Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Apparently Sony are going to put songs by unsigned acts up for download in the SingStore. Of the couple of hundred tunes currently available, there are lots on there by famous acts that I haven't downloaded. The reason is because I don't know those songs, and the fun of SingStar is singing along to stuff you know. Surely Sony must realise that?

PS - If anyone who has any say in these things is reading, if you made "Danger, High Voltage" available I would buy it. Possibly even at triple the usual price.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Metal Gear Online Beta (PS3)

I don't know quite what I was expecting from this, to be honest. I've always wanted to like Metal Gear Solid games, but every tie I've tried them I've ended up giving up, due to a mixture of the controls and the cutscenes.

Maybe that's why I thought I might like the Metal Gear Online beta - because it'd have no cutscenes. But in the end I've left it thinking it wasn't a very good idea to try and make an online shooter out of a game series that's mostly about sneaking around.

In a reverse of the order that things annoyed me, I'm going to briefly go on about how rubbish the gameplay is, then I'll get on to everything else. The guns aren't satisfying at all to shoot, and the damage reaction is minimal to the point where I could rarely tell if I was damaging someone, or about to die myself. The controls are floaty and vague, and what seems like every element from the single player has been left in, leaving them overly complicated given the few actions that you'll actually want to do.

Why would anyone want to use tranquiliser guns in multiplayer when you still have to go over to your enemy and kill them? Similarly disguising yourself as a cardboard box, given your enemies aren't stupid AI. The "throw everything in and hope something sticks" mentality baffles me.

But before you get to play, you'll have to trudge through the interface and registration. Lucky you.

It's become quite clear to me that Konami don't really understand user interfaces. For example, Sony have allowed previous Metal Gear Solid games to continually break their requirements checklist in the West, and since Konami can't be arsed to do a proper job of localising, we "too damn tall" gamers have had to try and remember that back and select are the wrong way around in all of the menus. They've sorted that for this game, but there's still a raft of horrible interface niggles. For example, it has a whole raft of screens that expect you to press a button to continue, but don't tell you that, so you sit looking at it for a minute thinking that it's just taking its usual, horribly slow, pace to do something.

Aside from those basic niceties, the beta will regularly update, or fail to connect, or do something else it wasn't entirely expecting, and instead of dealing with it in a friendly manner (I don't know, perhaps a "retry" option, eh?), it will leave you with a "you've got to use the PS3's system software to quit the game and restart it again" screen.

And of course there's also the registration. For reasons that probably make perfect sense to someone in Konami Towers, your PSN id is not good enough for their baby. So as well as that I now have a Konami ID, a game ID - neither of which can be the same, for some reason, and one of them needs a 8 digit numerical password (I wonder how many phone numbers Konami have on record now) - as well as a character name. So 3 identifiers and two passwords, just for 1 beta.

The last step before you get to start shooting people is using the automatching system to find a game to play in. I liked that I selected "team deathmatch", and it decided to ditch the "team" part. Thanks, Metal Gear Online, clearly I was confused about what game mode I was interested in. You do know best.

So for some kind of rough summary, then. If you like this sort of thing - that being a very average 3rd person shooter with a bobbins interface and horribly bland washed-out graphics (and remarkably I do know at least one guy whose gaming preferences lie in exactly that direction) - you might well enjoy this.