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PS3 backwards compatibility: the truth

The decision to remove the dedicated PS2 chip from the Euro version of the PlayStation 3 may save Sony a few quid on every console it sells... but does it really make our PS3s second-class citizens in the world of PS2 games? We took a pile of old favourites to the next-generation to find out.

OK. First things first: Manhunt doesn't work. This is a fan's favourite and so was a logical place to start. Result? Not a sausage. We might as well have stuck a beer mat in the drive. And the same goes for Metal Gear Solid 2 (another favourite). Even top FPS Black took one look at the PS3 and refused to run.

In order to limit such surprises, Sony has set up a helpful site that hints at the horrors you can expect from certain games when played on a PS3. Things will undoubtedly get better with future firmware updates from Sony. But it's worth noting that such updates only come round every couple of months. So don't expect any quick fixes for your PS3 just yet.

And it's not just third-party games that are suffering. Surprisingly Sony's own Killzone runs with a series of frustrating pauses and glitches on PS3, while the venerable Gran Turismo 4 had us squinting at some new on-screen artefacts. How? Why? Only Sony knows what's going on.

More PS2 tests gave us similarly unhappy results from Square Enix's current smash Final Fantasy XII, which now features freshly glitchy FMV sequences. And considering that there are hours of FMV in FFXII, the problem is very noticeable. Likewise our copy of perennial PS2 favourite WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2007 had judders and shudders where there were no judders and shudders before.

And now the good news...

That's most of the bad news. To its credit Sony has definitely been paying attention to the best-sellers of the last year and every big game we tried at least loaded up and was playable.

And perhaps surprisingly, even more niche classics such as Ico and Shadow of the Colossus - both games that caused major problems for the Japanese and American machines despite their built-in PS2 chips - played back perfectly, making us think that an all-too-aware Sony has obviously pushed certain fanboy faves in order to ward off some of the moans from early adopters.

The perfect playback of mass-market titles such as FIFA 07 and Tomb Raider: Legend, for example, show that someone has been paying attention.

Or maybe not. Our biggest upset was 'biggest game ever' Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Our copy loaded but the PS3 kangarooed the game's visuals every thirty seconds or so as it drew the next chunk of scenery. Sure, there's no pop up, but we'd go so far as to say that the biggest PlayStation game on the planet is now so unpleasantly scuffed as to be unplayable. More discoveries as we find them... Dan Griffiths