Editor: Diane Hutchinson Editor@girlgamersuk.com

Coming Back Home – Part 3

Posted by Bazaboy On May - 12 - 2010

Bazaboy continues his tour of Playstation Home and finally decides whether it should be a permanent installation on his limited HDD.

 
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Continuing my tour, my next visit was to the EA Sports centre which, like the Red bull beach, was separated into three different sections: the Golf Complex, Racing complex and Club Fight Night. First on my agenda was the golf complex which is full of advertising banners and posters for EA’s tiger Woods series, along with videos of Tiger putting it in the hole. The main draw here is that on either side of the room are two identical driving ranges, which are pretty self explanatory to use for anyone that has played one of the many golfing games there have been over the years. Anyone familiar with said games will find the control system second nature, with three taps on the x button setting your power and accuracy. The game plays out as a closest to the hole contest, but overall is not very exciting as there is only two greens to shoot for and the novelty soon wears thin.

 
Of more interest was the upstairs level of the Golf complex, where I discovered a Poker Room and this immediately piqued my interest, especially when I saw there were four tables and they all had empty seats. But my excitement quickly dwindled upon the realization that the empty seats could not be filled until the game had a winner. So no drop in and out for the games, which meant you had to wait for a game to finish before joining and a game of poker can take a bit of time. So if you are in Home looking for a game of poker, be prepared to wait some time for a game.

 
I was not prepared to wait and therefore moved onto the next stop of my little visit, which was the Racing Complex. This was pretty much the same layout as the golf, only using a different colour scheme and instead of the driving ranges, there was a remote control car racing circuit. This turned out to be a lot more fun than the golf, but maybe that’s just me. Again the racing is a pretty simple affair as the player takes control of a little Formula 1 type car, guiding it around the track with steering, accelerate and brake controls. There is also a boost button, with the boosts themselves being purchased using points which are gained from winning races against up four other players. This turned out to be quite a bit of fun, once you get into it. I even won myself a free t-shirt from it. Upstairs from the tracks is another poker room, similar to the Golf area, which unfortunately suffered from the same problem. A few more tables in these areas would go a long way to solving this slight hiccup.

 
The final spot in the EA space was Club Fight Night which, as the name may suggest, is a night club based around EA’s Fight Night franchise. It’s pretty easy to imagine this spot. Think your typical night club with a boxing ring in the centre of dance floor which had two huge robot type avatars in the corners. The thought of controlling these in a one on one fight would be quite cool. But I unfortunately could find a way to control these. Whether it’s a coming soon feature or just for show, who knows? But it would liven this space up no end which, other than serving as a place to hang out in, offered up no other entertainment.

 
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With that I moved onto the Audi space. I did not really know what to expect here. What I found was a sterile white building resembling an Audi showroom, but with only one car on show. There was also an Iron Man 2 website link and movie trailer showing, along with links to the company website and another movie screen showing Audi motor sport footage. Being a fan of these sports, I would have been more than happy if there had been more to it in this aspect. An Audi motorsport museum would have been ideal. But sadly it was not to be.

 
There are a couple of games available to play in this area. One was a simple move a circle around the screen with the analogue stick picking up similar black circles, while avoiding red ones. A simple concept, but also kind of addictive. More fun though, was the Audi Vertical Run game, which initially plays out like a version of Wipeout. Instead of a futuristic Flying craft, you drive a gravity defying Audi around a track that twists and winds its way upwards as the player hits boost pads and does his best to avoid pads which slow you down. The track ends with a completely vertical stretch which, when it comes to an end, sends your car flying up into the air. Depending on your speed, when you leave the end of the track you soar into the sky with records being kept of the highest flyers. This is quite tricky to get the hang of, but fun enough once you do so. Like most games in Home, there is an online leader board keeping track of the best runs. I have to say that the best thing about the Audi space is that the white clean look of it was perfect for a shot of the posing Stormtrooper.

 
The final spot I visited was Sony’s Event Landing which, on my visit, was a Hustle Kings Event. I am unsure of how often this changes or rotates from event to event but that one wass quite fun and involves all participating players being placed on a giant sized pool table. To give you an idea of the scale, the pool balls were roughly the same size as your avatar. The game is set over ten frames during which an invisible giant takes a pool shot. But before this happens the player has ten seconds to run around the table and position themselves in a spot that they think will be safe from any of the balls. At the end of the ten count, all players are frozen and the shot is taken. Scores for each frame are awarded to players who remain untouched by balls, but to achieve the high scores you need to be close to the path of the balls. Therefore, the nearer you are to a ball and the faster it is travelling as it passes you, the more points you will accumulate. The winner is the player with the greatest total come the end of the tenth frame. There are prizes for competing and winning this event. I walked away with a Hustle Kings cape solely for taking part and I also saw a couple of people wearing a matching crown which I assume you are awarded for winning the game. But, like many games in Home, the appeal soon wears thin.

 
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And so I come the end of my return visit to Home. Again I must state that there are a lot more new spaces than I have written about here, tying in with many other PS3 games. I have to say I am much more impressed with these spaces than I am with Sony’s own original areas, especially the ones that have managed to achieve the perfect balance of advertising and fun activities for the player. The Uncharted and Red Bull spaces being stand out moments in this respect from my visits.

 
And with that I come to the main reason I decided to give Home a second chance. Has enough been changed in the 3D world that would persuade me to keep it installed on my machines hard drive? To be honest, I was shocked that it was a pretty close call. The changes and space additions have definitely given players a lot more to explore and do within the community. But there are still things I would like to see added or changed. One of those main points being there are different versions of home for different regions throughout the world. I have a few American friends who I play a lot of games with on my PS3, but we can not get together in the same version of Home without us having to set up a separate account on our system for a different region. This is a shame because a lot of the games and activities within Home would be more fun with friends around. I would also love to see Sony do something along the lines of Microsoft’s Xbox avatars, with our Home avatars as our profile picture along with other things. This alone I am sure would have many more PS3 owners logging into Home to create a character and having a look around.

 
So although there have been a lot of great improvements within this virtual world, there are still things here I would like to see added to and improved upon before I sacrifice memory space to keeping it permanently installed. However, if said memory was not an issue or if I spent the money on upgrading my consoles HDD, Home in it’s current state would more than likely be a permanent install for me. Until that time, I will once again be deleting it from my Playstation.

 
I hope you have enjoyed reading this and if you have had good or bad experiences in Playstation Home I would love to hear about them. So feel free to leave a comment below or drop into the sites forums to discuss it in more detail. Until next time I wish you happy gaming.

 

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