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Wednesday 23 April 2003

PS2 Online [drdave]

Ahem. They've threatened to de-clan me if I don't blog, and replace me with a rebol automaton. So, with the threat of my chums finding out exactly how simple my processing really is and being revealed for the fraud that I am (shhh!), it looks as though I'll have to crank the blog-o-matic a couple of times. Down Lurks down!
So, while my comrades in hilarity have been turning a blind eye to how truely bug-ridden Raven Shield is, and how much of a pain in the arse it is to play, I've been taking the moral highground and looking further afield. How much further? Well, just across the room to the space under the tele as it happens. My old black chum, the PS2.
See, I happened upon a wizard offer from the distinguished gentlemen over at Sony. Those hearty philanthropists kindly agreed to let me pay 40 quid in exchange for the chance, neigh privilege, of testing their forthcoming Network kit. Huzzah thinks I, it'd be rude to turn down such an offer. And a couple of weeks later, my PS2 was sporting a monster chubby in the form of a network adaptor, and I was greedily fondling a copy of SOCOM and the USB headset.
Several hours later, when I'd finally overcome the initial fascination with stealthing round our flat wearing the headset and saying 'copy that' or 'alpha team go!' to nobody in particular, I decided to give the game itself a go. Its piss to set up the PS2 for network access. You can either click 'automatically detect settings', which worked fine for my setup, or you can get your network claws muddy with entrails and muck about with the settings yourself. Best not eh?
With all that sorted, its just a matter of clicking 'online' in SOCOM and you're away. Well, that's all you can do actually, since Sony have thoughtfully removed the single player code so as not to distract us from the job for which we're being paid, erm, have paid for. Whatever. Regardless, they reckon they'll send us the full version at the end of the trial. So thats okay.
As it turns out, SOCOM is actually pretty cool, but its not going to win any prizes for genre-redefining. If Raven Shield and Counter Strike are to the videogame world what The Godfather and Deerhunter are to the movie world, then SOCOM is probably on par with 'Dude, Where's My Car'. Deep it ain't, but it's good for the pleasure-centres when you can't be arsed with anything more mentally strenuous. The controls are as you would expect for a console fps - fairly ropey, and the visuals are the kind that only a mother could love. But it's got moxy, and kid, that goes a long way.
The best thing about it is the headset, which is a pip and a dandy. Well, its a pip anyway. I'll reserve the dandy accolade till after they find a way of preventing annoying little brothers from picking up the mic when big bro has gone for a slash and screaming 'FUCKING GEEKS!' in screeching falsetto over and over again. Luckily, there's a ten second limit for dealing with lil' Johnny. But as a means of coordinating assaults or even shouting abuse at a fallen comrade, voice comms are second to none.
So PS2 Online is a winner? Probably more like a weiner to be honest. For one thing, its not as good as XBox live. Voice comms are not standard across the range, and there is no universal buddy system, or even a universal username system. So while I could be Dr_Dave in one game, I might have to go into battle as Dr-Dave1974-- in another. That's not good. Nor is the forthcoming lineup, with such gems as Twisted Metal Black: Online about to tickle your gaming scrotum. TMB:O is shit incidentally. Sony sent me a free copy to test, and I refuse to say any more about it on the grounds that it makes me feel ill just thinking about it. Needless to say, our coffee table gained a new coaster this week.
That said, it'll sell by the bucketload, purely because Sony are the golden haired Wunderkind and can do no wrong. But in the final reckoning, PS2 online feels a lot like a half-arsed afterthought, and not the well rounded system that it deserves to be.


  1. But you can't be worse at SOCOM than you are at Raven Shield :)

  2. We need to take down, there's a god-awful picture of Dave on it now.

  3. The number one, love you long time fuckup with ps2 online is the lack of a hard disk. Socom is already fucked over with action replay cheating cuntors, and without a hard disk, sony can't patch the fucker. Some contrast to xbox live, which while not perfect either (the buddy systems shit, there's no central lobby, there's not many games), it's got patching and it uses it. Mechassaults been patched a bunch of times, not only with fixes but with nify new content too. CTF coming next month, wootang!

  4. Raven Shield is a pain in the arse to play? Oh dear lord, you've been sniffing your academic botty again ain't ya?! :) RS is *amazing* fun, and excellent on many fronts; I've yet to be seriously frustrated with it in any manner.
    In fact, the only problem we have is Muz :)

  5. Actually, you're as right as you are tall old chum. RS is brilliant with a capital BRILL! I just get incredibly frustrated with the lame network issues is all. There's nothing wrong with the game itself.

  6. Something needs to be explained. Since the patch, we've basically been playing every night without a single whiff of a problem. Then Dave turns up and suddenly Ubisoft falls over. Just like every other time Dave has come to play. Certain gentlemen have pointed out that statistically this was unlikely to due to chance and I'm inclined to agree. DAVE BREAKS IT!

  7. For the record, I would like to make a formal protest against Brit's libellous statement: Floyd, Dave and Am are surely more problematic than I.

  8. Dave, as usual you've jumped the gun. Remember, this is a trial!Quite a bit of what you've mentioned in this blog is wrong. Such as a username system and hard disk support.
    Also you're having a go at the lack of games. Well the trials been running all of a couple of weeks? Its not due for ages etc.

  9. What's wrong about it? They've released this to the public, and it doesn't have a buddy system or hard disk. So what are you on?
    And lack of games, hmm, xbox live had a stack for the trial. Sony sucks online, deal with it fanboy.

  10. I apologise. It was slim that mentioned the Hard disk

  11. Pod you crack-taking little Sony-drone... I never mentioned a hard disk (although I'm fairly certain that my PS2 hasnt got one built in... maybe Sony HQ can enlighten me on some hitherto undisclosed feature of my machine?). Neither the trial nor the released US version has a universal username system... I don't think its unreasonable to assume that the UK release won't either. As for the game line up, well perhaps you'd like to point to the killer app in the release line up (next month incidentally) from the Sony website: Hardware: Online ArenaMidnight Club IITribes: Aerial AssaultSOCOM Twisted Metal: Black OnlineDestruction Derby Arenas Looks pretty anemic to me... Or maybe its the prospect of Star Wars: Galaxies that's enough to raise the ire of Teh Pod Squad (tm).And most of all, I actually quite like the Sony Online thing, SOCOM especially. But you'd have to be fairly looney toons to suggest that the system is anywhere near as mature as Xbox live.

  12. It's a confused picture. Will it have a hard disk, won't it? Different kit for different region. No standard online features in games like Live does. It just looks confused, fragmented and a little bit shit.

  13. Midnight Club 2 is shit but DDArenas looks mighty tasty :)