Saturday, December 20, 2008

Playstation Home (PS3)

- I gave the open beta a try. Here are some early impressions after playing around with it for a couple of hours.
- First you download it from the cross media bar and let it install. Upon launching, it wants to reserve 3gb of space.
- I ran into several connection issues. After multiple tries I was finally in and created my avatar.
- Next, you are dropped into your home which then runs through the tutorial.
- The graphics are pretty impressive if a bit sterile.
- I like all the animations that are included though the dancing still isn't as good as guild wars.
- There are a LOT of download progress bars: go to a new location for the first time - download (though you can do this in the background), play bowling - download, play an arcade game - download, watch a video at the theater - download, etc. I wish there was an option to just download everything at once so I could just walk away and try it all later.
- First was the main lounge/hub. Not much to do there. I walked around a bit and did some dancing. Hitting start lets you quickly jump to any location.
- Next I tried the theater. You can walk around while the big screen in there is downloading the movie (you see a progress bar on the screen). It turned out to be the Twilight trailer followed by the related Paramore music video which just then loops. You can walk up to most video screens, advertisements to go full screen (which isn't quite full screen but close, you are always in the 3D world). Video quality was ok (think xvid).
- Next up was the bowling alley. I bowled a 144 in my first game. It's all timing meter based (like golf games) yeah not all that exciting.
- Next, I tried the arcade in there: there was some lame arkanoid/breakout clone, echochrome, and some crappy puzzle game.
- I played a bit of pool which was ok.
- Oh yeah and it's like in real life. If all the lanes, arcade machines, pool tables, etc are taken you have just wait around until one frees up.
- I decided to try some of the themed areas. First was far cry 2 which looked quite impressive. It felt like you were in the game. There is an office and a train station. There are few points of interest like an interactive map and something that looked like a board game which I didn't try since they were all full.
- I then hopped over to Sully's bar from uncharted. There was a crappy pitfall looking game and some doors with locks on them which I didn't get to try because again they were all full.
- Finally I went to the mall where you can buy furniture at $1 a piece to decorate your virtual home, buy a new home for $5, or some clothing and accessories at 50 cents each. This is almost as bad as buying icons (gamer pics) on 360. I watched another video on the wall which had some Asian girl (I think from Qore) that went over what was new on PSN. I sat down and played some chess with a random stranger.
- There is voice communication and text. The communication stuff seems to be proximity based so there is no need to "start a conversation" with somebody. Just walk up to them and start talking.
- It seems like there are some party system game launching features which I didn't try.

And that's pretty much all there is in the Home Beta currently. It's not bad for free but I'm not sure if I'll be spending much time in there. I would have much preferred if Sony had spent the money, time, and effort on something more useful like the NXE party system.

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