This is part 1 of a 4 part series on my personal grips on console games
I recently had a great time playing LittleBigPlanet 2 with some good friends two days following Christmas. Since I’m not necessarily the biggest Sony gamer I usually pick up games released for the Xbox 360 relegating the PlayStation 3 to Blu-ray playback duties. It’s a fine system–powerful, loaded with features, and, tons of great exclusives–but there is one aspect of the system that literally gives me nightmares. I bumped into my worst nightmare as a gamer, and this is probably the biggest reason why I cannot stand the PlayStation 3.
My friend’s house doesn’t have slow Internet by any stretch of the imagination (in fact, it’s that nifty Verizon FiOS) and whenever we’re downloading anything else it’s fine, but when it comes to downloading patches for games, it’s like pulling teeth. I opened the drawer where Brad keeps his games, and plucked the colorful LittleBigPlanet 2 case. After recovering my PSN account, we fired up LBP2 and were met with a familiar black screen for a system update. Instinctively I mash through the update, and it commences downloading. What I wasn’t expecting was a 2 Gigabyte download spread across 10 separate patches.
“…but when it comes to downloading patches for games, it’s like pulling teeth.”
For anyone who knows how painfully slow Sony’s downloads are, you will probably empathize with me here. On a 50 Megabit connection this could be as fast as 20 minutes (we’re thinking realistically) but instead, we waited almost an hour and a half for patches to download and install. Mind you this is one title, and might be an odd case, but imagine you only have two hours to play a game–this means that 75% of your “play time” is sitting motionless at a reflection of yourself in the black screen on your television waiting for an excessively large patch to complete. Patch completed, we fired up LittleBigPlanet 2, and had a great time, but the experience waiting for the patch to download and install almost drove me to cancel the update and play something else.
My next gripe probably hurts original PlayStation 3 owners more than recent owners (or if you decided to upgrade your internal HDD with something significantly larger) is the forced install of data to play games. Although most are a measly 0.5 GB some titles require upwards of 4 GB, which is close to 22% of the PS3′s original HDD. The reason behind this is the BD-rom inside the PS3 is not fast enough to play the game without loading data from an additional source.
I’ll admit that this issue is extremely nit-picky and I have yet to fill my 120 GB HDD with game installs, but I can assure you that this issue has affected some people. I know that the rival Xbox 360 suffers the same issue (try playing Halo 4 multiplayer, playing Forza Motorsport 3, or playing Battlefield 3 with high-resolution textures and you’ll see what I mean), but the problem is still worth noting.
My final gripe with the PlayStation 3 is PSN. I applaud Sony for providing a free service, but the phrase “you get what you pay for” is appropriate in this scenario. Paying for PlayStation + provides users with free games,
4-person party chat , and, some exclusive deals in the PSN store and automatic updates. For those who call the PS3 their primary system, PS+ is a clear must-have service. The rest of PSN however feels like it never got enough attention, and games suffer because of it.
Thanks to the commenters for pointing out my mistake, I was thinking back to the time I was experimenting with the party chat that supports up to 6 gamers (4 with video) I have updated the section below to clarify the reasoning why cross-game chat is a beneficial feature to gamers, and how it enhances the gaming experience.
Nintendo has made a similar error in not providing a universal cross-game chat system on Wii U. I feel many gamers appreciate the ability to talk with their friends despite not playing the same game together. The issue is partially resolved by PSN’s ability to invite players cross game, but the
bolted-on approach inability to voice chat makes the PS3 feel like it’s a generation behind doesn’t seem to work nearly as well as Xbox Live’s private and party chat options.
I don’t want to say the PlayStation 3 is a bad system by any stretch of the imagination, but a flawed system. It has it’s many strengths, and obvious weaknesses. I’ll be writing articles on why I hate the other systems in due time as well because every system, no matter how much we love it, has it’s critical flaws that nag us every time we turn it on. I’m curious to hear what the other staff and readers have to say about annoyances with gaming, so feel free to pour it on in the comment section.
Stay posted for the next installments in the “Why I Hate…” series as I reflect upon the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and Wii U