Archive for November, 2008

PS3 Rumors

From dpad magazine:

  • Uncharted 2 is coming
  • God of War 3 looks amazing
  • SCEE will be getting more price-competitive from March 2009 on
  • More “technical innovations” to come…

These are pretty small leaks. This is an unconfirmed source, but this is stuff we largely suspected already. An Uncharted sequel was highly likely and there is generally always some kind of price cut and technical innovations coming in the future.

The God of War 3 bit is more than a rumor. David Jaffe, the outspoken director behind the first in the series, has said that the game was shown internally and is looking amazing. That dev team is notorious for having large teams of highly talented art staff, so amazing visuals aren’t surprising.

With sequels to Uncharted and God of War, I’m more interested to hear how they are evolving the gameplay. I’ve loved both series so far, but I would like to see them move away from stricly linear game progression.


Why I Hate LittleBigPlanet

I’m probably going to get some stick for what I’m about to write but I really started to hate LBP the more I played of it.

First off, I actually loved the BETA. I thought it was great fun, Sackboy was a great character and I had a lot of fun playing it. Then I decided to stop because I didn’t want to get the game and find that the experience would be watered down due to playing too much of the BETA.

Big mistake. The more I played of the game, the more I realised it is absolutely crap as a platformer. You can throw all this stuff about creating levels and all the community stuff at me but none of that can hide the fact that it is unforgivably flawed as a platform game.

LBP is meant to be fun and aimed at bringing on board ‘casuals’ or some of the Wii crowd (aswell as regular gamers), or so we are led to believe. How can a game that infuriates so much due to broken controls that makes controlling Sackboy so infuriating, appeal to people that just want to have fun, when it sucks all the fun out of the experience!

The amount of times I died because Sackboy skidded on a platform or failed to jump high enough or far enough to reach a perfectly reachable platform was bordering on the ridiculous. There was even an incident where one of the bouncy platforms toppled over meaning I couldn’t progress any further on that level so I had to quit out of it!!

I’m talking about the Story levels btw, not user created levels.

LBP is supposed to be a platformer yet it fails, as far as I’m concerned, to get the basic elements of what makes platform games so much fun. The physics in the game cause far too many problems for me. When I jump, I want to be able to actually control myself how far and high I jump, not end up with seemingly random heights and distances regardless of how hard or light I press the jump button. When my character lands he should not continue to move as if he’s on an ice platform and fall on to spikes or to it’s death.

Everything has to be so precise in LBP. This completely takes away the fun of the experience and massively reduces the pick up and play factor for me.

I really can’t see any of the supposed ‘casual gamers’ sticking with a game that can infuriate so easily.

I decided to have a quick play with the level creater tools but gave up as everything felt too fiddly and time consuming. You may argue that I should put the time in to get the best out of this side of LBP but I simply do not have the time to do this.

As a result, LBP became an incredibly annoying game, so much so that I traded it in yesterday and got the flawed and buggy Fallout 3 instead.

Maybe Media Molecule should’ve actually spent more time on getting the game mechanics and platforming elements right and made the platforming fun and enjoyable as a result.

The mass majority will probably not agree with what I’ve written but hey, that’s life. If you love LBP, great! I however will not recommend this game to anyone based on how poor it is as a platformer.

EDIT: Even Media Molecule boss Mark Healey isn’t entirely happy with the control scheme in LBP. Check out the 5.10 mark onwards in this video.


Why do People Buy New Games (rather than rent or buy used)?

As a consumer deciding what to buy, It’s your job to get the most value while spending the least amount of money. You are not the president, you are not chairman of the federal reserve, so no one cares about your big picture economic philosophy, you just need to decide what to buy.

That’s why I rent most games that I play. I get to enjoy everything, even though the developer who put in the hard work to create the game doesn’t see a single dime.

There are a few good reasons to actually buy a game new:

  • New Releases: You like getting games close to release. If a new game costs $60, and a used game costs $55, there’s not much point to buying used unless you have trade-in credit.
  • Longevity: You plan to play the game for a long time and don’t want to rent.
  • Guilt: You are a nice guy or a fan and want to support your favorite developers or simply feel guilty about enjoying a great game without letting the developer earn a single dime: I fall into this category a lot. I bought Uncharted after people on this site guilted me into it. Great game, but I could have gotten the same enjoyment by renting and saved myself $60.
  • Gifts:Buying someone used goods as a gift is generally considered very cheap, so people would rather buy new.

Beyond that, I can’t understand why people buy so many new games.

To me, the issue is simple. The used/rental markets have a perfectly legal way to provide reduced cost access to copyrighted IP. Used/rental markets are basically a legal and controlled whitehat form of piracy. This is great for consumers in the short term but it siphons off a lot of money from publishers and developers. As a result, I would expect that publishers strongly push towards network distribution with stronger DRM so that they can keep a larger share of consumer revenue.

What absolutely baffles me is how many people really think that used/rental game markets benefit the developers. Sure, I can see how some of the money consumers get from used games can be used to buy new games, but overall, it’s obvious that the publishers would pull in far more money from new sales if they didn’t have to compete with used and rentals.

To pick one post on the subject:

Here’s a grown-up approach: focus on adjusting the benefits of the relationship between the parties. Grow the relationship with Blockbuster and Gamestop and everyone else

The developers or publishers who legally own the IP, currently have no leverage or bargaining power whatsoever in the used and rental markets, so naturally, they get nothing. The used and rental market providers have full control over their own revenue streams and have no motivation to forfeit any of that. What kind of healthy positive relationship is there to grow between the two? That sounds like a bunch superficial business-speak blather around nothing.


Home Clubs

From here we find out this information about clubs. (I rearranged it a bit).

Club feature is added.

A club is an organization for users that share the same objectives. Clubhouse is a private place for members of a club to gather around. Even users that are not added to your Friends List can request to join or get invited.

  • You have to purchase a club before using it. But during Closed Beta test you can use it for free.
  • Each user account can only create one club.
  • The maximum number of members for each club is 32, including the creator.
  • The maximum number of clubs each user can join is 5, including the one created by that user.
  • Users that are not members of the club will not be able to enter the associated clubhouse.
  • You can add furniture to the clubhouse.
  • Bulletin Board is available in the clubhouse. Only the leader (owner of the clubhouse) or subleaders (assigned by the leader) can post messages on the board.
  • Maximum number of messages to be posted at the same time is 4.

Note: if you have joined 5 clubs already, then you cannot create your own club.

※ To learn more about how to create a club, please refer to Menu Pad > “Help” > “Clubs”.
※ You have to set up your PlayStation®Network wallet before purchasing a club.
※ Club is a service that requires regular payment. During Closed Beta test users can enjoy this service free of charge.
※ Note: all the clubs and clubhouses will be deleted at the end of Closed Beta test.

I like the idea of a club. I’d like to create one for readers. But I have a two worries:

  1. Just 32 users? So there’s me, Tosh, Darrin, Gary, and Trev. Add a couple friends of mine, and that leaves just about 22 slots for my readers. That’s not enough! Tosh and I thought that maybe “32” means “32 people in the clubhouse space at the same time”, with more members allowed. But the wording I’ve seen contradicts that.
  2. I really don’t like the line that reads “Club is a service that requires regular payment.” I hate having to continuously pay for something. That’s one of the reasons I like PSN – it’s free! I can stomach paying a one-time fee for a club, but I’m not so sure I’m willing to continue paying month after month.

What do you all think?


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