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LONG BLOG

Missing features and reviewing dilemmas

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We're about to see two interesting game releases and reviews. Last week it was announced that Fable 2 would not be shipping with the long promised and much talked about online coop. This is one of the selling points that Peter Molyneux has been pushing hardest since it was announced. I haven't played the game, but listening to people talk about previewing it, it sounded like it was working fine in those builds. Even in the final disc product you will be able to see your friends floating around as orbs. You can chat and trade with them, just not play. I'm not a programer or anything, but that seems like a hop, skip and jump away from the coop working. Fortunately, they are saying it will be patched in during the first week after release if not sooner.

LittleBigPlanet, one of the main reasons I own a PS3, had a similar announcement. There will be no online coop Create mode out of the box. They are also joining the "patch it in later" bandwagon, although their time table is much more vague. It will come with the first major update. That could be a month, that could be six months, we don't know. To me, this feature is less important than Fable's missing piece. You can still create levels with four friends in the same room and play through levels online with four people. All of this requires you have three friends who have a PS3 too, which is a bigger problem.

The question this triggers is how will reviews go for these games? Lots of games receive additional content during their lifespans, see Burnout: Paradise for a prime example. I've heard talk before of rereviewing a game later on, after it has gained this content, since it would be a pretty different experience to play. The difference between the LBP/Fable 2 and Burnout is that the Burnout DLC wasn't imporant features promised for and cut from the original game. Burnout was complete when it shipped and has grown since to encourage you to keep the game and keep playing it, which seems to be working very well. Will reviewers cut these games some slack because they know the features are on the way? It is going to be a tricky situation to navigate. Good luck to you, game reviewers, I look forward to see how it goes.

Also, these games both come out on October 21. Coinsidence? Probably.[img][/img]
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About SuicideFLipone of us since 5:28 PM on 06.11.2008

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