By delajed 4 Comments
I'm one of the many Playstation 3 loyalists, that have held off delving into what seems to be a bigger and better world that is the Xbox 360. So I've been clueless when it came to the achievement points craze that I've been hearing about for a bit, but now I can say that I finally understand it.
Sony's recent push for trophy support in its newer releases, and even retroactively patching in support for some older gems has been appreciated here.
As solid of a game Rock Band 2 is, it admittedly hasn't deserved all the hours I've been putting into it over the past month or so. It's basically lived in my PS3, while copies of NHL 09 and NBA 2K9 have been collecting dust beside the Wii. The picture would be more diversified if EA or 2K Sports joined the Trophy club (and even more varied if the Wii releases a must-have title). Trophy support has now become a real factor to my picking up a game.
I wouldn't be surprised if I put in more hours trying to expertly perfect songs on each instrument than I have on studying for any test I've written, or will write this year. The six hours I dedicated to the endless song list 2 alone, probably eclipses any time I've put into any assignments or papers. The sad part is I have all the intention in doing it all over again on expert, and if possible without a break - just for those elusive two trophies. As of now, I've grabbed 43 of the 51. I need that platinum as much as Chinese toddlers need gold medals.
Interestingly enough, as much of a trophy fiend I've become, I've yet to rent or buy, or even play another game with trophy support. I guess GTAIV should count, but I sold the game long before it got trophy support a couple of weeks back. Unfortunately any compelling release on the PS3 has been cross-platform, and if I can play it on the PC, chances are I'm playing it on that. This includes Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, and even Quantum of Solace (and Bioshock if you want to go back a bit). Resistance 2 and Little Big Planet looked to be must-have titles (with trophy support) until I was made aware of the lack lustre story/campaign in Resistance, and news of the recent copyright issues that stripped LBP of any opportunity I had in reliving video games of years past. Basically killing any motivation I had to picking up either game - though I am curious at where LBP will be in a couple of months.
Should trophy support have been an included feature at launch? Yes, along with in-game XMB-access which came in a firmware update two years after the console's release. Surprisingly it is Sony who looks more like Microsoft in its uncanny ability to release an unfinished product - insert any version of Windows here.
But I have to admit that they did do something right, instead of Microsoft's trivial point system, the trophy system is actually ranked, from bronze to platinum. Granted this isn't easily apparent, with the total trophy count, and current player "level" being the more prominent statistics - but a trophy rank breakdown is just a button press away.
There's also a bright-side to the lack of universal trophy support, in that a player's trophy score still carries some significance. Or at least you know that game's like Surf's Up, Kung Fu Panda, or (insert any kid's-movie-game here) had nothing to do with it. There's conceptually nothing wrong with these games (you tell me), but on the 360, it seems like you're awarded achievements for each button press or analog stick nudge - they're just too easy. Of course the potential pool of achievements are greatly reduced in games like these, but given the plethora of Pixar movie-games out there, they all add up. Likewise the PS3 looks to limit games of these varieties (as well as downloadable content) through a levelling system, which is closely tied to the types of trophies a player is awarded - but probably isn't immune to the same abuse.
And finally, trophies look to be more than simply bragging rights with your friends. The long-awaited release of Playstation Home, not only looks to be near, but will also utilize a player's trophy count and level - trophy hall anyone? I've been fortunate enough to get on the recent Home Beta, and have been pleasantly surprised with how involving the experience is. While the Xbox experience mimics Mii-like avatars, Home takes the Wii experience to a realistic level. To the point where you have your own room, as well as public places like the plaza, mall, and theatre, where you can dance and pose (and actually communicate - voice and text) with fellow Home residents. There is also an Arcade/Bowling Alley, where you can actually bowl and play a game of billiards with a random player. But I am hoping that Home utilizes trophies to a level further than a form of display - it would be awesome if trophies can somehow allow me to purchase that couch or rug for my pad.
With trophy support looking to be mandatory; Home hopefully releasing before the end of the year - the PS3 is finally looking like the complete experience it promised to be. Whether this depreciates the relevance of achievements will depend on how Sony handicaps the more casual games (trophy-wise) and more importantly, how it integrates with the Home experience, and if your hard-earned trophies become more than merely displayed hardware.
Whatever the case, chances are I'll still be working on that platinum trophy for Rock Band 2... A non-stop 84-song set-list session, on expert - talk about the almost impossible chore. Painkiller and Battery were probably written and made, for the sole purpose of ruining my life.
PS. I've yet to see or notice any trophy integration with the Home Beta, but I'll definitely look for it the next time I'm Home.