This Month On Edge
The things that caught our eye during the production of E273
I’m writing this after one of the most frustrating weekends I’ve ever had with a game. DriveClub is broken; a game that was sold heavily on its social features currently has no social features at all. I’m furious. E272’ s Big Picture Mode article pointed out how Sony’s halo had slipped since its brilliant pre-release marketing of PS4. To me, its handling (sorry) of DriveClub has seen that halo fall off entirely.
This, lest we forget, was a game announced with great fanfare as a PS4 launch title, as the world’s most social racing game. At E3 last year, Sony used the cut-down PS Plus Edition of the game to sweeten the pill of the company now charging players for online multiplayer. Then the game was delayed, for almost a year, and what has emerged is clearly not finished. We expect content to be added after release, but not features, like the currently absent replay mode and dynamic weather.
And then the world’s most socially connected racer launched with server problems so bad that the PS Plus Edition had to be delayed again to prioritise paying customers. But even we can can’t connect. The fact that a patch came out on a Saturday evening suggests that the dev developers at Evolution have been working aro around the clock to get the problems fixed, but it hasn’t helped at all.
Unable to get online with the game, I sp spent a good chunk of the weekend at a frie friend’s house. He bought an Xbox One at lau launch, and recently picked up Forza Horizon 2, a and while we’ve spent the last 18 months or so gently ribbing each other for having backed the wrong horse, this was a chastening weekend. Forza looked great, Xbox Live was rock solid throughout, and with Steve Ballmer and Don Mattrick gone, I’m running low on anti-Microsoft ammo. Xbox One’s abysmal reveal handed the advantage to Sony, and while PS4’s sold well, it feels like the tide may now be turning in Microsoft’s favour. Andrew Holmes Sony execs insist they’re not complacent following PS4’s early success, but the DriveClub launch was a mess. Microsoft is clawing back in the battle for hearts and minds, if not in actual hardware sales, though at this rate that’ll change before too long. And we miss Ballmer, too.
I’ve been an Xbox One owner since day one. However, I’m starting to feel annoyed that I’ve just paid £40 for a year’s subscription to Xbox Live Gold when I don’t feel I’m getting anything from it. On my beloved 360 I had regular demos and Arcade games to try, and a whole host of nice apps. What do I have here? A free game every so often, and Channel 5 on demand.
Oh, and the chance to pay £55 for a new game. Look at Alien: Isolation’s page on the Xbox One store. There’s a tiny bit of text in a window, some static images, and that’s it. This is meant to be the all-in-one box that lets me get great new games from my couch. Am I supposed to be convinced to part with £55 based solely on a handful of static screenshots? I daren’t hold out any hopes for a downloadable demo, since they’re as rare as hens’ teeth lately. The 360 was my favourite machine since the glory days of the SNES and the PS1. This generation just feels wrong so far. Gareth Jones
“The game was delayed, for almost a year, and what has emerged is not finished”
The quiet death of the free demo is a sad result of the switch to the new generation. Microsoft insisted on there being demos for every XBLA game; perhaps it should do the same for videos on Xbox One.