Posts Tagged PS3

Devil May Cry 4 loading screens, only 749 to go!

Devil May Cry 4 BoxartIt’s been noted that the PS3 version of Devil May Cry 4 has a mandatory 22-25 minute install before you can play. This has the effect of making the load times 2-3 seconds faster than the Xbox 360 version. Just to put this into perspective, you have to see up to 750 load screens on the PS3 to break even for that install. Now I don’t know about you but I’d be more willing to play it direct from the disc (just like the Xbox 360 version) but with an optional install to the hard drive, should I feel the need for sleep and faster load times in the morning.

Tags: ,

Microsoft puts halt to game save sharing

In the recent Xbox 360 update Microsoft took new measures to stop people sharing game saves and I think it’s a good idea…

I love being able to share save data, it means that if I get stuck or don’t have the time to complete 1001 inane side quests to see the secret ending in Kingdom Hearts 2 I can download the save of someone who has and see that oh-so-secret trailer for myself in perfect quality instead of grainy Youtube-o-vision. In other cases sharing a save with someone may be the only way they can progress in the game if they’re using a PS2 disc on a Playstation 3. Some people say “what’s the point in buying a game then using a save to complete it?” It’s my game, I paid the money for it and I’ll do what I like, I don’t sit behind you when you’re doing your tax return asking why you spent £10000 on speed boat when you live no where near water. Truth be told, I’ve never used a save to complete a game, I just like sharing and having the option open to me to experience things I might not get to see in my limited game time. Many years ago I even produced a save that unlocked a level in a game that the developers had removed and was inaccessible any other way, recent saves I have made unlock or add features that the game designers didn’t intend to be accessible to the public. Save sharing is good

Until the Xbox 360 arrived that is.

With Microsoft’s new console they added Gamerscores where you receive points for unlocking achievements in the game. Usually they add up to nothing but a score to compare with your friends but Microsoft have now started competitions where you can win real prizes for gaining so many points in a race against other gamers all over the world.
When I heard of Microsoft’s black listing of saves I quickly made a utility to see if a save is on the blacklist and therefore unusable on other consoles than the one it was made on and set out to learn a bit more about the Xbox 360 save sharing scene. I was disgusted to find that instead of the useful saves sharing scene there had been for many years, spanning many consoles, the Xbox 360 saves scene was full of people wanting nothing more than saves to unlock more gamerscore points. I even saw threads requesting saves for certain titles with the largest Gamerscores on them, no doubt very useful if you are trying to win yourself some prizes.

I’ve been on the save sharing scene for many years now, am the authority on PS2 saves and I wholly agree with the steps Microsoft have taken in this latest update. The use of shared game saves to artificially increase Gamerscore, especially when competitions are being run where these cheaters stand gain from it, is deplorable. In some ways I am glad I never released the Xbox 360 saves backup software I wrote as I would hate to be responsible for the dirty tactics I have seen used to cheat your way to the top.

I understand a new method to still share games saves is being tested, I for one hope that this cheating of others is laid to rest for good or that Microsoft finds a way to stop people cheating Gamerscores but still allows the sharing of saves, be it to show of your best character in Tony Hawks or to help someone past a difficult area in a game.

Tags: , , ,

Kingdom Hearts 2 exposes PS3 backwards compatibility flaw

Sony’s backwards compatibility took a hit when they removed the PS2 hardware from the European Playstation 3. Gamers and critics roared loudly and dismissed the move as a bad one but Sony responded by producing figures detailing compatible games and the dismay subsided.

Players of Square-Enix’s superb Kingdom Hearts 2 are now faced with an awkward dilemma, they are powerless to finish this game on European Playstation 3, as discussed over at the forum, despite it being listed on Sony’s own compatibility chart as having “No known issues to date”.

This video shows the problem first hand at the point where you face off against the Hostile Program in Tron’s world. Keep an eye on the top right energy bar, towards the end you’ll notice it stops decreasing despite numerous attacks making the enemy impossible to defeat.

Fortuantly for those Playstation 3 owners with access to a Playstation 2 are in luck as a workaround is at hand, as detailed at PS2 Save Tools but as yet there is no sign of an update from Sony to fix this show stopping bug.

Tags: ,

New save sharing communities arise, how do they fare?

With the advent of the Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii there’s been a couple of new sites pop up to support the save trading community.
I’ve been checking on two sites in particular and have the following opinions.

First up there’s

Missing out on the elusive .com domain hasn’t deterred these guys one bit and they’ve started to make decent inroads into building a community for sharing Playstation 3 and Playstation 2 saves, in the suitable PS3 format of course.
The site has a blossoming community forum and whilst there doesn’t appear to be much technical talk there’s a good vibe and a decent amount of trading going on with helpful users.

Unfortunately I can’t be as kind about the main site. The design and content smack of “my first website”. I’m sorry to be harsh guys but the site looks poor and the content is sparse and not organised efficiently. Top marks for putting a forum up to encourage the community but please, enlist the services of a designer and sort your main site out. At worst use a portal system to keep the site tidy and organised.
I also had some difficulty finding the site in Google as it doesn’t rank well for Playstation 3 game saves, something that should be worked upon if possible. But not all is lost as it ranks quite well for PS3 game saves.

Overall the site has a lot of potential, the forum is something that will keep the users coming back but the main site needs some serious work and was off-putting on my first visit.

Next up we have Wii Save.

In contrast to PS3 saves, Wiisave has a beautiful front end and ranks well for the obvious search query. I’ve not come across the RW::Download script before but it does it’s job perfectly here. Having the content on the front page makes it easy for users to see new additions and keeps the site looking fresh and alive.
Information seems easy to reach but I’m not a fan of the javascript drop-down menu for each system supported by the Wii. It appears that for each save on the site there is a corresponding entry in the menu for the game. Once more saves are uploaded this is going to become unworkable, can you imagine a menu with 200+ entries on it?

Whilst I really like the clarity of the front page and the easy access to information, the site isn’t without problems.
The only way to communicate with other users of the site appears to be via a comments system which allows you to add comments to each save uploaded.
This simply isn’t enough to foster a community and eventually the users will move elsewhere. At the very least the admin should install a free message board such as phpBB and hack/edit it to accept the current user base and make future signups exist on both the main site and the forum.
I’ve also noticed the use of images directly next to Google ads, this is against the Ad-Sense Terms and Conditions and a shady technique at best.

In conclusion, the content of the site and it’s simple layout are a winner here but the lack of community features will result in the site loosing out long term.

Tags: , , , ,

Fragmented usernames, gamertags and profiles

I love online gaming.

I don’t get enough time to participate these days, nor do I own any of the “next gen” consoles, which is where I am led to believe the most enjoyable online experience can be found, particularly if you are like me and use your PC for work and your consoles for fun.

Earlier this week Sony opened up a service that allowed you to pre-book your online username/gamertag/persona (call it what you will) if the Playstation 3 hasn’t reached your country yet or you just don’t fancy paying the eBay prices for their latest toy.
I’m all for these services and decided to see if such a service was offered by Xbox Live. Apparently it is, so I duly entered my details only to find that my gamertag was already taken…

I’ve been using the online persona gothi since the 90’s, I’m pretty fortunate in that it’s an usual word (although at the time I was not aware of it’s religious connotations). I’ve made a name for myself by posting, and administrating, on many forums, creating websites, I’ve released hundreds of Xbox & PS2 saves, played in online tournaments, beta tested online PS2 games, written several widely used software programs and it’s even got to the point where some people think entering my username into a game makes you invincible. It doesn’t by the way, however using the cheat save I made for the Xbox version of XIII, which features my profile name, does.

I like to think I made myself known, I even own and the fact I cannot use my username, the one I have used for about a decade, on Xbox Live frustrates me.
I like how Xbox Live operates, one username for all games, but what do you do when your username is taken? Do I have any right to ask that the user of this name gives it up? I appear twice in the top 10 google results for gothi (not bad considering my username is a religous term), does all that give me enough leverage to say that “this is my online persona”?

As it stands both Microsoft’s and now Sony’s approach is reasonable but limited. You choose one name, but it is only unique to that system, and when a new system is released it can be mad scramble to get your name registered. In this case I clearly lost out on Xbox Live. To make matters worse, some games companies, seeing that users want one name across the systems, have created their own private database of usernames that allow you to have one name across their collection of games. Rather than improving matters this makes them worse as now there are even more private areas to register for and more chances to lose possession of your name. Without your name, and the reputation that follows it, who are you?

What I propose is a universal system where users can choose one name for all systems and games, regardless of publisher, designer or manufacturer.
By use of an open API games designers can verify ownership of a gamertag and other information, such as game specific data, can be stored on their own databases.

Is it too late for such a system? Maybe. I truly hope it isn’t and that some order can be brought to the chaos that is forming.

I’d like to know what others think of the fragmentation issue we’re in and how you see it in 5 years time…

Tags: , , , ,