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November 30, 2009 4:32 PM   Subscribe

Just got a PS3, very exciting but confusing. Need advice on hookup, whether to ditch our DVD player, games you recommend, and best games for 2 people.

Re the hookup, we have a leased DVR and aren't sure about best option to connect the PS3 as our TV has only one HDMI port.
posted by bearwife to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I just use a component video cable to connect my PS3 and it works great. It might be a good option if you don't have a spare HDMI input.

Don't ditch your DVD player. The PS3 can't play DVDs from regions outside the one it was sold in (so it won't play any movies you've bought in another country), whereas a lot of DVD players have some sort of multiregion capability. Furthermore, a standalone player will generally use a lot less power if all you're doing is watching a movie.

What games you get will depend a lot on what genres and gaming styles you prefer - maybe you could go a little more in-depth on those? If you're looking for good casual, multiplayer games the Singstar and Buzz! series both have pretty solid reputations. You could also get Gran Turismo 5 Prologue for racing or something like Tekken 6, Street Fighter IV or BlazBlue for head to head fighting.
posted by fearthehat at 4:44 PM on November 30, 2009

Definitely ditch the DVD player. Your PS3 upscaled DVDs so that they look better than they would on an ordinary DVD player, so it's really a foregone conclusion, as far as I'm concerned. Add in the fact that it plays Blurays, and you really don't need that DVR anymore. If you're still looking to record TV shows though, spend a bit of extra money on a PlayTV attachment.

You'll also want to optimise your display settings. The best display setting video guide for PS3 I've found is here, at IGN. This will tell you what you need to do.

Games I reccommend; It really depends on what you're looking to play. If you like First Person Shooters, you want Resistance and Resistance 2, Killzone 2 and Modern Warfare 2.

Other games that are not FPSers that I also can reccommend are Uncharted 1, Uncharted 2 and Street Fighter IV. Games to download from the Playstation Network are Flower and Braid.

Good two player games are any of the Guitar Hero games (or Rockband if that's your flavour) and Little Big Planet.

MeMail me if you have any other questions.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:47 PM on November 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh, and also Super Stardust HD, which you can get from the Playstation Network, is pretty cool and it's two players, so that's good too.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:54 PM on November 30, 2009

Uh, we don't know enough to know what games we like best. We did enjoy the Thief and Thief 2 games, which were gripping and immersive, and we've had fun at arcades teaming up to shoot at things in Jurassic Park/Star Wars inspired games. Something involving thought and deduction would be fun to do together. We totally suck at car racing simulations and we prefer to watch/listen to guitar heroes than pretend to be one.
posted by bearwife at 4:59 PM on November 30, 2009

"We did enjoy the Thief and Thief 2 games..."
posted by bearwife at 10:59 AM on December 1

Then I very much recommend Assassins Creed. I've not played Assassins Creed 2 but I'm told it's even better than the first, so consider picking up that as well.

Bioshock, another FPS, is also a very immersive and well told story. I can reccommend that as well.

"We've had fun at arcades teaming up to shoot at things in Jurassic Park/Star Wars inspired games"
posted by bearwife at 10:59 AM on December 1

Then yeah, Super Stardust HD will be great for you.

"Something involving thought and deduction would be fun to do together."
posted by bearwife at 10:59 AM on December 1

I mentioned it before, but Little Big Planet definitely falls into this category. There's a free demo on the Playstation Network, so consider downloading that before you buy the full thing. Also, Bejeweled is on the PSN and so is Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, which are games that require thought and can be played in 2 player mode.

By the way, not on games but regarding hookup and whether or not to ditch your DVR, you're aware that you can have your PS3 wirelessly stream content from your PC to watch on your TV, right? If not, and your PC has a wireless connection (or if you have a wireless router), definitely connect the PS3 over WiFi so you can have a wireless media server. Using a program like TVersity or SimpleCentre will encode videos on the fly, so make sure you get one of these too.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:09 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

You can buy a box called an HDMI switcher (reviews here) that allows you to connect multiple devices to to a single HDMI port. You will want to connect the PS3 to the TV via HDMI because Blu-Ray movies will only display 1080p when connected via HDMI (I think).

You can download tons of free demos from the Playstation Store...if you are like me and don't actually have a lot of time to play you can actually fill your free time with demos.

Bioshock, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (1 and 2), The Orange Box, and Rock Band are best sellers.

Also, the Lego games are designed for kids but are still a lot of fun for adults.
posted by kenliu at 6:02 PM on November 30, 2009

Little Big Planet is definitely a great multiplayer game.
posted by kenliu at 6:04 PM on November 30, 2009

Do not get Assassin's Creed. It is balls. Here is the entire game:

Sneak from point A to point B in the city. Climb to the top of a building. Jump off--an eagle cries!--you land. Maybe you have to knife someone.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Seriously. It's all you do. Oh, and the travel between cities. Imagine all the travelling you do in the Zelda games. Now make it longer and more boring.

I cannot recommend Little Big Planet enough. The straight-up game is awesome as-is (but I suggest you get the Game Of The Year [GOTY]) edition, as it contains as a bonus 22 of the best user-created levels), but it really expands when you get into online play, creating your own levels, and playing levels created by other users. Seriously. Get this game. It is unreal, how good it is. There is also a vibrant Internet presence--I suggest LBPCentral, several members of which just spent a couple of months creating some incredibly in-depth tutorials on basic (and complex) logic gates and how to use them in your created levels.

Bioshock, as mentioned above, is spectacular. As someone with a hardon for Art Deco/Art Nouveau design cues, I spent much of the game drooling at the visuals. The gameplay itself is also excellent, the story is immersive, and you get doled out just enough of it to want more. Single player, though.

Prince of Persia is glorious, with this intriguingly retro cel-trace animation. Lots of jumping and zooming through the air and beating up the odd badguy. Also singleplayer.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:23 PM on November 30, 2009

Modern Warfare is great, though I haven't played the second one. Arkham Asylum is a fantastic game (though the fighting system is maybe a touch too easy, as you essentially mash one button), as is Bioshock.

For two people, definitely get Little Big Planet, as it has parts that can only be played by two people. The collaboration is a big part of the fun. I think Katamari Damashi would be an automatic pick for the PS3. Also, Bomberman Ultra is available from the PSN, it's great for two, even better for four.

I bought a new DVD player about a month before we ended up getting an HDtv and buying a PS3 on points. Since we moved, I haven't even hooked up the DVD player. The PS3 upscales, it plays many, though not all, video files, music files, and what not. It can be hooked up over a network to a NAS drive, which only makes life easier (no more physically transferring files).
posted by Ghidorah at 7:24 PM on November 30, 2009

It doesn't have coop on the same machine, but I heavily, heavily recommend Uncharted 2. It's all sorts of awesome.

Do not get Assassin's Creed. It is balls.

Ditto this. I haven't tried it but the sequel supposedly fixes all the awful things about the first one. I've also read that the ps3 version is the worst one of the lot, but if you haven't other options, it may still be worth a look.
posted by juv3nal at 7:49 PM on November 30, 2009

Get rid of the standalone player. The PS3 is the best disk-playing device I've ever owned. It will upsample your DVDs beautifully, and they will look better on your TV than the in-TV upsampling.

Get the HDMI switcher mentioned above. Or, alternatively, attach the PVR via component video, and switch the PS3 onto the HDMI port. But I'd get the switch (don't buy it at BestBuy; the last time I checked, they only had a rip-off unit).

As for games... if you don't know what genres you like, that can be a bit of an issue.

Ratchet and Clank is a fun platformer. Fallout 3 is an excellent first/second-person RPG (post-apocalyptic). So is Oblivion (Tolkien-style fantasy). Modern Warfare 1 and 2 are both quite good, but really focused on online multiplayer--their single-player campaigns are very short. Demon's Souls is fucking spectacular, but exceedingly, punishingly, frustratingly difficult--not tedious, but definitely the kind of game where you can get stuck quite early. Batman: Arkham Asylum is astounding--the best Batman game ever. Similarly, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the best Wolverine game ever. I loved inFAMOUS--it's exactly what a sandbox game should be. Similarly, Saints Row 2 is what Grand Theft Auto should have been--every time GTA decided "more realistic", SR2 said, "more fun!". Star Wars: The Force Unleashed got lukewarm reviews for not meeting its hype, but is actually really goddamn fun to play. And as the price as dropped to something reasonable for what you get, I highly recommend Mirror's Edge.

If you'll excuse the self-link, I review most those in considerable detail over at Hate the Hype.
posted by Netzapper at 10:24 PM on November 30, 2009

A lot of good advice here. Just a few addons:

Modern Warfare 2, unlike the first COD Modern Warfare, has a 2-person Co-op mode. Sure, it's action-packed, but you and your partner will have to figure out strategies to beat the missions, particularly if you play on the hardest difficulty setting. There are also a few missions that are more stealth-based. My buddy and I had a HELL of a great time playing the "Extraction" mission, crawling through a snowy forest taking down patrols with perfectly synchronized sniper shots. Besides that, you can actually have a lot of fun playing MW2's multiplayer, and simply taking turns from round to round, strategizing your equipment loadouts and cheering/heckling each other. My cousin and I spent an entire summer doing that in the previous COD.

Killzone 2 is fine, but it doesn't do anything that MW2 doesn't, and MW2 has that sweet sweet co-op.

Little Big Planet is really good, and having two players adds both fun and frustration to the mix. I personally burned out on it, but not before I beat the entire game plus the MGS4 levels.

For single player, must agree on Batman: Arkham Asylum. I'm only about 40% through it, but it's definitely a great game. Fallout 3 is also good, but the graphics on the PS3 look like arse compared to the 360 and PC.

It may be old news, but GTA IV is an incredible game with a stunningly realized New York City. These games are an unbelievable experience, and you'd be getting it at a pretty good price by now.

Lastly, a Rock Band or Guitar Hero setup might be a good idea. You should check, but one set of instruments should allow you to play any and all of the major titles in either series.

HDMI switchers work, but can be a slight PITA. Still, you definitely want the PS3 running through HDMI. a 1080p Blu Ray is a thing to behold.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 10:46 PM on November 30, 2009

Don't ditch the DVD player, just yet.

Along with the regions issue, there's also the matter of fan noise. When playing DVDs, many PS3 models--certainly mine--increase the fan noise to the point where it's audible and distracting. This is because the upscaler is working harder and generating heat that needs to be dissipated.

The new, "slim" PS3s may have solved this problem, but many of the older machines are plagued with it. You should hang on to your DVD player until you're certain your PS3's fan doesn't switch into high gear for DVDs.

For me, the fan noise that kicks in when upscaling DVDs makes the PS3 unusable as a DVD player. (It's a great device in every other respect).
posted by Gordion Knott at 3:00 AM on December 1, 2009

You are all incredibly helpful. I started trying to figure out the best answer, but it isn't possible. I will start looking online today for HDMI switcher (am reluctant to take DVR off HDMI access as it controls our TV and we love HD channels, esp for nature shows.) I promise to hang onto our DVD player too, at least until we are positive the PS3 can handle our DVDs without too much fan noise.

If anyone feels like talking about it, learning more about what we an do with the PS3 wireless connectivity would be groovy gravy. Still not quire sure how to use it as a media center, or what you mean by saying "it can be hooked up over a network to a NAS drive."
posted by bearwife at 12:54 PM on December 1, 2009

My roommate has been trying to get the PS3 to work with streaming material over our wireless connection. The results have reminded me of a dial up connection. So while you can connect it wirelessly, I'd hesitate to do anything more than move files onto the PS3. On the other hand, it can play movies that are avi files, etc.
posted by Hactar at 6:10 PM on December 1, 2009

I'll throw this into the Assassin's Creed discussion: yes, the first one gets boring after about three or four missions. Yes, the sequel fixes basically every issue with the first one. Only thing is that the the story is a little involved, so I don't recommend playing it without at least reading up on the story in the first game.
posted by andrewcilento at 8:11 PM on December 1, 2009

Still not quire sure how to use it as a media center, or what you mean by saying "it can be hooked up over a network to a NAS drive."

I just got a PS3 a few days ago, and have only toyed with it for an hour or two, but for example you can set up windows media player 11 to act as a media server on your network. Once you set it up the ps3 discovers the media server and you can browse its content. There are apparently some problems with large libraries (like my 40+gb of mp3s) that I encountered, but some of the other solutions like TVersity supposedly solve this.
posted by Big_B at 11:16 AM on December 3, 2009

Re: Hactar and streaming wireless - I've had no problems getting mine to stream wireless from my mac (using MediaLink) - I *think* that's on the 802.11n connection (it's there, cant' remember if hte ps3 supports it). DIVX streaming - no problem. h.264 1080p streaming - nope, those had to be copied to the ps3.
posted by TravellingDen at 5:37 AM on December 29, 2009

Thanks again to everyone for all the suggestions. My beloved hasn't joined me yet in a game, but I am having a lot of fun with my SQ gift of Dragon Age. Re the media center, I totally hate Windows Media Player 11, which again refused to cooperate with me on communicating with the PS3, so downloaded TVersity Media Server -- works great.
posted by bearwife at 3:05 PM on December 30, 2009

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