Monthly Archives: August 2009

LittleBigPlanet PSP Loses Depth, Floatiness, and Multiplayer

Here’s another bit of news from Joystiq courtesy of EuroGamer: LittleBigPlanet for PSP will not feature multiplayer, will have only two planes rather than three, and will fix the floaty jumping from the original. Joystiq writer James Ransom-Wiley seems to have a big problem with the removal of the multiplayer, and I’m sure he’s not the only one, but honestly, I’m not sure it’s that big of a deal. On the PS3 version I’ve had fun playing with a single other person both while attempting to get closer to 100% completion in the main game or having fun in new levels. However, attempting to play with the full four people is always a headache. I don’t want to play online with strangers, and I also don’t want to call up a friend and arrange to meet online to play LBP. Even if it was easy to do so, I prefer to play in person. However, without splitscreen people end up killing each other by moving too far off screen. In addition, trying to access the four player areas always leaves me feeling frustrated at the group’s inability to coordinate. Maybe I need to be playing with people who play more platformers, but my friends who are really into gaming are also not so interested in LittleBigPlanet.

 
Back to the PSP version, I do think multiplayer is an important feature, and I’m sad it’s not going to be in the game, but I just want to point out that LittleBigPlanet can be a lot of fun without it. The three planes of depth (characters can be in the background, foreground, or middle) in the original was just annoying and added very little “depth” to the gameplay while adding needless depth in the more literal sense. In fact, it was a big complaint of mine, so I can’t see how reducing it to two could matters worse. I was actually a lot happier before I clicked through to Joystiq’s source at EuroGamer; Ransom-Wiley wrote that there would only be one plane, but the source clearly says two. Too bad! A single plane would have been terrific! The jumping also felt imprecise,and for a game that touted its physics engine, it sure seemed like gravity was hardly effecting Sack Boy. Come to think of it, maybe this was to emphasize that Sack Boy was a stuffed person, presumably stuffed with some sort of very light fluff. Still, I’d like Sack Boy to feel heavier; hopefully LittleBigPlanet PSP’s revised jumping will fix this. On the other hand, jumping might feel bad for some other reason.
All things considered, this announcement only makes me more excited for LittleBigPlanet PSP. Not having multiplayer is a loss, yes, but I never thought I’d be playing it multiplayer regardless, and the jump mechanic should hopefully improve things. I do have to say that I’m very saddened that there are still two planes rather than three. I first wrote this article under the impression that there was only one, but before publishing I realized that Ransom-Wiley read his source incorrectly. Bummer! One plane with fixed jumping had me so excited! Still, I think LittleBigPlanet PSP will be fun.
Bramwell, Tom. No multiplayer in LittleBigPlanet PSP. EuroGamer. 8/19/09.
Ransom-Wiley, James. LittleBigPlanet PSP loses multiplayer, and maybe its soul. Joystiq. 8/19/09.

Universal Game Launching in Home

Joystiq reports from the PlayStation.Blog that in an upcoming version of Home, users will be able to launch any game from Home. I really don’t understand why this is needed at all. On some Street Fighter IV night I decided I would try out Home and getting into a game but had no luck. If I want to play SF4, shouldn’t I just go find a match in SF4? Because not everyone else in Home is looking for a SF4 match, it seems like walking around in a virtual environment looking for a game of SF4 isn’t the best idea.
Sony really missed the mark with Home. Home itself is just a large, 3D interface for game lobbies, watching videos, and chatting. Game launching in Home is redundant when games can be launched, not surprisingly, from the XMB itself. Similarly, Sony could integrate some sort of section of the XMB under Video specifically for streaming videos from Sony and achieve the same effect without the clutter of an ugly 3D interface reminiscent of the 80s idea of future “cyber space.”

 
Of course, Home does have an additional feature – chatting and socializing. Again, isn’t there a simpler way to achieve this than through a horrible clone of Second Life? Besides the fact that there’s a browser built in to the system, how about adding an IRC client that defaults to a Sony server or simply adding a forum specifically designed for use on the PS3? While a forum could be viewed from the web browser, it could be nice for Sony to integrate one that wouldn’t need the clutter of a browser window around it.
To be clear, Sony has anounced other features of the Home update, such as taking photos, but I just don’t feel the need to address them. None of them are interesting to me. Additionally, it’s not that the features are bad, it’s that the whole system is needless.
Sources:
Locust_Star. PlayStation Home v1.3 Coming This September. PlayStation.Blog. 8/19/09.
Yoon, Andrew. Take pictures and launch any game you want in Home 1.3, coming this fall. Joystiq. 8/19/09.

What have I played…

…this week?
I’ve been playing a lot more WoW now that 3.2 hit. I think most people who read this knows already, but this patch allows characters to disable all experience gain. This allows them to go after better gear without leveling so that they can stay in the current PVP bracket yet still become stronger. I went to Northrend and have been getting a lot of cool gear. I have a lot of haste gear now, which I’m looking forward to trying out. After getting a new belt and wand I’ll have all new gear besides rings and trinkets. I also got a flying mount for the first time. Pretty fun!

 
I had some awesome games of Team Fortress 2! I found all the sniper weapons, which is pretty cool. Using the bow is weird though. I also managed to get the “With Friends Like These” achievement for playing with seven friends. It was hard to coordinate, plus the match has to actually end with seven friends playing. I played with Collin, Andy, William, gem, Linh-Nam, Jon, and James. It was one of the coolest nights of gaming ever.
As for console games, I haven’t played much. I played inFAMOUS and enjoyed it so far. I don’t think it’s as amazing as the hype, but it’s pretty good. I also played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled on XBLA with gem, William, and Collin. It was a lot of fun! It was based on the arcade game, not SNES game, so it was a little different than what Collin and William expected. gem and I didn’t notice at all anyways. Like a lot of cooperative four-player games, I lost track of my character at times, but overall it was a ton of fun.
I also managed to finish the first episode of Wolfenstein 3D Classic on the iPhone. I had died on the last level, and I only respawn with a pistol. I had no idea how to defeat the boss with only a pistol, but as it turns out, there’s a secret room in the level with a chain gun. The boss was easy with a chain gun!
Lastly I’ve been playing Pokemon Platinum! I managed to pick up my third badge recently. Also, my Ralts evolved into Kirlia, and my shiny Magikarp finally became a shiny Gyrados!