So, last night, I got on YouTube to look at new Vita trailers. Instead, what I found was reviews of demo games, all of which were out in Japan. Of those, the most exciting was Ragnarok Odyssey, which looks amazing. The wild fighting style shown in that preview got me itching to play a new game. So I rush over to my Vita, fire it up and go to the PSN store, and…there’s still no new demos. NONE. The Japan PSN store has demos for games that won’t be out for many months, and yet, here we are, almost a month away from the launch of Gravity Rush, and Sony still can’t be bothered to give us something to nibble on. For fuck’s sake, Gravity Rush has TWO DLC packs out in Japan, and we don’t even have a working demo one month before the game’s delayed release!
This by itself would not be so bad, but I just bought Lumines: Electronic Symphony, which I loved on the first night I got it. And I mean LOVE, like after the first two plays, I was in need of a ciggie. Alas, the very next day, Sony released a patch, which they said would “address stick stability issues.” I was using the D-Pad for control, so it wasn’t a big whoop to me…EXCEPT, the patch fucked up the D-Pad. So even when I tapped the control to move one space, my tiles flew to the far end of the screen. I’d go to tap down to drop one block, and that and the next three blocks would come slamming down, one right on top of the other. On slower levels, it’s easy to compensate for. Alas, Lumines doesn’t have many slow levels, and on the faster levels, I’ve spent more time screaming at my game than I have enjoying it.
This patch also broke the “World Block” a social portion of the game, where blocks I erased from my game counted towards a huge cube of something like 7,000,000 blocks. Actually, this idea is kind of stupid because there aren’t enough players of Lumines worldwide that I’ve ever seen the blocks brought down to 0 before the 24 hour clock cycle restarts. One would think they’d adjust the World Block goal to something more realistic given the smaller pool of players, but that’s a logical decision, and we haven’t seen many of those made when it comes to Vita games.
But anyway, the point is, after the patch, I got errors just trying to check my progress from the previous days. So, within the same day, I can check and see that I’m contributing 9,000 blocks while the average player is only contributing 1,500. But if I go to check those results one minute after the clock turns over on a new World Block, it’s “unconfirmed data,” and accessing it results in an error.
Sony released yet another patch only a day later, this time declaring that it would “address World Block stability.” Not only did it not work to fix the World Block’s data errors, but applying the patch made the D-Pad controls even more finicky. I can’t play the game anymore. I can’t give a full review for it in this condition, and yet, I’m itching to play it based on that sweet first night, before Sony took away my good game and replaced it with this shitty mess. It’s like having an amazing honeymoon with a demure goddess of pure beauty, and waking up the next day to a foul-tempered demon who wants to rip my penis off and sodomize me with it. Without lube, and with a condom made of barbed wire. (FTW, I don’t actually have a penis…I left it in my other pants back in Thailand. I do, however, own a strap-on. I just don’t know anyone willing to let me use it.)
And again, I still wouldn’t be pissed, except what we have in the store right now amounts to a lot of half-assed efforts mixed in with some scamware.
“Scamware?” you say. “How do you mean, Zoe?”
Well let’s start with Treasures of Montezuma Blitz, a free-to-play game that’s extremely cheap in its tactics so as to force players to buy new lives at the PSN store. Lives regenerate slowly over time, but the game doesn’t make that clear in the sales pitch, and in any case, the game play just isn’t that much fun.
Next is Stardrone Extreme, a game which is not free, but which will offer you the chance to skip some of its harder levels…for a small additional fee. This is bullshit. The game makers are not stuck at a 0.99 cent price point. They can charge any price they need to in order to recoup their costs, so they could have tacked a few cents onto the price and just give people the ability to skip levels. OR they could drop the cheap fucking tactics, not have any levels intentionally made to encourage skipping, and stop trying to scam people out of an extra purchase.
But the latest game to provoke my ire just arrived in the PSN store for free, Frobisher Says. I’d seen a review for this last month where the reviewer was gushing how this game was better than all of his triple A titles combined. He called his Vita a $250 Frobisher Says Unit. “Man,” he gushed, “This is what real gaming is all about! Just having fun with a stupid premise.”
WELL, that certainly sounds like something I wanted, and yet, I couldn’t find said game in the PSN store. Not at any price. But, at long last the game arrived, for free even! YEAH, a free game! Okay, I’ve already been burned by free games from Sony, but surely, with this game getting such a glowing review, I wouldn’t feel burned again, would I? Hahahahahahahahaha! Yes, yes I would.
Task one in the game? Tap the right shoulder button to make a train carry a pudding to Frobisher, at which point he splats his face in it. A bit simplistic, and not really funny, but okay, I’m sure tougher challenges lie ahead. My second task? “TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS THAT YOU’RE PLAYING OUR GAME.” Really? So despite the fact that the Near network has already broadcast to all of my friends “Zoe has just started playing Frobisher Says for the first time,” you still want me to mail a SPAM bomb to the few friends I have…for a game I’ve played for two fucking seconds?
Sony, what the fuck are you doing? These are shit games with nickel and dime cheap tactics, all of them released with your blessing. You’ve got no new demos for the European market and the demos you’ve offered are extremely short, to the point of being stingy. I’ve seen tech demos from the makers of Half-Life that are longer than your game demos. And, they were more fun to play!
When I first got the system, Near was telling me there were 45 players nearby. On launch day! Man, that made me feel good, thinking that the system was going to be an easy success and tons of game were sure to follow. A day later, that player count was up to 57. And now? Now there’s 27-30 people playing. And most of them are only playing one game, where they were playing many titles before coming to realize, “This game is shit.” That’s why I’m not playing those games anymore either. Because the European launch titles were terrible. I keep looking at the Japan offerings and wondering, “Why aren’t we getting any of these demos?” If Sony is so desperate to keep players hooked into their hardware, why aren’t they showing it by giving us something to look forward to?
Yes, Sony, you’ve made the prettiest and bestest portable gaming machine I’ve ever laid hand on, and I’ve played them all; the Game Boys in all their incarnations, the Game Gear, the Lynx, and the Neo Geo Pocket. I’ve even played on the dread Virtual Boy, the worst headache inducing portable ever, and you got that bitch beat hands down. But while you have the bestest hardware, your launch games showed a distinct flavor of “don’t give a fuck.” And since then, there’s been nothing new to give me a reason to squee with fangirl glee. To the contrary, you’ve given me plenty of reasons to scream and pull my hair out. You keep teasing me with the promise of real triple A games, and yet every game I wanted is listed as TBA for the European release date.
And I’m not even thinking about Ridge Racer because of your shady as fuck business model of selling me a fucking three track demo with the rest of the game locked up behind nickel and dime purchases, both cars and tracks. Yeah, Forza 4 has new car packs once a month, but they gave me a ton of cars just for driving and gaining XP, and every completed race opened up new sections of the same tracks I was already playing. Turn 10 has earned my trust because they gave me a Gallardo, and let me paint it hot pink with black racing stripes. So when they come out with a new car pack, I run over to the marketplace see what’s in it and decide if I want those cars. But I’m not going to even buy a game that charges me twenty fucking euros FOR A DEMO.
Sony, I want to be in your corner and sing your praises, but at every turn, you’ve treated your market like a toilet, and you won’t stop eating at Taco Bell and dropping the nastiest shit on us. Can you at least try eating some moral fiber and giving us shit that isn’t quite so offensive or runny? Or can you maybe polish up some of these turds so they aren’t such a slap in the face when you drop another log on us?
Your hardware is very pretty, but without something decent to play on it, I find myself wishing you’d either commit to supporting your paying players or kindly drop dead and stop treating us like that old desperate ho who will let you take a dump on her chest.