PlayStation 3

I mentioned recently that I was thinking about getting a PlayStation 3 when I saw how cheap they were.  Well, a few weeks ago I did.  And I’m loving it!

I got one of the big fat original ones, because I heard they hold up better than the slim ones.  It was also the cheapest one at $115, but only came with an 80GB hard drive.  I bought a new 500GB WD drive for $30 that I installed instead.  Much like when I soft modded my Wii, I felt like I was upping my nerd cred again while I installed the new drive.

PlayStation 3 games

And I’ve been picking up quite a game library, all on the cheap.  Between Ebay and my local record store, I can’t believe how affordable they are.  Especially the popular games that they made so many copies of.  And you can get Game of the Year and other special editions that include a ton of DLC for almost the same price as the regular game.  Most of the games I’ve gotten have been around the $5-$7 range, and that includes shipping.  Plus, you can still find new copies for quite a few of the games if you don’t like buying used.  So it’s a great time to collect for the PS3.

So far I’ve mainly played Journey, Tony Hawk HD, Daytona USA, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, Call of Duty: World at War and The Last of Us.  I thought Journey was really beautiful, and I knew it was a short game, so that is the first one I’ve finished.  I got it on the collector’s edition disc copy that comes with 5 other games, which ended up being the most expensive game so far, since it was new at $15 plus $2 something for shipping.  But I love unique, artistic games like that and really wanted a hard copy.  And to my surprise the disc actually comes with installers for all the games so you can download them (and some avatars and themes) to your hard drive.

Daytona USA and Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD were kind of nostalgic download purchases.  My friend had the Sega Saturn and I have a lot of fond memories of playing Daytona with him.  And of course singing the theme song, which has now spread to my son.  And this new HD version is really nice.  Everything I loved about the arcade version, plus some extra modes that are kind of fun.  A great game for when you’ve only got a few minutes and want something fun.

The Tony Hawk HD game is fun as well.  I was surprised when I looked it up online and saw how many people trashed it.  I spent a lot of time playing Tony Hawk 2 when it was new and really loved that game.  I also played the 3rd one quite a bit, just not as much as the 2nd.  I didn’t own the first one, but would occasionally play it at my friend’s house.  And I stopped at the 3rd, so it’s funny to hear everyone talk about this HD remake, which is a sort of best of for those 3 games (well, the 3rd is in optional DLC), as a return to the old school form for the franchise.  It’s the only way I’ve ever experienced the franchise.  People mostly complain about the physics and want more content, but I thought it was all good.  Maybe I’m not the most discerning player, but this feels just like the old games to me.  Plus it looks great.

My son is somewhat obsessed with the Call of Duty games.  The series introduced him to the first person shooter, which I think is becoming his favorite genre.  He loves playing Nazi Zombie mode in World at War.  My future brother-in-law first played it with him and he just loved it.  So now we have it at home and he wants to play it all the time.  So far round 7 is our record.

And we just started playing Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, which he also loves.  I really don’t like the fact that you HAVE to be online to play it, and the whole game is basically just playing matches on EA’s servers.  I didn’t realize that was what the game was when I bought it.  I think these online only games are kind of garbage.  Once the company takes down their servers you are just screwed.  You own a useless disc and can never play the game again.  Why in the world couldn’t they put some single player or local multiplayer content on there that you don’t need internet access to play?  It’s really ridiculous.

And while we’re at it, why does this game, and many other PS3 games, not allow for local multiplayer?  I like to play games with people in the room with me, but these games only allow you to play each other online.  How am I supposed to play with friends when they come over?  How can I throw video game parties?  Is it really that hard to add local multiplayer options?  The game itself is pretty fun for what it is.  It seems to be something of a Plants vs. Zombies themed Call of Duty parody, with team death matches and co-op play against computer enemy waves.  Although it is a third person shooter.  Fun stuff for kids or big PvZ fans.  And there still seem to be a lot of people playing it.  So hopefully they’ll keep the damn servers up for a long time.

The Last of Us

I’ve tried a few other games briefly, but the game I’ve put the most time in on is The Last of Us.  According to my last save I’m 63% of the way through the game.  It is just amazing.  I’ve never experienced anything like it.  As someone who has mostly stuck with Nintendo systems and games, this is an entirely new experience.  The graphics are phenomenal, the environments you can explore are just huge, and the storytelling is incredible.  I’m just completely blown away.

Just looking around the world is fun in itself.  There are so many details to take in.  And the combat is really fun too.  I like how you can take so many different approaches to any fight.  I’ve never been much for stealth games, I never could get into the Metal Gear series, but it feels really well done here, and it’s often the way I try to take out enemies.

So while the PS3 may be old news for most of the world after the launch of the PlayStation 4 two years ago, it’s all new to me.  Before I got one I’d only had limited experience playing it at friend’s houses.  And that is definitely no the same thing as owning it.

I really didn’t pay much attention to the PS3 while it was in its heyday.  It was always a high price point and I’d already invested in Nintendo.  I wasn’t really reading or seeing a whole lot about it, so my exposure was really minimal.  So it’s kind of amazing to be able to access it all now.  It feels like I’m finally playing some grown up games and seeing what the industry has evolved into.

I did have an original PlayStation and I still have a PlayStation 2, so I know what Sony’s systems are capable of.  But I never loved those systems the same way I loved my Nintendo systems.  They just had strange things that would annoy me.  Like memory cards.  I hate those.  And they were pretty small, so they’d fill up fast and I could never keep track of what games were on what cards.  And the load times…  Man, those load times would take forever sometimes.  The systems and controllers just felt cheap in comparison.  My Nintendo stuff lasts forever, while I had to replace my PS2 three times when they broke, and I don’t know how many controllers stopped working correctly or would just not work at all.  And this was before I had kids, and I’m not rough on my stuff.  And the games had a lot more glitches than I was used to, sometimes making them unplayable.  So as much as I enjoyed the experience of playing games like Grand Theft Auto 3, Tony Hawk, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Tomb Raider, Ape Escape, Final Fantasy 7,  WWE Smackdown, Sly Cooper and countless others (I have a pretty big collection), I also had the cloud of not loving the system hanging over me.

Luckily I’m not feeling that way about the PS3.  At least not yet.  It seems like a much higher quality than the first two PlayStations.  The controls feel really well built, I haven’t had any games glitching out on me, and the system seems sturdy.  The fan is really loud though.  So hopefully that won’t end up being a problem.

I’ve got a ton of games to play now, but I want to parse them out and give good time to each one, which is something I have a hard time with when I get a lot at once.  So I’m really trying to finish The Last of Us before I dedicate myself to another big game.  I’m thinking next I’ll play the Uncharted series.

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