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My PS3 Love Affair, Round Two


So, I had a Playstation 3 for a while. It was a saucy little number touting its sweet little 40 GB hard drive. We had our torrid love affair much to the dismay of my Wii and Xbox 360, but in the end, it wasnít meant to be. After waiting with baited breath for something to make the relationship worthwhile, it all fell apart. The underdeveloped Playstation Network, lack of definitive exclusives and overall burdensome appearance meant we were spending less time together as the days wore on. Eventually, I found myself at a Gamestop trading in the system for a DSi, but that is a different story altogether. Ever since the slim PS3 hit the scene, itís been like seeing an old ex, except now more successful than ever. Sheís lost some weight without losing any of the substance than made her sexy in the first place. Sheís also got new friends for us to share a few fun, laughs and good times. Itís difficult to forget the fun you had as the good times easily gloss over the nights when you sat together, watching a movie, wondering if this was all there ever would be in the relationship. However, it seems now, more than ever, that resistance just may be futile and giving things a second go is inevitable.

After spending so much time with my Wii and Xbox 360, I think itís time I got back in the saddle and gave it a genuine shot. While looks arenít everything, itís definitely nice that the slimmer appearance is a bit easier on the eyes, making it difficult to ignore. On top of that, the idea of a built in wireless connection is more appealing than ever with ethernet cables running to both my Wii and 360 for the sake of a reliable connection. A lack of wires always a plus, especially in a house where things have a tendency to be wanting in the aspects of susceptibility to gravity and structural integrity. Also, after being subjected to the Sixaxis for such an extended duration, the desire for Dualshock controllers simply eclipses it in my mind, but that could be fond memories from my days with the PS2 or my sheer hatred of the toy-like Sixaxis. Aesthetics aside though, itís the games that seem to be doubtlessly pulling me back in with the hooks in deep.

Abstaining from saying that this is the time when the PS3 will descend from the heavens, if it hasnít already, the system has actually begun to pick itself up. While it took Sony long enough, it was ultimately just a matter of time as a steady library of respectable games began to slide their way into waiting hands. Granted, there was a time when the offering on the Playstation 3 were a bit underwhelming, which I still think is somewhat of an understatement. But that has changed quite bloody drastically in the past year. Exclusives in 2008 like LittleBigPlanet were what initially drew me in. Of course, when the system was announced years ago, I had to pick it up in the hopes of playing the latest installment of Metal Gear Solid 4 on it, even if the prospect of Metal Gear Online makes my skin crawl. But then again, the original Metal Gear Solid and Sons of Liberty both lacked a multiplayer component and, for the most part, have stood the test of time relatively well. Throw in the original Uncharted with a dash of Resistance and it becomes clear why I initially fell into a quirky romance with the system in the first place. But if 2008 was a bang, 2009 was a nuclear bomb leveling a metropolis. Uncharted 2 graphically is just way too sexy to ignore and the time I have had with the game has been too little to say the least. I hope Sony realizes that they have a system selling studio in Naughty Dog right now and if they donít, theyíre pretty goddamn stupid. Infamous seemingly stands out against Prototype as the exclusive and while I havenít spent more than twenty minutes with it, I get the distinct impression itís one of those titles I probably should be playing until the credits roll. Toss Killzone 2 and Demon Soulís into the mix and those exclusives alone could keep me busy as the days roll casually into 2010.

Speaking of casual, Iíve been keeping an eye on the Playstation Network and the clusterfuck I remember has seemingly fallen to the wayside in favor of something that strikes me as working rather well. Yes, not everything can be perfect, but with the current PSN contributions, it makes it difficult to remain offline. The entire Pixeljunk series has come such a long way that each episode is proving more and more to be a worthwhile purchase. Additionally, the latest episode, Shooter, gives the distinct impression of being a must-have title. While Fat Princess, Savage Moon and Flower are yet more weights on the hooks pulling me back into owning a Sony product, the ability to own classic Playstation titles abounds. Simply said, I canít say no to Resident Evil and Final Fantasy games. It doesnít matter what system theyíre on. If I see them, odds are itíll wind up in my collection if they havenít already. Moreover, the ability to remote play seamlessly with the PSP as well as being able to download the older titles to the system itself is pretty stellar given how boring my ride on the train downtown can get.

For all things packed in the system, there is also that whole blu-ray thing. Given that not every single movie ever will look batshit crazy awesome in blu-ray, Iím still sitting on the fence about this feature, even when I owned the console previously. Sure, if I really needed blu-ray and my heart ached for it, I could shell out about $200-$300 bucks and get one. But, I donít. Sure, Iron Man and Star Trek look goddamn amazing and the Pixar flicks were practically meant to be watched like that, but if I were to watch a few episodes of South Park or just about any film from the late 1970ís or 1980ís on the system, even in blu-ray, I doubt I would notice any real upgrades of any kind to the quality. But just having it, should I want to watch something on blu-ray is a plus, even if all I ever watch on the thing are DVDs. That is besides games.

Games, of course, bring me to my final note and the original reason I dragged my feet on owning a Playstation 3 in the first place, the lack of backwards compatibility in the console. I sincerely think it is, for lack of better terms, cool that Sony is doing what they can to bring all of their older content, such as PS-X and PS2 titles, to the Playstation Network and make them available for download. I also think that I shouldnít have to pay for content I already own physically, just to have access to it in a format in line with Sonyís digital distribution plans. This has perhaps been my greatest point of contention with owning the system. While being firmly convinced that many first time PS3 owners exists and will only play titles designed for that system, I still want to be able to play my Playstation and Playstation 2 titles from the disc if Iím so fortunate to have them. In the meantime, Iím aware that I can still play them on a Playstation 2 and am thankful to still own one in good working order. But, it still feels like Sony is trying to nickel and dime me for digital backward compatibility in the form of charging me for content theyíve already charged me for once during the course of my teenage years. On the other hand, I do have to concede to the point that by utilizing digital distribution, Sony has effectively made games available to players who may otherwise never had a chance to play or own them if not for the PSN. So, it being a double-edged sword, I suppose itíll always feel like Sony is lurking in the shadows, waiting to spank me and my credit cardís respective bottoms raw. But, then again, love does hurt.

So if there is one thing Iím absolutely not a fan of, itís rekindling things with an ex, but I think itís time I gave reconciliation a shot. The Playstation 3 has come a long way from the struggling, crying infant that really didnít know if it was a blu-ray player, family entertainment system or streamlined game console, but it seems to have tightened those ideas up over time. Sony, being the drunkenly disciplining father finally put the system in its place, telling it to step-up and be a goddamn gaming platform. Sure, PS3 had to surround herself with a few pretty games and definitely had to drop a few pounds, but since then, all the boys have been noticing her again. Regardless of all the flaws though, the better times will always seem to shine through, even if itís memories of times with Playstation 3ís two older sisters. But this is the PS3, the young, hot little number that breaks hearts and leaves you wanting more. And while there was a time the system sure as hell broke my heart, after 2009 came to a close, I was definitely left wanting more.

Authorís note: If anyone has any suggestions as to what I should be playing on the PS3 now or how best to get the most out of it as a system, I would be more that happy to hear it. Thanks.
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About AndrewG009one of us since 1:33 PM on 07.28.2009

"I kind of miss the days when games were judged on their game-playing merit alone. I'm a little concerned about how far we (the game industry) are into the licensed four-page-ad marketing blitz era these days, which may be a natural evolution of the industry. But I'm always worried when we put more emphasis on glitz and production values than on the game. That's a trend that looks good for a while until you realize there's no game industry any more. If we don't have gameplay, we can't really compete with other forms of entertainment because we can't do graphics as good as the movie industry and we can't make sounds as well as the recording industry. All we can do that's special to us is be interactive. So we have to hang on to that and make sure we do a good job." - Sid Meier

Feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions

Xbox LIVE:AndrewGOO9
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