PlayStation 3 Hands-On: Report Card
What with all the hype surrounding the powerful Cell processor, the PS3 certainly had a lot to prove. But we believe this is a five or six-year process, so weíre reluctant to actually grade this category at launch. When we examine the history of the PlayStation consoles, we see a very large visual difference in first-year and fifth-year games; the likes of Smugglers Run, X-Squad, and Evergrace hardly compare to Gran Turismo 4, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Final Fantasy XII. Therefore, we have to take a look at the beginning, and then see where there is to go.
With the complex PS3 architecture, itís a no-brainer that developers are once again going to need some time to get familiar with this machine. On the flip side, these same developers are much more comfortable with the Xbox 360 hardware, which has also been out for over a year already. Therefore, if we consider that PlayStations have always experienced significant growth over their life spans, we can imagine where games will be in a few years. Right now, thereís nothing on the PS3 that is graphically superior to the best examples on Xbox 360 or PC, but games like Resistance are excellent starting points.
Bottom line? If PS3 and Xbox 360 games look almost identical now, and PlayStations historically grow a great deal in terms of visuals, we believe the PS3 will have the easy graphical edge in a few years time. The potential is there, without a shadow of a doubt.
Itís light as a feather, and we donít really miss the rumble at all. The analogs can take some getting used to, and donít feel quite as stable as the 360 controllerís analog, but the design is great. We do consider the Dual Shock to be one of the best Ė if not the best Ė controller design of all time, so a repeat of that style isnít exactly a bad thing. However, weíre not the biggest fan of those new R2/L2 buttons/triggers, and thatís just because we donít quite understand their purpose. What wouldíve been the harm in either choosing trigger or button? How exactly does this bizarre blend benefit the gamer?
But all in all, we like it a lot. The motion sensitivity, tested several times by now, works quite well, and the typical smoothness and ease of control we all remember from the DS is evident. It may not be the absolute best controller for all genres, but itís great for just about any game you might want to play. We just wish they couldíve picked their poison when it comes to R2/L2.
PlayStation 3 Overall
For the most part, we are pleased with Sonyís new machine. Clearly, some aspects of the system and its launch were woefully lackluster, like the launch title assortment, console availability on launch day, and the very unrealized PSP connectivity. But thereís a whole lot of good sprinkled throughout: the backwards compatibility is wonderful, the Network is working well, there are a ton of cool options and multimedia features to mess around with, HD and Blu-Ray is pretty as pretty can be, and Resistance: Fall of Man really is that good.
We think thereís a lot of fun to be had in the future with the PS3, and despite not having a whole lot of games to play right now, weíre very aware of the coming soon list. With names like Devil May Cry, Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy and Virtua Fighter on the horizon, we canít help but be psyched. We have to consider both the launch and the future when we look at the PS3, so remember that when viewing the following overall grade. Also, weíre grading its potential, which is the more important score, anyway. What we have now certainly matters, but with a brand new console, itís mostly about one thing- tomorrow.
Potential Grade: A-
11/25/2006 Ben Dutka