Monday, December 31, 2012

What It's Like To Buy A Game On PlayStation Network

So I bought a Vita two weeks ago and I love the thing to death. I've been having a blast with Rayman Origins, Frobisher Says!, and WipEout 2048 among other games, but really, I bought it for Lumines: Electronic Symphony.

I've been holding off on buying Lumines just in case it goes on sale during Sony's Holiday Essentials sales they've been doing, or if it gets added to the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection that already includes big hits like WipEout 2048 and Gravity Rush. I already have so many games to play for my Vita that waiting a few weeks seemed like a relief, honestly.

Well, here we are in the third and final week of Holiday Essentials and Lumines is finally on sale. Maybe. I think. I'm not really sure.

Here's where the confusion comes from:

The first post that announced the sale listed it as part of the last week of the Holiday Essentials promotion, giving it a sale price of $24.99 or $17.49 for Plus members. But that doesn't match up with the Holiday Essentials promotion accurately because Lumines got a price drop to $29.99 a few weeks ago. Since the Holiday sales are supposed to be 30% off normally and 50% for Plus members, the price should be $20.99 for regular members and $14.99 for Plus members, but they were using the old MSRP of $35.99. So already, there's a problem.

Then the second post comes in, this time advertising the PlayStation Plus content for the week, including the Holiday Essentials sales. This one has the same list, sans Lumines. It's just completely missing from the update. So does the sale exist or doesn't it? I asked Morgan Haro, PlayStation's Community Manager, to clear things up. He had three responses. Here's the first:

I believe Lumines may have been a typo and wasn’t part of the sale. I’ll ask that the team remove it from the Holiday Sale post. Apologies for the miscommunication there.

Okay, so that's a bummer. It's just not on sale at all. What a weird, incredibly detailed typo to make. Oh wait, hold on a second. Morgan's second response:

Actualy, [sic] correction: Lumines is sill on sale in the Holiday Sale, there just is not an extra discount for Plus members. So all should be accurate.

Wait, what? It's part of Holiday Essentials, but... not... part of Holiday Essentials? I don't really get it.

EXTRA Correction; it will still be on sale, just not part of the Holiday Sale. You’ll be able to find the discount for it under the “weekly deals’ section of the Store. Sorry, everyone is a bit on new Years [sic] break mode! =)

Okay, there we go. That's better. So it is on sale, but it's not part of Holiday Essentials and therefore, does not have an extra discount for Plus members but will be listed under the Weekly Deals section of the PlayStation Store. All right. Everything's totally clear now, right?

Not quite. Fast-forward to the third post of the day, the one explaining the PlayStation Store update for the week, including price drops, sales, special promotion, PlayStation Plus updates, everything. Ultimately, this is the post that matters. And this post doesn't mention Lumines at all. What is going on?

I logged into the PlayStation Store and checked out the Weekly Deals section and Lumines: Electronic Symphony is nowhere to be found, but Lumines Supernova is apparently on sale for $9.99. Was that the typo? Did they just totally misread which game they were putting on sale? So I looked up Electronic Symphony directly.

It's listed as $20.99, a $9 sale. That's pretty good. Given Sony's track record today, that might not be the final sale price, but I went ahead and bought it anyway. Meanwhile, there are still people in the comments of the PlayStation Store update post who are still understandably confused about whether Electronic Symphony is on sale or not.

There also appears to be some confusion over the price of Touch My Katamari and Skullgirls, but I just got out of a price discrepancy issue and don't feel like wading directly into another one, so that's somebody else's battle.

Figuring out how much Lumines: Electronic Symphony would be on sale for today (if at all) was a five-hour journey. Why was it that complicated? My best guess is to look at the authors of each post.

  1. Pierre Gravereau, Sony's Senior Manager of Digital Distribution, wrote the initial post about the Holiday Essentials sale.
  2. Morgan Haro, Community Manager of PlayStation Digital Platforms, wrote the next post, which outlined the PlayStation Plus update.
  3. Grace Chen, Director of the PlayStation Store, wrote the final post, which went over the PlayStation Store update for the week.

I'll take a wild guess and say that these three probably don't proofread each other's posts.

But they should. Straight up, this shouldn't happen. I get that it's the holidays, but it's happened before. There needs to be real coordination between the different branches of the PlayStation Network. There's no reason that three different people working at the same company should have three different answers for "is Lumines on sale?"

Regardless, I own Lumines: Electronic Symphony now and I'm pretty stoked about that, even if it did take me five hours to figure out how much it would cost.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review // This Is 40

It was maybe an hour and 45 minutes into This Is 40 when I thought, "Oh my god, this movie is never going to end." And I don't mean that in a funny "I'm exaggerating for effect; obviously, the movie will end" kind of way, either. I mean that I briefly considered the possibility that this purgatory of a movie would literally never end. I thought the boring lives of Debbie and (hold on a second while I look up his name) Pete had somehow turned into The Truman Show and would just keep going and I was bound to sit there forever, watching their boring, boring lives play out.

Okay, listen. That sounds pretty harsh. I didn't hate the movie. In fact, I found it pleasantly surprising for a while. I was paying attention and sitting up straight in my seat and by god, I was even laughing. The film felt on track to being perfectly adequate. It's hard to hate a movie like that. Really, it's hard to feel anything for a movie like that.

But then it just kept going and going, introducing new threads right up until the time that some beautiful person finally told Judd Apatow to end the fucking movie already, and so it just does.

There's no restraint. The movie gets bored with itself and decides to spice things up by casually trying on and discarding new plot lines like a 16-year-old girl picking an outfit for the big party at Todd's house tonight. These are the kind of plot lines that would normally get their own movie, like "a woman tries to reconnect with her biological but estranged father who has his own family," or "a man in financial straits needs to stop lending money to his lazy father who is taking advantage of him."

So the movie meanders absentmindedly from one story to the next, never really making progress anywhere, and I kept checking to see how much time had passed since I last checked. (Usually about eight minutes.)

There's too much going on, and the movie never feels enthusiastic about any of it. There's a fine premise in "Debbie and Pete come to terms with turning 40" for a comedy. It's loose enough that Apatow has plenty of room to sit back and tell jokes and get his characters in all sorts of hijinks. But when you start layering in all the other threads, like Pete's label is going out of business, and one of Debbie's employees is stealing money, and all the stuff with their parents, it chokes all the comedic potential right out of the movie.

The movie's biggest problem is Apatow's ambitious but misguided desire to make a meaningful comedy that
tries to be sad, heartfelt and funny all at once.

Think back to Superbad, inarguably Apatow's best film to date. What was the premise there? "Two friends go to a party." That's it. Apatow adds depth where it makes sense, like the fear of separation as the two deal with being accepted to different colleges, but he leaves it pretty open otherwise so he can just cram in whatever dumb, hilarious scenes he can.

It's not all bad, though. Jason Segel and Chris O'Dowd have a couple really funny scenes together addressing such hot topics as, "What is the difference between a gay man's mustache and a straight man's mustache?" and, "What the fuck is going on?"

Paul Rudd as Pete and Leslie Mann as Debbie both do a fine job, but their delivery sometimes feels jarringly unnatural, even for an Apatow comedy. The scene in the trailers where they talk about how Pete is actually "such a dick" is a good example.

The movie's biggest problem is Apatow's ambitious but misguided desire to make a meaningful comedy that tries to be sad, heartfelt and funny all at once. Funny People was good, but not nearly as funny as it should've been, and the same goes for This Is 40. Apatow throws as many attempts as he can muster at the wall to have some kind of emotional resonance that sticks, and none of them do. They just bloat an already bloated movie.

So This Is 40 ends up being not that funny, not that fun, and is so long that, for a fleeting moment, I actually thought it would never end. It has a few good laughs and is inoffensive enough that you could do worse, but I wouldn't recommend it if you have anything better to do. Seriously, anything at all.

This Is 40 / 2hr 13min / Released December 21, 2012


Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Many (Major) Missteps of Far Cry 3

I've been having a blast with Far Cry 3, but no game is perfect and neither is this one. I already covered the game's more annoying minor issues, the ones that pop up frequently but aren't that bad, really. They don't significantly detract from the quality of the game, but they're there. You can work around them, but you can't avoid them. You deal with them. They're the kind of flaws you can love the game in spite of.

But Far Cry 3 has major issues too, and they're much harder to deal with.

These are the ones that threaten to destroy all the goodwill the game builds up by being so awesome in so many other ways. These are the ones that don't just annoy; they infuriate. These are the ones that keep it from being the best game of the year.

No New Game +

Last time, I told you that I was considering starting the game over because "there's no one left to kill." I'm not going to do that anymore. Why? Because I don't want to give up all my upgraded skills from a dozen hours of earning experience points. I don't want to give up all my upgraded gear and weapons from a dozen hours of skinning the right animals and earning enough money. I don't want all the collectables to repopulate after a dozen hours of methodically hunting each down.

I don't want to start over from scratch; I just want to start over.

This might actually be the game's biggest flaw because it's literally the only thing stopping me from playing it right now. I'm out of guys to kill but I'll be damned if I'm giving up my wingsuit.

The Co-op Missions

In theory, co-op in Far Cry 3 should be a no-brainer. Just drop a few of my buddies into my world and unleash us to do whatever dumb, demented stuff comes to mind. But that would make too much sense, wouldn't it? Instead, Far Cry 3 delivers a series of claustrophobically linear, poorly designed missions that abandon literally everything good about the single-player campaign.

If you liked all the deranged, well-written characters of the story mode, that's gone. If you liked the freedom of exploring an entire island, that's gone. If you liked using all that space to pull off crazy strategies, that's gone. If you liked the interplay between nature and humanity as rampaging animals interjected into your fights, that's gone. If you liked enemies that take a realistic amount of damage, that's gone. If you liked having a mostly glitch-free and responsive experience, that's gone.

There is nothing good about Far Cry 3's co-op. It was a complete and total waste of resources.

Competitive Multiplayer

If I were to tell you to design the most cynical, creatively bankrupt multiplayer mode possible for Far Cry 3, a game otherwise brimming with imagination, what would you come up with? A progression-based Call of Duty ripoff with customizable weapons, perks, and kill streaks? Hey, what do you know? Ubisoft did too! Coincidence!

This is less offensive than the pile of filth that is the co-op mode because at least it works, but it's no less boring. There's just nothing special about it at all and I don't know why I'm supposed to play it over any of the other dozen Call of Duty clones.

I'm going to have to talk about the story in detail now, so if you haven't beaten the game yet and
don't want it spoiled, stop reading now.

The Second Half of the Game

Far Cry 3's early hours are defined by Vaas, that guy with a penchant for talking about the definition of insanity. Once he's gone, though, the game loses its magic. Hoyt, the next big bad on the roster, just can't hack it on his own and the story ends up puttering across the finish line instead of roaring. There are still a few really good moments post-Vaas, but by and large, the game gets pretty boring.

But it gets frustrating too. Even though the mechanics only get stronger the further into the game you go, the mission design gets uncharacteristically restrictive. "Here, have a scripted turret sequence," the game says dismissively. "Or I don't know, some instant-fail linear stealth missions. The kids like those, right?"

Not even a little bit, Far Cry 3. Not even a little bit.

Killing Vaas Too Early

I wasn't kidding about this one. Far Cry 3 lives and dies by Vaas. Michael Mando absolutely crushes it with his performance as Vaas with the kind of hard emotional swings at the drop of the hat that make a person truly scary. Every scene with Vaas is arresting and unsettling and terrifying in all the right ways. He's the kind of character that sticks with you for years, like Andrew Ryan or the G-Man.

Then the game tosses it all away halfway through. And for what? For Hoyt? Please. In most games, Hoyt would shine as a fun, dynamic villain more interesting than most, but next to Vaas, he's like a plank of wood with a face drawn on it.

I'm not even saying that I needed to have been Vaas the whole time or whatever. I just wanted more Vaas.

And that's it — between this article and the last one, that's everything I don't like about Far Cry 3. I wouldn't care enough to list it all out like this if I didn't love the game so much. It does so much right that the things it does wrong stick out that much more, and this is just a way to process it all.

Seriously, Far Cry 3 is a wonderful game. Go play it if you haven't already.


Friday, December 21, 2012

So I Bought A Vita

Yep. I saw this very quickly turning into a PSP situation for me, where I just kept putting it off and putting it off, waiting for it to drop in price to a comfortable level for so long that eventually I realized I'd may as well just wait for the Vita to come out.

But Sony's strategy of continually giving away Vita versions of PS3 games for free and extending PlayStation Plus to Vita at no extra cost is nothing short of brilliant. I didn't even realize how many Vita games I already own until recently, and that's ultimately what pushed me over the edge.

So I bit the bullet and got the Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified bundle, not because I wanted Call of Duty but because I figured I could just trade it in to GameStop and get a game I'm actually interested in.

I've been messing around with it for a few days now, and here's what I think so far:

  • I'm way too OCD for screen protectors. I spent literally an hour and a half putting this one on because there's a bubble in the top-left corner that doesn't affect anything except that it's driving me insane.
  • The Vita is a super slick device. Everything from how gorgeous the screen looks to how responsive the touch controls work is really impressive.
  • The way the Welcome Park application turns teaching you all the features of the Vita into a set of time trials is cool, but now I'm going to end up spending all my time in Welcome Park obsessing over getting my times down instead of playing actual Vita games. I will become the greatest Welcome Park player in the world.
  • It astounds me that the Facebook application is so bad when the Twitter application is so good.
  • I had fun playing some of Rayman Origins on PS3, but eventually it lost me. After playing the demo of it on Vita, it seems pretty clear that this is the place to play it. It is so goddamn good-looking.
  • Seriously, I cannot get over how awesome the screen is. I keep having to wipe my own drool from it.

  • Waking up and playing PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale without leaving my bed is great, but I'm pretty sure it means I'm never going to be able to get up and get ready for work on time again.
  • Also: in my first match online in the Vita version of All-Stars, I was playing against a Big Daddy and a Good Cole. Big Daddy and I were matching each other kill for kill and went into 4x Overtime, but I finally pulled ahead by a mile so he quit just before the match ended to nullify it. Seriously? Just take the loss, dude.
  • The analog sticks are pretty disappointing. They're too small and too sensitive, so I feel like there's no finesse to them. I'm finding myself naturally using the Vita's stellar D-pad whenever I can instead.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is an abomination. There's no story mode, just a series of missions with boring cut scenes before each. But the controls are so awkward even with two analog sticks and brain dead AI that I can't even make it past the first mission. And yet, in my first and only online match, I went 20:4 because everyone else was having more trouble than me.
  • Declassified doesn't even come with a box, presumably out of spite to make sure I can't trade it in for as much.
  • Frobisher Says is a delightfully weird WarioWare-esque palette cleanser after suffering through as much Declassified as I can take for one day.
  • I just can't wait for my 32GB memory card to get here. Right now I'm trying to avoid playing too many games knowing that I'll have to transfer it all over to the bigger card soon, but good lord I cannot wait to jump into Lumines: Electronic Symphony.

So far, I really, really like the Vita. I can definitely tell why people would be bored with it by now if they bought it at launch, but for me, there's so much I want to play that I can't imagine being bored with it for a very long time.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Many (Minor) Missteps of Far Cry 3

Guys, I'm hooked on Far Cry 3. Seriously, somebody pull me away from this thing. I've beaten the story, cleared out all the outposts, and collected all the relics, letters, and memory cards. And now I'm considering starting it all over again because there's no one left to kill.

But when you spend this much time with a game, you really start to notice all the minor flaws. After spending dozens of hours running, swimming, gliding, spelunking, and parachuting over every inch of Rook Island, I'm starting to notice the seams.

Even great games have little niggling issues, and this one is no different. They don't detract significantly from the overall experience, but they're there nonetheless. Here are all the things that have been bugging me while playing Far Cry 3.

Constant Notifications

Every time you pick up a relic. Every time you pick up a letter. Every time you pick up a memory card. Every time you fill up your loot rucksack. Every time you get a skill point. Every time there's a new objective. Every time you harvest a new plant. Every time you skin a new animal. Every time you meet a new person. Every time you go to a new location, drive a new vehicle, or use a new weapon.

Far Cry 3 is always bugging you to read something, manage something, or spend something, and it all totally breaks the flow. I don't care about the description of a bear while it's mauling me. I don't care about the description of a hibiscus flower when I'm just trying to make a healing syringe in the middle of a firefight. And good lord, I don't care about the descriptions of any of the relics ever because they're all the same description.

There's no option to turn any of it off (yet) so for right now, you'll just have to endure all the nagging pop-ups.

Mountain Climbing

How am I even supposed to scale this? I'll tell you how: by going all the way around and finding the developer-designated pathway up. Sometimes you can finesse your way up by continually sprinting and jumping, but it feels really clunky and you might end up sliding all the way down to the bottom.

For a game that gives you easy access to cars, ATVs, jet skis, hang gliders, infinite parachutes, and eventually a badass wingsuit, it feels a little prudish that you don't just have a grappling hook or some climbing pickaxes.

Context-Sensitive Buttons

In the middle of a chaotic firefight, this can mean a swift (and frustrating) death. Sometimes, when I'm low on health and I start holding triangle, the game thinks I'm trying to switch weapons. Sometimes, it decides that I didn't actually want it to do anything at all, that I just wanted it to know I'm still here. But no, game, I'm trying to hurry up and start the long heal animation so I don't die.

It's even worse in co-op and multiplayer where you'll launch into a reload animation instead of reviving a downed teammate and end up dying yourself as you just stand there over your friend like an idiot, reloading.

Lack Of Healing Options

In Far Cry 3, you heal yourself with medical syringes you craft from specific green plants you can harvest around the island. If you don't have any syringes, you'll launch into a painful-looking animation like the one above.

Now, when I'm embroiled in a hectic shootout with a dozen guys and a tiger on a burning hilltop, I don't mind burning one of my syringes to heal quickly and get back in the game. But when I'm alone and safe and have plenty of time for a long animation, I shouldn't have to waste a syringe.

For whatever reason, the medical syringes are the only type mapped to a face button instead of to a customizable spot on the directional pad. Two spots are reserved for your camera and for rocks. If I want to, I should have the option to swap one of them out for a medical syringe, which would make healing in a pinch easier and would allow me to heal manually outside of combat.

The Frame Rate

I'm playing the PlayStation 3 version of Far Cry 3, and for as fun and engaging as it is, it's not so hot on the technical side. After you've seen how gorgeous and smooth the PC version is, it's hard to look at the console versions the same way.

I can deal with a game having a paltry presentation because it needed to simplify geometry and remove effects to maintain a smooth frame rate, but Far Cry 3 on consoles doesn't have a smooth frame rate. Mind you, it's not nearly as bad as the atrocious Assassin's Creed III, but it still holds the game back.

Far Cry 3 makes some pretty major missteps too, and I'll be covering those as well, but these minor ones are what stick with me because they're always there. It's unfortunate that the game has these little flaws here and there, but it's still a fantastic experience overall.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

I Can't Even Tell What Dead Space 3's Monsters Are Anymore

Before Dead Space came out, I loved watching the developer diaries that came out because it showed just how much thought and care was being put into it. They'd talk about how the designs for the Necromorphs told a grotesque story of pain: bodies twisting, bones breaking, skin tearing. And that story was what made them so terrifying. You could see how the transformation happened just by looking at them, and that was my favorite part.

Now let's watch the new trailer for Dead Space 3:


Let's just ignore how tonally different it feels from Dead Space for a minute. Let's ignore how it feels claustrophobic not from tight, dangerous corridors where you're never more than a few feet from a monster viciously stalking you, but from too many people, too much dialogue, and too much story. Let's even ignore how the power dynamic has shifted from the first game's trailers that simply showed all the gruesome ways Isaac can die to all the empowering ways Isaac (and Carver) can kill.

Let's instead focus on what the hell was that?

Seriously, just look at this thing:

What is that? I mean, I guess it used to be a baby judging by the size, but what was the transformation process? Did it just get overtaken by black goo like in Spider-Man 3 and have an allergic reaction on its back? Does it feed through the top of the baby's skull now? What?

Or this:

I don't even know what I'm looking at anymore. I don't even know which direction this thing is pointing. How can I possibly be scared or grossed out by it if I can't even tell what it is? It's just some dumb mass of flesh.

And check this guy out:

Okay, this is just getting embarrassing. The guy looks like he fell out of a PlayStation-era Resident Evil. Is he seriously holding a pickaxe? They don't even use pickaxes anymore in Dead Space; that's what plasma cutters are for. And why are his eyes glowing? Ooooooh, scary. I'm shaking in my zero-gravity boots.

Remember in the first game when you watch the body of the Ishimura's captain get turned and you witness firsthand exactly how the Necromorphs are made? Remember all the care that was put into the opening scene of the second game where a guy gets transformed just inches from your face?

Those were stellar scenes that legitimized the Necromorph presence in that world, forgoing the typical notions of "nothing is scarier than the unknown" for a detailed look into the game's monster closet, and I loved it. The way Dead Space 3 seems to be tossing all that believability out the window in favor of visually incomprehensible beasts, crusty zombies with glowing eyes, and "human enemies [with] guns" is really disappointing to see.

I want to be excited for Dead Space 3, but everything they've shown off has inspired zero confidence in me. Here's hoping that it doesn't turn out as bad as that trailer makes it look.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Assassin's Creed III Made Me Swear Off Digital Distribution. PlayStation All-Stars and Far Cry 3 Brought Me Back.

I can't remember the last time I actually went to a store to buy a game. Getting up, putting on pants, dealing with people... It's all just a hassle. If I can't download the game directly, I'll order it online, but even that's not ideal. Paying for shipping, checking tracking numbers, and waiting for the game to show up isn't that much better than driving to a store. It's more convenient, sure, but it's slower and I still end up with a disc.

That's right, I don't want the disc, either. I'm at that stage. Even though getting up to swap discs is the most minor of inconveniences, it's an inconvenience nonetheless and it's often enough to kill an impulse to boot up a given game on a whim.

It's like a TV remote. If you've ever had a broken remote and needed to get up and walk to the TV every time you wanted to change the channel, you know that it radically changes how you watch television. You don't mindlessly surf. You don't fiddle with the volume. You don't flip back and forth between channels during commercial breaks. You stick with what you're already on.

Sony's been doing a fantastic job recently at offering full-priced retail games, the kind you'd normally have to buy at a store on a disc, through the PlayStation Network with its Day 1 Digital initiative. It's all old hat for the PC gamers who haven't bought a game on a disc in almost a decade, but on console, it's still new and exciting.

And I can't think of three more perfect games to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of digital distribution than Assassin's Creed III, Far Cry 3, and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

The only questions I had about buying Assassin's Creed III digitally were, "Should I buy the bundle with the season pass or get it piecemeal later?" and, "How soon can you take my money?" I was pumped.

But then it turned out to be a huge disappointment, and now I'm stuck with this 11GB file I don't want anymore.

I can't sell it back or give it to a friend or anything. All I can do is delete it, but that feels too much like deleting money, so instead, it just greets me every time I turn on my PS3 and reminds me how much money I wasted. An Assassin's Creed III disc would at least politely collect dust on the shelf like the latest useless trinket from Grandma and wait until it's convenient for me before reminding me how much money I wasted.

I'm pretty selective about the games I buy, so I hadn't had that problem before with a game I've downloaded. Just like that, I never wanted to download another game again for fear it would also be terrible and I'd be stuck with it.

But then Sony put PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale up for download and the temptation not to put on pants and leave the house was too strong to pass up. So I downloaded it.

Now, I find myself getting in a couple rounds of All-Stars any time my PS3 was on because, well, why not? I don't have to move or think about it at all, just tap a button and there we are. You get the same accessibility with little PSN games like Rock of Ages, but there's still something novel about a digital copy of a game that feels like I should have had to insert a disc first.

I don't like it, but because it's digital, I'm stuck with it.

Then Far Cry 3 came out as a download too, and now I'm constantly giving in to the urge to boot it up and sadistically hunt pirates in the jungle. It's just so easy.

Far Cry 3 and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale exemplify everything I've always loved about digital distribution: Like Just Cause 2 and Need For Speed: Most Wanted before them, they're impulse plays, games that allow me to get in for a few minutes or a few hours and feel fulfilled either way. I can load them up without any consideration of whether it's worth it to get off the couch and swap out the disc.

Assassin's Creed III is the total opposite: I don't like it, but because it's digital, I'm stuck with it. And to add insult to injury, it cost just as much as a retail copy. Need For Speed: Most Wanted had a $6 discount if you pre-ordered digitally, and Just Cause 2 was free as a PlayStation Plus promotion.

The only real downsides I've had with Sony's Day 1 program so far are with the timing. You can't preload the game and start playing it right at midnight when it releases, and for that matter, you can't even start downloading it at midnight because the PlayStation Store never updates until around 6 p.m. or later anyway.

Still, it's a great start, and bodes well for the future. It's encouraging that almost all games on the Wii U are available for download, even if the system doesn't actually have the memory to support it.

It's interesting how quickly my opinion of digital distribution changed over the course of a couple weeks. I'm sure publishers are happy that my copy of Assassin's Creed III is stuck with me for life, but I'd rather there be an alternative, like forfeiting my license to the game to get a percentage of my money back in credit.

It'll be really interesting to see what Sony and Microsoft do with digital distribution with their next consoles.