Well, trying to play Heavy Rain has been quite the experience. After initially getting the disc, my play sessions were interrupted with a few instances of skipped audio and multiple system freezes. I didn't get too far in the game before getting frustrated and taking an extended break, so when someone suggested that the day-one patch available on PlayStation Network (PSN) might be causing the problem, it wasn't too painful to delete all my data and start over.
After removing the patch I still had one system freeze, but in general the game played much smoother than it had before. I thought this was the end to my issues until this afternoon, when I was greeted with my PS3 reporting some kind of failure to log onto PSN and getting booted back to the XMB desktop. At first I thought it was some kind of router malfunction so I checked on my equipment and tried again, only to be greeted with the same response. I tried a few different things like disabling the Internet connection option and so on, but nothing fixed the issue.
Now it's understandable that online services will have problems and go down occasionally. No piece of technology is infallible, and I'm not bothered by that. However, what does bother me is that Heavy Rain is a single-player game. There is no logical reason that the game cannot be played off-line, yet because of this reported error, I was completely unable to play the game at all. Other players quickly reported having similar experiences and expressed the same sort of confusion—why was the game not able to be played off-line? Even worse, some players have reported missing data or corrupted data on their hardware.
Besides Heavy Rain, I've heard that players are having problems with White Knight Chronicles and MAG, as well. There may be other games similarly affected, and as of the time of writing, no solution had been found, nor any satisfactory explanation.
Adding to the confusion, it's been alleged that only certain models of PS3 have been affected, with the "slim" configurations supposedly still functioning as normal. Some still believe that the issue is due to some sort of PSN failure, but others have put forth the theory that it's some kind of Y2K-inspired problem with the older consoles. Whatever the issue, Sony now has an incredible public relations nightmare on its hands. Not only was one of their biggest titles already greeted by a host of technical problems, players across the country are now effectively locked out of using hardware and software paid for with good, hard-earned money.
One other thing to consider: if the problem is indeed something similar to Y2K in nature and these consoles are now prevented from going online to download a fix, the possibility exists that owners of the affected units might have to actually physically send them in to be repaired—and don't even get me started on what would happen if a player's saved data ends up being unrecoverable.
Any way you slice it, this is a cluster-fudge on a galactic scale, and it's hard to imagine Sony getting themselves out of this fix unscathed. It's especially ironic since there's been much talk lately of Sony promoting the PS3 and its PSN service as being comparable or even better than what's available on the 360. Although it's true that Microsoft's Red Rings were (and still are) and ever-present nightmare, at least it made sense of a kind. Too much heat, melty innards, and so on… you can wrap your head around it. This PS3 issue is just bizarre from any angle, and doubly infuriating for being so.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody's looking, and his favorite game of all time is a toss-up between the first Mass Effect and The Witcher 3. You can catch his written work here at GameCritics and you can hear him weekly on the @SoVideogames Podcast. Follow Brad on Twitter and Instagram at @BradGallaway, or contact him via email:
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