Tag Archive | "PS3"

Tackling Common Playstation 3 Issues

The Sony Playstation 3 is a powerful home console, and its hardware it still among the best that technology can offer despite the fact that it has been out for at least two years. And as one would expect from a system this powerful and complicated, issues and problems are bound to happen. While some are easy to figure out, some will require you to do a little more researching and tweaking. At worst, you might have to send the unit to an authorized repair center. But before you hit the panic button when things are not working as they should be, here are a few things you might want to try out.

If HDMI feed does not work and the video is reset to standard definition, simply hold down the power button until it shuts off. Then, turn it on by holding down the power button for about 5 seconds (a beep will be heard). The great thing about this is that it allows the device to auto-detect the HDMI cable once it boots up again –just be sure that the cables are connected snugly.

For games that freeze and hang up, there is no need to panic or worry. While this is definitely a symptom of something else entirely, the freezing itself with either self-restore (the console will sometimes automatically reboot) or you can do a manual reset. To know the difference, try pressing the PS button on your controller. If the system does not respond and all you see is the frozen game screen, then it is likely that the console will shut itself off. If the XMB appears, it is unlikely that the system will reboot and you will have to hold down the power button until the console shuts off.

Playing your PS2 games; this is not really a problem and is more of a hardware issue since backwards compatibility is not present in all Playstation 3 units. As such, you simply have to check the hardware specs on your device. Also, remember that even if you have backwards compatibility, PS2 games have region coding. Unlike the Blu-Ray PS3 titles (which can be played on any region PS3), you will not be able to play UK PS2 games on your US console –which means that hardcore players will still need to import a PS2 to play OZ.

One major issue that the PS3 currently has is with the system updates. While Sony does bring in plenty of new features with every update, there are many reports of systems that are locking up or freezing due to the OS changes. The problems are more common for users who have swapped out their hard drives for higher capacity ones, which means that if your unit has not been changed at all, you are less likely to have any problems. Naturally, users who have tried to hack their PS3 are most likely to be affected by the new updates. In most cases, this will require users to bring their console to a nearby Sony Center -at which point, it is likely that all files and savegames may be lost.

Of course, it is highly recommended that players back up their data periodically (especially before making a software update). Use the “entire system backup” function to get everything in one sweep. Trophy data cannot be stored on an external drive so be sure to always update your PSN account. If you are a Playstation Plus member and have the 3.60 version update, the cloud storage feature will allow you to individually store locked save files.

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Local Coop: Twice the Fun with Your PS3

We all know how fun it is to play a video game, and thanks to the wonderful power of wireless communications and faster internet connections, we can play with many of our friends and even complete strangers online. But what about the times when friends come over? It is hardly fun to be one sitting down doing nothing aside from watching your friend play. This is where local multi-player games come in, while not that common in many games, there are some pretty outstanding titles that make use of the feature.

While it is not much used, the Playstation 3 supports multiple players (up to 7). And so far, only one game can use the feature: the PSN-only X-Men: Arcade by Capcom. This old school side scrolling beat them up will feature the iconic Marvel Mutants in their early 80’s iterations as they take on the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It is a simple game and is good for about two hours of button mashing action and laughable old-school antics. While it is easy enough to finish with a single player alone, it certainly makes for a decent activity small get-togethers.

Resident Evil 5 is a game that tells you right off the bat that you are not alone. Protagonists Chris and Sheva accompany each other as they take on the Tricell’s Majini and more of Umbrella’s BOWs. On cooperative mode, the game uses a split screen setup that allows you and a friend to strategically take down hordes of zombies (in essence, as they are technically not zombies). You can pass ammunition, heal your partner or even help out when your ally gets tackled by an enemy. Our favorite part is how the two players can link their melee attacks for some devastating damage against certain boss characters. On the highest difficulty of this game, we certainly recommend going at it with a human partner.

Sadly, as much as we loved Capcom’s RE5 system, the same cannot be said about Lost Planet 2. The game beautiful, the gameplay is excellent and the story is quite well written. As much as we would love to enjoy this game with a friend, local coop splits the screen into two very small parts. The result is a screen so small that you would have to squint just to see the details. So unless you’ve got a massive 60 inch HDMI screen, don’t bother with the local coop here. But if you do, prepare for a massively epic adventure.

Gearbox’s Borderlands is certainly ranking high on our multiplayer games list thanks to the fact that popping in and out of multiplayer mode is so easy. Also, the Diablo inspired random-drops system allows players to work together to hunt and trade for better weapons and equipment. While the game itself has a few bugs (particularly with the DLC content), it is a highly enjoyable system that is best experienced when working together with a friend. Besides, once you both get to ride in your own missile-launching desert rovers and start raining explosive death, you’ll be glad to have someone to high-five.

There are plenty of other great FPS titles that support local coop such as Kane and Lynch, Army of Two (and their respective sequels), Lord of the Rings Conquest, Resistance (just the first, the sequel has no story coop), and many others. But split screen is not the only way to play in coop games locally. There are plenty of titles such as Trine, Sacred 2, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Little Big Planet and others that use single screen multiplayer modes. All you really need a good partner who loves to game as much as your do!

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The Top Five Console Defining Exclusives for the Playstation 3

A gaming console’s most defining point is not the brand, price, maker, hardware or any other feature –no matter how impressive any of these may be. The true way to understand and experience the value of a game console is through its exclusive games.

In this day and age, exclusive titles are not as common as one would think. With literally hundreds of game developers out there, having a game exclusively made for a single system would mean having a game that is played best on that one specific console. For the Playstation 3, these are the top five exclusives that will truly show you the value of Sony’s latest generation hardware.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

This is the largest game in existence (sans downloadable content) and makes use of the Dual Layer Blu-Ray disc to its full potential. Creator Hideo Kojima is rumored to have said that he had to cut down on content in order to fit the game into the limitations of what is currently the largest read-only commercial media available. And once you see the game, it is easy to understand what he meant; MGS4 is full of amazing content, rich graphics and fluid animations. With its immersive gameplay, deep storyline and epic movie-like delivery, this game is a worthy medium for Solid Snake’s final chapter.

Heavy Rain

Drama, intrigue, and suspense –these are a great mix of flavors for a movie, and for the first time, executed so well in a video game. Heavy Rain takes storytelling in the game genre to a whole new level, placing you in control of four completely different characters as their lives all converge in a single storyline. Chase after the Origami Killer to save a child in a gameplay that is a combination of mild exploration with heavy focus on quick time events. Heavy Rain features cinematic camerawork, emotionally moving voice-acting and a story pace that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Little Big Planet (Series)

UK game developer Media Molecule has made a great formula: an ever lovable mascot, a cute platforming system and granting players the ability to create anything they want. Little Big Planet’s main game lets you take control of Sackboy as you jump and grab your way through several pre-programmed levels. But the core of the game is with the ability to create your own stages and share them with others. The sequel, LBP2, brings back everything from the original game and further extends the amount of things you can create and expands the level of interactivity that players can have.

Infamous (Series)

If there is one thing that the seventh generation of consoles should be known for, it is in completely redefining the concept of an open world. In Infamous, the level of freedom in gameplay and exploration is taken apart and rebuilt into something completely unreal. Players take control of Cole, who is granted with unique electricity based powers that augments his physical abilities, aside from allowing players the ever-cool power of shooting lightning bolts from their hands. You can run, climb and glide to almost anywhere in the game and getting players moving along is a powerful storyline that makes you feel like you are reading a comic (and the panel style delivery certainly helps).

Uncharted (Series)

3-D platformers are a dime a dozen on the video game world, but only a few truly manage to stand out. For the Playstation 3, Naughty Dog’s “Uncharted” series is a trilogy you would not want to miss. So far, two of the games have already been released and there is plenty of excitement for the third. And that is not a surprise. Protagonist Nathan Drake certainly knows how to play a crowd and the gameplay will keep players constantly on the move and in action. Be it jumping around cliffs or engaging in gunfights, Uncharted is a game series that knows how to keep a great pace -not to mention the fact that the graphics look amazingly good.

Of course, to say that these five titles alone define the PS3 would be misleading. They are simply the cream of the crop. There are plenty of other great titles that can bump this list into a top ten or even a top twenty, including, but not limited to: Gran Turismo 5, Demon Souls, Valkyria Chronicles, Yakuza, Killzone, Resistance and so much more. The Playstation 3 is truly an impressive console with an even more impressive game library, and all you need to do is to start exploring these amazing games.

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The Playstation 3 Really is Everything

No hardcore gamer’s home setup will be complete without the powerful Playstation 3. Sporting a large library of amazing exclusive game titles, the most ergonomic and responsive controllers, a powerful hardware setup that makes it a cost effective alternative to computers and a multitude of side functions that can make it the central hub of your entertainment center.

In size, the Playstation 3 is massive. It takes up plenty of shelf space. While a new slimmer version of the original has been launched, both will still require some ample territory. Fortunately, the console can be made to stand upright –which is a great bonus of those living in tight quarters.

But all that size is not without purpose, beneath that shiny exterior (or cool matte finish if you’re using a slim), is hardware that brings plenty of high end computers to shame even several years after its launch.

The system makes use of Blu-Ray media –which is heavily supported by Sony. This new form of disc storage packs in a massive amount of data: up to 25 GB for standard, 50 GB for dual layer and over a hundred GB for the BDXL types. So far, the largest game for the PS3 is Kojima Production’s Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots which make use of the dual layer disc –which makes the game impossible to port to other consoles. This means that games made specifically for the PS3 can be larger and bigger than ever before as developers now have more space to add content.

And to read that content, the PS3 has the hardware to match; a high speed 3.2 GHz CPU runs the whole device –which is part of a more elaborate system that makes use of eight Synergistic Processing Elements which help out with the various load requirements. NVIDIA and SCEI have worked together for the graphics processor, the RSX reality Synthesizer which enables the PS3 to handle games for output in true 1080p HD video. Of course, only developers truly get to enjoy these stats.

Numbers and specs aside, what makes the Playstation 3 shine for players is not the excellent hardware, but the features and games. First off, the PS3’s Six Axis controller is so well made that no other controller fits the grip of the hand so well. Making use of a directional pad, two shoulder buttons, two shoulder triggers, 4 buttons and two analog sticks, the device looks like it will take a contortionist to manipulate. But once you try it yourself, you will realize how natural it feels and how intuitive the manipulation of the controls can be.

Using the PS3 is a breeze thanks to the cross media browser, better known as the XMB. This custom UI has been designed by Sony to make content a lot easier to access –and it complements the use of the controller. This OS may seem simple, but it has a lot of many useful features from media playback to web browsing to system data and save-file management. Periodic updates to the OS allow Sony to add more features and fix any security issues that may arise.

The PS3 also makes use of the Playstation Network, a free online service that allows Sony to provide system updates, mini-social networking, online games, multiplayer sessions and various downloadable content (such as game add-ons and media). Recently, SCE has launched the Playstation Network Plus program, a paid subscription service that provides PSN+ users with exclusive content, freebies and discounted rates for paid content. A supplement to the PSN network is the Playstation Home. This is a free and optional game that allows a player to create a character and interact with other players using the software and also to obtain various Playstation Home exclusives.

Overall, the PS3 is a system designed primarily with gamers in mind. Many of its games concentrate on single player modes and focus more on delivering deep storylines as opposed to catering to those who prefer multi-player gaming sessions. While there are plenty of PS3 titles that offer offline and online multiplayer features, the system’s game lineup is a testament to its value for real gamers. If you have a passion for gaming and prefer high quality games that deliver in story, graphics and gameplay, then the Playstation 3 is your best bet.

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Rare Finds: A Look at Limited Edition Games for the PS3

There are games, and there are ‘the’ games. While most video game fans would be more than happy to get a regular copy of their favorite titles, die-hard collectors will certainly want to get their hands on some of the more impressive and proportionally pricier limited editions.

These special versions are named in a wide variety: limited editions, collector’s edition, director’s cut, gold edition, game of the year edition. Each release has its own extras and freebies –uniquely chosen by the publisher and developer of the game. To get a better understanding of what these freebies are and what the terms mean, here’s a quick reference guide that will get you started.

Game of the Year: now this is a label that you will see pretty often. These are not limited versions of the game. Instead, they are special re-release versions of an existing game that often includes plenty of valuable extras. DLC such as expansions, in-game items, extra characters, are often packed into the GotY versions of a game. But be wary, some versions are better than others. By default, games with the extra content included within the Blu-Ray disc (such as the Fallout 3 GotY) are more valuable than a GotY edition that comes with a special voucher for downloads (such as the Borderlands GotY edition). Do note that not all games use the GotY tag, some games use their own unique names; such as Dragon Age which uses the term Ultimate Edition.

Collector’s Edition, Limited Edition, Special Edition – now these are all used by various publishers, but they usually mean only one thing: it comes with plenty of extras. These specials usually include a bonus disc which contains an in-game soundtrack or additional media (such as a behind-the-scenes or developer interviews), an art book, posters, cards, and in many instances, very special items. These items can range from vinyl discs (Bioshock 2), to digital Pip-Boy clocks (Fallout 3: Special Edition Amazon bonus), to spiffy looking USB flash drives (Force Unleashed 2).

Speaking of which, there are “DLCs” and “Pre-Order Bonuses”. Now these are not always made part of special editions, but they do add some collectible extras for real fans. As in the example mentioned, ordering from Amazon (and many other stores, such as Gamestop) will often net players some exclusive freebies –and yes, there are some gamers who would order from various stores just to get the exclusive extras. Some require more than just ordering from a specific store, some extras will need you to pre-order (to sign up and pay for a game before it is launched).

The most common form of store-exclusive extras would be DLC or downloadable content. These are software add-ons to games that provide players with additional in-game content as opposed to something you can display on your shelf. For the most part, store exclusives that are physical objects are given more value since some DLC content are only timed exclusives (they may become available for everyone, at a price, much later on), and there is a very active online community for the sale and trading of pre-order bonus PSN redemption codes.

Steelbook editions are games that come in special cases. These metallic cases are manufactured by the Steelbook Company (which also creates special editions for movies, and other disc based media). These cases have a very solid feel and look quite impressive on a display shelf. However, PS3 owners should be aware that the inside clip that holds the manual on some games may be a little brittle, and Steelbook’s two-disc holder makes it hard for people to take the Blu-Ray discs out of the tray (so be wary when a special edition has multiple discs like Capcom’s Dead Rising 2: Zombrex Edition). Still, it is hard to deny that Steelbook editions of games are visually superior to regular releases.

As one might expect, these editions are often priced higher than regular versions of the game, after all, you are going to be paying for so much extra content. The real question is: do you want it? The answer to this question differs a lot from person to person. Some extras are quite practical while some are simply eye-candy for hard core fans. Getting them also means having to line up early in a store or making sure to get a pre-order slot. A good rule of thumb for an average gamer would be to stick only to special versions of your own favorite games, this makes all the effort, time and resources spent acquiring the game will be well spent.

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Live, Play and Get Connected on PSN

Sony’s Playstation Network has been running for quite some time now and if you are a Playstation 3 or Playstation Portable owner who has yet to sign up –now is the time to do so. The Playstation Network, or PSN, hosts a wide array of features and services that many gamers should not be without. Of course, a decent internet connection will be needed. Seeing as the PS3 supports both LAN and WiFi connectivity (the PSP makes use of WiFi exclusively), this should not be much of an issue for a typical household. Aside from being accessible, it is also completely free.

The first big feature of PSN is the Trophies. While many gamers may not admit it, there is a great and guilty pleasure about achieving your first trophy; then later, your first platinum; much later, competing with all of your friends for getting the highest trophy score in the group. So compulsively addicting is the hunt for more trophies that players are encouraged to go out of their comfort zone in genres to try out new ones –just to earn more trophies. It is a win-win situation: developers make more sales, and players learn to play new games.

While we did mention the trophies first, simply summing the use of PSN simply for that would be misleading. PSN is the complete and comprehensive online service for any Playstation owner. First off, the site offers the latest news and information hosted on the official Sony Playstation Blog. Since PSN allows users to create accounts for each local network (US, UK, Japan and Asia), players are able to access unique content to each region.

Downloadable content (also known as DLC) is another major reason why players should access the PS Network. Simple content for the console such as themes, wallpapers, and music are readily available. Game add-ons on the other hand provide an expansion for many existing games. Some will provide users with a new character costume or an additional weapon or in-game item. Other DLC will completely enrich the game to a whole new level –some by literally adding a new level or stage and others by adding so much content that it is practically a game in itself. Not all DLC however, is free. Some of this content will require players to make an online purchase. While the additional cost may be a bother, most of the content offered is well worth the investment.

Of course, social networking is a key feature for PSN users. Players can get connected to other PSN users through a friends list which allows them to send and receive messages to other players. This also helps facilitate online multiplayer game sessions among users. Once added to the friends list, a player may also check and compare their current trophies and latest games played.

For those who have already started using the Playstation Network, this is one extra feature that Sony has recently enabled: the PSN Plus. This is a subscription based service that allows users to get more content from PSN. Paid users will be able to access exclusive PSN+ content and also, discounted rates for all paid DLC –some of the downloadable content are given out for free for Plus subscribers as well.

Our recommendation to any PS3 owner is to make full use of PSN’s services. Even without subscribing to Plus, you will get plenty of important features and additional content. Also, connecting online is the only way to back up those hard earned trophies (choose the sync to server option). The recently opened cloud storage on the other hand is the only way to back up locked save games. With service access already built into the console, there really is no excuse to not sign up.

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