Cheapskate Gaming is a series about gaming on a budget.
Having the perspective of spending 3 weeks of this summer without my beloved ones, my mind immediately ran wild, fantasizing about my backlog and past gaming wishes that never came to fruition. As I'm a sucker for good value for money I thought now's the perfect time to get myself caught up on the PlayStation front. And no, I'm not talking a spanking new PS4, but the rather elderly PS3 instead. I set out to search local web auctions and finally acquired a PS3 Slim (not the SuperSlim) 160GB including one DualShock3 controller and 4 random games for 55$. I've since managed to monetize one of those games getting 20$ back, so the whole deal is an insane value if you think about it. There's nothing wrong with the console and it works without a hitch. If you're on a tight budget and looking for the AAA experience and don't mind it being last gen triple A experience, I suggest you take the dive cause the prices of hardware and games are insanely low, as PS4 is the hype right now and everybody is getting rid of their old systems to compensate the cost of a new console.
So far I picked up Uncharted 2, The Last of Us, Red Dead Redemption, both GT5 and GT6 and Catherine as well as Castlevania: SotN for 5$ a piece; Yakuza 3, 4, 5 for a total of 25$ and, as my original plan was to play through the whole MGS series, I bought the Legacy Collection new and sealed for 25$ too. So all in all for 140$ I got a last gen console with 17 games of which 10 are AAA titles from the previous generation. Not a bad value if you ask me, not bad at all. The process of getting all that required setting up PSN accounts for the NA as well as the EU region and buying used games here and there since people tend to sell them at ridiculously low prices here (EU).
The other thing I should mention is the hardware preparation. First thing I got home I tore the sucker down to the bone, cleaned it of any dust and re-applied thermal paste on the CPU and GPU (getting rid of the old paste residue using some alcohol). It's a common thing - when the thermal paste dries out 'cause of years of abuse, heat dissipation becomes a problem and the console crashes on any mention of playing games and this can eventually lead to CPU/GPU damage. So beware, there is some dabbling involved if you wanna be safe, but if you're at all handy, if you've ever build a PC it shouldn't be a major issue, just take your time, be patient and try documenting the process of tearing it down for yourself as putting it back together requires doing it in a specific order. Look it up on the interwebs. After some maintenance my PS3 runs like a charm with no hiccups whatsoever.
So, what was my experience with a PlayStation system so far you ask? Well, if you're after the ultimate "cinematic experience" you should definitely get a PlayStation 3. Of all the above mentioned games only MGS 2, 3 and Peace Walker re-masters run at full 60fps and it really makes them a pleasure to play. MGS 4 on the other hand struggles to maintain any sort of stability, drops frames left and right. GT5 is a mixed bag the gameplay itself being 60fps almost all the time, while replays frame-rate is halved. GT6 is a disaster (even though I think it is largely a better designed game than GT5) with some terrible screen tearing and bad frame-pacing. Red Dead Redemption often drops frames and is generally pretty jenky as all open world games of this generation were. Same goes for Uncharted 2. You see what I'm getting at here? Most of the PS3 era games have performance issues and thinking back on the original price Sony launched this sucker at, it just blows my mind and I feel genuinely sorry for those people that spend 599$ on such a piece of s... kit. The experience is further bogged down by constant updates, install prompts and general lack of multi-tasking. Particularly annoying are instances where you'll download a game or an app from the PSN store, install it, wanna launch it only to be greeted by a prompt that it needs to be updated first - many times in a row! WTF?! I've just installed the damn thing, how come is there an update for it already?! It turns out all of the updates are applied post install... So, if you plan on playing a game, plan ahead and install it while you're doing something else and do it well in advance, otherwise you're likely to be in for a bad surprise. How the hell was The Cell conceived as a 9 core cutting edge CPU beast at the same time not being able to run anything in the background is beyond me. As we all know though, technical problems aside, those games are still highly regarded as one of the best of the generation, so in the coming months I will try to summarize my findings as to what makes them so special in other people's eyes as well as if it's worth revisiting them A.D.2017. I'll also write a series of articles about revisiting the MGS series, starting with MGS 1 going thru MGS 2, 3 ,4, Peace Walker and finishing it off with Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain.
Till that time - take care and play some more.
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