The Buggiest Game in Consoles

Nominating Resistance 3 As The Buggiest Console Game

The buggiest game in consoles, at least in our eyes, has arrived, and it’s Resistance 3 for the PS3.

There have been a lot of buggy console games, especially after standard-issue local storage made it acceptable for game publishers to burp out a buggy videogame and then patch it with an online update. But this game writer says that Resistance 3 (R3) has taken the cake as the buggiest.

What’s An A Bug?

In game testing, an “A bug” (as opposed to a B or C bug) is a showstopper. When encountered, an A bug halts gameplay entirely, forcing the player to restart from a save or reboot the console completely. These are the kinds of bugs that cause games to get bad reviews. They’re also the kind of bugs that get games to be thrown out open windows.

In my day, whippersnapper, an A bug got serious attention. No game went out the door with such a bug. In fact, one of the final tests of any game on its way for approval (by Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft, usually) was a full start-to-finish playthrough in one session, usually performed by one ace game tester. No mean feat.

What Makes R3 The Buggiest

Simple: I’ve never seen this many A bugs in one title, and this is after a weighty patch.

Last weekend, I rented R3 and shortly after, hit a bug where the NPC I was following failed to open a door that led to the next part of the mill level. This lost me many minutes of playtime as I explored the sprawling level again, looking for possible exits. I wasn’t sure if it was an A bug or simply an NPC brainfart. Guess which it was? Fortunately the game came back to life after a full quit and restart. This happened on the second level of the campaign – not exactly hard to find.

Next up was the coal tower level in St. Louis. This level was clearly trouble for the game engine. Merely pressing the “aim” button caused a hard lockup for my PS3, twice. (The aim button is pretty important.) Once the lockup even corrupted the autosave, which meant the game reloaded at a black screen when restarted. Pieces of furniture don’t draw in the level, and picking up data folders causes crashes.

More St. Louis Bugs

Later in that same dadgum level. That big white space is… nothing. It should be the interior of a warehouse. Was it draw-in? A bad texture? A corrupt object?

buggiest-game

It’s always a bad sign when you look into the next room and see infinity. This next shot, facing what should be the warehouse’s floor and corner, was taken shortly before I advanced a few feet, fell through the bottom of the level, and died from hitting the bottom of the worldbox. Not a draw-in problem. Worse.

buggiest-game2

I got a little bit further and hit yet another stopper: my avatar got stuck in “run” mode when a cutscene triggered while I was running. I still had movement control when the cutscene ended, but my guy was stuck in his running pose. What else happens when you’re running? Right. You can’t shoot or change weapons.

That’s where I stopped playing this buggiest game of all console-o-rama.

What About Multiplayer?

I rented R3, and guess what? Sony has a new scheme where each copy of R3 ships with one code that enables online play. This means that renters can’t even sniff online play. Thanks a lot, Sony.

I definitely fear the day when we start seeing “standard” and “online enabled” versions of games, and online play is considered something “extra.”

What About The Game?

It hurts to dump on Resistance. I’ve played both of the previous Resistance games all the way through — and enjoyed them and Resistance multiplayer too. It’s a fine franchise. Although R3 suffers a bit from the chunky, camera-so-tight-you-can-barely-see-the-end-of-your-rifle gameplay that makes Gears of War such a self-parody, it’s still a hot blast of fun.

Insomniac’s website says that patch 1.05 is getting final Sony approval now. This is nice, but read between the lines. The fixes are almost entirely focused on multiplayer; out of some 40 items, the campaign gets one bulletpoint, “misc fixes.” Hmm.

I know MP is more important than SP to a lot of players. Even renters. And I know Insomniac had to kick out this puppy for the holiday season. But I saw a campaign that was vaporizing at the seams. And 1.05 means there have already been four patches.

With R3, Insomniac has taken some of the grind and repetition out of R2 gameplay and replaced it with some fun strategic challenges and chokepoints. Best of all, the game keeps upping the ante with the introduction of nasty, roided-up aliens, each badder than the last. I was looking forward to seeing several of them in play at the same time. I also was intrigued by the addition of upgradable weapon levels, much like Battlefield 3.

I wanted to keep playing. But the game wouldn’t let me. If this is the future of console gaming on the PS3, show me the exit now.

 

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