Sony PlayStation 3
What it is: The versatile Sony PlayStation 3 can play high-def Blu-ray discs, stream movies from online services, and store downloaded movies (plus home movies, photos, and music) on its hard drive. You can connect it to the PlayStation Network and PlayStation Store, where you can rent movies as well as buy games, including classic original PlayStation titles. With its Move controller and Eye camera, the PS3 offers motion-controlled gaming, and it can even play some games in 3D on a 3DTV.
Cost: The base model has a 160GB hard drive and costs $250. The PS3 is also available in various bundles, such as a $350, 320GB Move bundle. All require an HDMI cable for top high-def resolutions. Most new games cost $60.
Essential peripherals: The PlayStation Move is Sony’s attempt to add Wii-style motion controllers to the PS3, but we don’t think the accessory is an essential purchase, as most Move games are poor quality.
The bottom line: The PlayStation 3 is a media master. Most of its exclusive games are suited to older players and hard-core gamers, so it isn’t the best for young families. It’s a superb console if you don’t have small kids.
Five Great Family Games for the PlayStation 3
A multiplayer run-and-jump game that offers plenty of frenetic and crazy action, LittleBigPlanet 2 can sometimes descend into pure, fun chaos. Enhancing the title's enduring appeal are its gorgeous and playful graphics, its highly endearing characters, and its impressively massive library of free, user-created, downloadable levels.
This cute kart-racing game is fun, but the main lure of ModNation Racers is that it enables you to make your own cars, racers, and tracks, as well as to play with the creations of others. The design tools are staggering, and if you run out of steam or need help, the game’s auto-population tool can fill out your track for you.
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time
Starring the fox-like Ratchet and his robotic sidekick Clank, A Crack in Time mixes frantic run-and-gun play with quirky puzzles that break up the action. It makes for a rollicking adventure. Games in this series are great for youngsters and adults alike.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
In The Complete Saga (also available for the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii), you’ll relive all six Star Wars films. Humor pervades most scenes, and although the game has combat, it’s not violent. The cooperative gameplay delivers some fantastic moments as you collaborate to solve puzzles and overcome hordes of enemies, winning the day.
The Sly Collection
The Sly Collection gives an HD face-lift to three classics: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, Sly 2: Band of Thieves, and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. Playing as Sly, a raccoon who’s the latest in a line of master thieves, you’ll encounter plenty of running, jumping, puzzle-mastering, and sneaking.
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