (Or, Is $599 Too Much to Pay For a Game?)
The PS3 comes with a hefty sticker price of $599. Really, though, when you consider what youre getting for it, thats not bad at all. Obviously, many will buy this because its the very next level in gaming consoles. But when you come right down to it, the PS3 has evolved into a computer. What else do you call something that includes USB ports, a 60 GB hard drive, a CD/DVD/Blu Ray DVD drive, internet connectivity, and more? Actually, the PS3 exceeds the capabilities of some multimedia PCs that cost much, much more.
Consider the features Sony quotes:
CPU: Cell Broadband Engine
Main Memory: 256MB XDR Main RAM
Embedded VRAM: 256MB GDDR3 VRAM
Hard Drive Disk: 2.5 Serial ATA (60 GB HDD)
Main Input/Output: USB 2.0 (x4), MemoryStick/SD/CompactFlash
Ethernet: 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T
Bluetooth: 2.0 (EDR), Wireless Controller (up to 7)
Wireless Communication: IEEE 802.11 b/g (w/60 GB HDD PS3)
Screen Size: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
HDMI: HDMI out (x1/HDMI)
Analog: AV MUTLI OUT x1
Digital Audio: DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL x1)
Disc Drive: Blu-ray/DVD/CD (read-only)
This thing is screaming with technology-just take a look at the long trail of logos at the bottom back of the box and youll see what I mean. Then too, since it functions as a Blu Ray DVD player, the price looks even better, since many stand alone Blu ray players currently cost more than the PS3. The package even includes the full length feature film Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby on a Blu-Ray DVD.
Out of the Box and Setting it Up!
We were surprised at first how heavy the PS3 is. It has a hefty weight indeed, again more akin to a PC than a game console. At about twice the size of the old PS2, it will take up a little more space as well. Not having purchased any high definition cables as of yet, we resorted to the standard connections cables that were included. We plugged these into the RCA connectors of our 19 high definition LCD TV and were ready to go.
Or were we? Before even being able to use our new toy, we had to upgrade the operating system from version 1.0 to 1.2. This took about ten minutes, and we were a little annoyed this wasnt done at the factory. Be very careful not to interrupt this process, by the way, since Sony warns that the unit may refuse to boot back up if you do.
Finally, we were ready to play. Admittedly, we didnt get the full benefit of the 1080i resolution (our TV is only capable of 780i max). Still, the results were astounding. The picture was crisp and clean, with amazingly sharp graphics and sound. The cut scenes were absolutely beautiful, with incredibly life-like animations that, aside from a touch of awkward choppiness, begin to approach the line of genuine human articulation).
We tested the unit with two games, Resistance: The Fall of Man and Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Both were not only visually impressive with incredibly detailed play environments, but featured lightning-fast motion, realistic action. My son, the video game guru, hailed the games as light-years beyond the old PS2 and a cut above the X-Box 360. I cant attest to the latter comparison as far as game play as concerned, though the Blu-ray player certainly gives the PS3 a huge built-in advantage.
The 60GB hard drive is obviously a big improvement over old-style memory cards, allowing just about all the game saves you could ever need and faster data loading and performance. We did not get to try any online play, but we did get connected to our wireless network very easily. The PS3 identified all available wirelkess connections, and we simply chose ours, then selected the secure connection type (WEP in our case)and entered the WEP code. As soon as the PS3 connected to the network, the system began to download another update and upgraded yet again to version 1.1.
We have heard reports of possible overheating issues, and sure enough the back of our console did get very hot while we played. Be sure to allow plenty of ventilation when setting this up.
The controllers will look very familiar to established PS2 veterans: theyre virtually the same, though my son lamented the absence of the old rumble effects. Only one comes with the game; an additional controller set us back a whopping $50. Thye are wireless, though, and function flawlessly from any spot in the room you're playing in-they don't have to be pointed directly at the console to function. Navigating the system upon bootup will be familiar, too, with a similar menu to the PS2.
Backward compatibility with PS2 games is another nice feature, though we understand that that is a feature that will not yet work without a soon-to-be-released patch from Sony. Still, this console is one that will certainly grow with you and may just become the heart of your gaming/home entertainment system.
Johnny gives the PS3 five thumbs up, and after playing with it for a while, I do too. Exhausted from a 40-hour wait with little sleep, he still found the energy to play the thing into the wee hours when we got home with it. Its truly a multi-function little marvel that the whole family can enjoy. Is it worth shelling out $2000 to $3000 on Ebay for? Probably not, unless youve got money to burn. But at its normal retail price, its well worth the money, especially if youre one of those who just have to have those trendy new gadgets.
The Playstation 2 motto used to be Live in your world, play in ours. With the Playstation 3, you might just find yourself living in their world, too.