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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 15:56 GMT
Click reviews the PS3
By Marc Cieslak
Reporter, BBC Click

The PlayStation 3 has finally arrived, in the US and Japan at least; European gamers will have to sob uncontrollably into their hankies until next March, the poor souls.

PS3

Sony clearly do not believe less is more, they have loaded the PS3 with a host of new technology.

While their rivals Nintendo are preparing to launch the back to basics, family friendly Wii, and Microsoft have stuck with tried and tested technology in their next-generation offering, the Xbox 360, Sony has taken what they are calling a future proofed approach to their make or break console.

So should those rivals be worried by the release of the PlayStation 3? Frankly, yes.

The PS3 will be offered in two flavours, the 60GB premium machine and a cheaper 20GB model, which lacks its big brother's wi-fi connectivity.

It uses Blu-ray discs, the latest generation high definition disc format. These discs can store up to 50GB of data, and play movies and games.

There is an HDMI port on the back too, so on a high-def screen the video playback looks pin sharp.

The graphics are understandably fantastic, detailed textures, realistic physics, some mind numbingly complex number crunching is going on under the skin to produce some very pretty pictures.

Under the machine's skin lurks the new Cell processor, a 3.2 GHz chip which has been developed with help from IBM and Toshiba.

And if all that was not enough, the PS3 supports flash memory, SD cards and memory sticks. There are also four ports for USB devices.

When you fire it up you are greeted with a simple menu system which lists what the machine can do, from movie playback to viewing photos, playing games, and then online.

A simple and slick interface which is easy to navigate, it puts Xbox 360's confusing and ugly menu screens to shame.

Slide a game into the machine and you get a sense of what next-generation gaming is so far all about.

The graphics are understandably fantastic, detailed textures, realistic physics, some mind numbingly complex number crunching is going on under the skin to produce some very pretty pictures.

Seeing potential

But it has to be said that, so far, the PS3's games are not looking much better than an Xbox 360's.

In a move which seems to emulate Nintendo's new Wii, Sony has introduced motion sensing technology into their wireless controller, called the Sixaxis.

Simply put, in some games if the player physically moves the controller that movement is echoed on the screen.

If the 360 is the Sherman tank of next-gen gaming then the PS3 is a Ferrari.

All of the games we have seen so far are pre-release and unfinished, and while racing titles like Formula 1 and new shooter Resistance: Fall of Man are graphically impressive none of the games we have seen so far are stunningly original.

From the preview code at least, off road racing title Motorstorm really stands out. Great visuals, and a real sense that you are causing mayhem in off-road buggies, bikes and trucks, this game at least demonstrates the PS3's potential.

The machine is also backwards compatible, so most PS1 and 2 games should play on it; however about 200 old titles stubbornly refuse to load, and Sony are working to fix the problem.

If you own a PSP you will be able to view all of the content stored on the PS3's hard drive remotely via wi-fi. Eventually PSPs will be able to view this content via any wireless hotspot.

'Knockout blow'

After spending some time getting intimate with the PlayStation 3 I am pleasantly surprised.

As you would expect, the games look and play well, and you get a Blu-ray player for under 1,000.

On paper this machine has got a lot of horsepower under the bonnet. The biggest drawback I can see with the PS3 is the price; $599 in the US and 425 in the UK for the 60GB version is a hefty chunk of change.

However, the PS3 is a good machine. If the 360 is the Sherman tank of next-gen gaming then the PS3 is a Ferrari.

It would be impossible for any machine to live up to the hype that Sony has lavished on the PS3, and getting to market first means Microsoft have managed to give Sony a bloody nose, but now that the PS3 has finally arrived, I think it is likely that the PlayStation 3 will eventually deliver a knockout blow to the opposition.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Spencer Kelly and Marc Cieslak go indepth on PS3



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