The one about ports

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A few weeks ago, Matthew purchased a copy of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for the PS3. Things…things did not go well.

As the kindly gentleman above told you already, a few weeks ago I did indeed purchase a copy of Shadow of Mordor for my PS3.

I had heard good things about the game from a friend of mine who plays the game on PC. This is Mike over at Slandering Others Anonymously. He highly recommended the game, and I figured, even with the gimped Nemesis System, I’d still give it a whirl. At the very worst, It’d make a great comparison piece with the PC version and the Xbox One version later on.

So, I logged into the PSN and lo and behold, it was on sale for Black Friday. I payed $29.99 USD instead of the $59.99 EBGames is asking for it.

This turned out to be the game’s one saving grace.

As this isn’t intended to be a review, I am only going to give you the run down quickly. On PS3, textures don’t load properly, the characters don’t lipsynch unless we are in a cutscene, the game becomes more pixilated the longer you play and then the sound starts to hesitate or cut out entirely. Following that, the game usually craps the bed and crashes the whole console. This is all within one to two hours of play. Not good.

So, I did the usual rigmarole. I uninstalled and reinstalled, removed my save file and started over in the event the save was corrupted and causing my issue, I did a defrag of the PS3 HDD, and then e-mailed text support who told me to repeat these steps. Needless to say, it didn’t work.

My next response from tech support was less than assuring. They told me that their dev team was aware that this was a widespread issue, and apologized. They then told me that the dev team was still unsure as to the cause of the issue, and they had no more information as they were not in contact with the dev team.

Now there are three things the matter with this, the terrible response time notwithstanding.

First and foremost, why was the game released? This is the exact same crap we already dealt with surrounding Ubisoft and AC: Unity. And for good reason. Asking gamers to fork over in excess of $60 not counting sales tax for a game that is unplayable is ludicrous. And that’s what this game is. An unplayable, disheveled, poorly optimized mess.

Second, how in the world have you not figured this out already? It can’t be that difficult. Granted, I am not a coder or game designed, so I can only speculate. But if it runs fine on a new generation of console, but not the older one, I can only see a few possibilities.

It could be that the PS3 simply doesn’t have the power to deal with this particular game. Though I find this one rather hard to believe because it looks no better (and in most cases, substantially worse) than Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, or Borderlands.

It could be that the PS3’s harddrive is simply too slow, which is the most likely choice in my opinion. In addition to being in the HDD due to it being a PSN game, Mordor has atrocious load times, even going to and from the map or options menu.

If this is the case, and a SSD is the preferred route due to the quicker date transfer than it is up to you, as the company manufacturing the game, to say that up front. I’m ok with upgrading my hardware. Hell, a new SSD has been on my list of “things to do” for some time now. But I’m not going to go out and buy one now out of sheer, bloody-minded stubbornness

And lastly, there needs to be a lot more communication between tech support and the front line Customer Service guys. These folks are hanging their butts out over problems that the devs should have fixed in development.

I know I am usually the first one to say that it is impossible to predict all issues until a game is in the wild, but these “bugs” are far to widespread. This means that it was noticed, and someone in the shop said “Screw it. We’ll fix it after launch.”

If you’re going to port a game, that’s fine. I have no issue with that. But optimize it properly before you sell it to me. Before you sell it to anyone. I really wanted to play this game. Now? Now it languishes on my hard drive, and probably will forever.

I’m getting really tired of hearing “we’ll fix it after launch”. I think as a community who, no offence to the development studios, literally got these people to where they are by buying their products…I think we deserve more than “we’ll fix it after launch”.

Don’t you?

Take care.

PS: Please note, I am talking entirely about the PSN version of this game. If you have a physical copy, or an Xbox Live copy, or a physical Xbox 360 version, please relate how it works for you in the comments below. I’d love to hear that this is an isolated incident.

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The one about ports

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