This is just a fast blog but it's to express my extreme disappointment with the state of PS3 gaming. Today my wonderful husband bought me some new games.
It was actually quite funny because today I found out that I'm going to need an upcoming surgery where I will be laid up for about a month. I've talked about this previously, but I have these surgeries every couple of years to control a form of cancer that I have. It's not a big deal and I lead a perfectly normal life aside from these surgeries which can have a pretty painful and lengthy recovery time. Luckily I'm a gamer so what I tend to do is pick out some games I want to play and treat myself to guiltless gaming all day and much of the night while I'm recovering. Playing games is interactive and keeps my mind off of the pain and keeps me from becoming incredibly bitchy and turning into an Elsazilla. After my appointment, I let my husband know that I would in fact be going in for another surgery, so he treated me to lunch then led me to the local game store where he asked which games I would likely want when I got my surgery date. I said I was interested in Kingdoms of Amalur and maybe Dragon's Dogma as they were both RPG's that I could play while I was stoned on drugs and tired and I wouldn't feel obliged to chat with people like I tend to do in a multiplayer game.
He immediately went to purchase Dragon's Dogma which was sitting right in front of us and we promptly had an argument in the store where I said that my surgery could be anywhere from 2 weeks from now to 4 months from now. I wanted to wait on buying the game. He then immediately picked up Ghost Recon and said that I could play Ghost Recon while waiting and could then save Dragon's Dogma till my surgery. I tried to convince him to put the games back and wait, and in desperation I grabbed Starhawk and said "Ok, if you buy me those two games, then I'll buy Starhawk for you!" I expected him to back down and we would wait, but he surprisingly said "fine!" and took it from my hands and bought all three games! I have to laugh as I'm not much of a gamer when I complain about getting 3 new games!
Still, I've been burned on so many games lately that I went to the forums for both Ghost Recon and Starhawk. Ghost Recon apparently has a "known voice chat issue" on the PS3. It's that same issue that has shown up in other games where everyone can chat in the lobby, but once the game is launched some people can't hear other people... alll fairly random and the same issue that was in the Starhawk beta. For me, I like to communicate with my team and glitchy voice chat is simply unacceptable. Additionally there seem to be a lot of "server connection" issues and of course the usual crappy matchmaking issues where it can take quite awhile to get into the game mode you want, particularly if you are in a group. There seem to be no complaints about the game... just the same infrastructure complaints that seem to continually arise for PS3 gamers - crappy matchmaking, non functional voice chat and group systems that aren't smooth and easy to use. Ghost Recon doesn't even include the co-op splitscreen campaign that was advertised! (on their own site). Apparently it was a mix up between the devs and the marketing people... in other words the splitscreen campaign got cut from the game.
I then checked the Starhawk forums... and my fears of the game seem to be coming true. There are multiple threads that essentially this is a mech game and the soldier who isn't in a vehicle is pretty much someone else's kill statistic. Base rapes are at an all time high and actually worse than they were in Warhawk (is that even possible?). Apparently there aren't any official servers so many of the games are populated by clans against randoms which is part of the balancing issue.
Why are the new games so much shittier than their predecessors? Why doesn't Starhawk have official servers and a good stats tracking system like they did in Warhawk? How can games still be releasing on the PS3 with voice chat issues? Why are most newer games even using matchmaking systems which are mostly crap, why can't we have a server browser with a matchmaking option? (at least Starhawk retained this).
I guess the big question is do I want to spin the roulette wheel and unwrap those games. At this point it seems that Ghost Recon is going to end up similar to Homefront in that it may not have the online population to maintain itself more than a few months. Will Starhawk get patches to better balance play?... or will people just go back to playing Warhawk. Both games may end up going back... but I'll hold off on making a decision because maybe I'm still a little cranky and doing an early Elsazilla impression.
Ah well... I guess I still have Dragon's Dogma... which I can't play because I want to save it for later. It's just sad that buying a multiplayer game for the PS3 is such an exercise in frustration. It's not the games themselves... it's the infrastructure and balancing issues. Most things get better as time goes on, but for online gaming it honestly seems that it's getting so much worst than the PS2 days of Socom when it was easy to group up with friends and play, or even Warhawk, a game released in the PS3's infancy. I could just buy my multiplayer games for the 360, but in all honesty I just HATE the fact that they charge a fee for playing a game I already paid $60.00 for. Online gaming IS gaming. It's not an option or an extra. Though I guess if devs can't conquer the basic concepts of letting friends play together in the same game on the same team, while chatting... then maybe gold is worth paying extra for. :(
At least Dust 514 will be free to play... so I won't have to worry about a $60.00 unwrapping decision!
... and I still have my adorable, wonderful husband who keeps saying "just play it... if it's shit, we'll just buy you another game"... which is ironic given the blast of profanity that comes from him regarding balancing issues when he's playing online! LOL!