I was thinking about the insanity surrounding Killzone 2 reviews (to which Adam Sessler’s Soapbox rant is as good an introduction as any), and it got me considering the PS3.
I have one. I like it okay. I hold no ill against the platform, and in fact I wish I fired it up more often. But Sony is #3 is a race of three, after handily dominating the previous two generations. Every armchair publisher, game developer, pundit, and engineer on the 'net has chimed in with their thoughts about what’s wrong with it - the “free” online experience is lackluster and not well integrated, the community doesn’t extend well into the platform itself, it’s harder to program than it needs to be, it’s too expensive, whatever.
But the Killzone 2 reviews and nutty responses to it got me thinking - people are going apeshit about everything you say regarding Killzone 2 because it’s perceived that the PS3 needs this game to be a megahit. To be a “Halo” that draws people to the platform for years and many sequels to come. You’re not rating the game, you’re rating the PS3. You’re not describing what you thought of the game’s merits, you’re showing how loyal you are to the platform.
The same thing happened with MGS4, and to a lesser extent with LittileBigPlanet.
Now, fanboyism will always be fanboyism, and the perceived “big” upcoming exclusives will always bring them out of the woodwork. Sure. But with the PS3, this reliance on the latest big game to be the platform’s savior seems considerably stronger, and neverending. The PS3 started off weak, but 2008 was going to be “the year of the PS3”. When it wasn’t, everyone said 2009 would be. The eventual dominance of the PS3 seems perpetually just out of reach.
Meanwhile, the 360 and Wii have established themselves to the point where we can feel free to say a big game isn’t really all that great without it being a referendum on the whole platform. Will that point ever get here for the PS3? Please? Will we be able to find flaw in God of War 3 or Gran Turismo without it being taken as some sort of tacit slap in the face to the entire platform?
Or is this going to be an issue until the PS4 is announced?
How old should a game system be when it’s okay for a hotly anticipated exclusive to be just “okay” or even “good”? At what point is the system established enough for the gamers out there to accept that not every huge game will be perfect? And can the PS3, because of Sony’s fall from the industry lead, ever really reach that point? Or are we going to have to suffer this inanity every time a major PS3 game hits the market?