Review by Homsar999
"Definitely worth the wait"
Sony's PlayStation Home, which has been in the works for a couple of years and originally given a release date of 'Fall 2007', was a frequent target of ridicule in the gaming industry before its release, and for arguably good reason - who doesn't want to poke fun at a piece of vaporware (a dubious status it held until very recently) with a long and often protracted history of promised release dates? I wanted to as a PlayStation 3 owner who eagerly waited for its release, and often did.
However, after trying out Home (which was released just over two weeks before the writing of this review) and spending a great deal of time playing it and enjoying it, I take back everything bad I've ever said about Sony's failure to release it on time. The online world created by Sony offers unparalleled graphic quality, extremely low and often nonexistent lag time, and a wonderful sense of community that manifests itself just about everywhere in the game.
I'll begin with a general overview of what happens when you start up Home for the first time. When you begin Home, you're given a short tutorial and walkthrough about setting up an avatar for yourself. This avatar can be changed at a later time, as the Sony tutorial generally has you choose a preset avatar without customizations. Your character is given a small pre-furnished apartment ; you are given some storage cabinets, some Home logo-shaped lamps, a table, a footstool, a recliner, and a couch. You are given infinite copies of each piece of furniture, and can place more throughout the house as you wish. Other furniture or clothing can be bought with real-world money or won through competitions or scoring milestones set in in-game arcade machines.
One of the best qualities about PlayStation Home, and arguably its biggest draw, is its near-nonexistent 'lag' time. Massive online worlds like Habbo Hotel and Second Life are often prone to lags or ping-outs; PlayStation Home has few of either, if any. On a typical day, anyone accessing the service with a standard broadband modem like mine during peak hours will find that even the most crowded places have low lag levels. In an aggregated ten hours or so of playing Home, my connection was dropped only once.
Another large draw about PlayStation Home is its graphics. The graphics are, simply put, brilliant. They easily beat the graphics offered by similar virtual worlds like There and Second Life, and serve to create a strikingly realistic game experience that may lead others in real life to think that you're watching a movie instead of playing a game. In addition to its graphics, PlayStation Home offers a stunningly realistic physics system when moving objects around your house; furniture can be picked up and dropped, tipped over, or dropped on its side. If you wish to do so, you can easily make your apartment look like a real-life messy one.
The only drawback about PlayStation Home that prevents my review from being a perfect ten out of ten is the way the areas that your character can visit are structured; while venues like the Bowling Alley (which includes arcade machines featuring a somewhat scaled-back version of Endochrome, a game called 'Carriage Return', and a Breakout clone called 'Ice Break') and the Mall are fun and trendy places to visit, arcade machines and bowling lanes are few and far between and only limited to one person per machine (or one group per alley). In an online world where potentially tens of millions of people could be online, a small handful of bowling alleys and arcade machines will certainly not serve to service the large population. Hopefully, this will be fixed or somehow otherwise remedied when Home leaves its 'open beta' phase.
All in all, I believe Home's a great online service with boundless potential; it has great graphics, realistic physics, and a genuine sense of community that is often lacking in other online worlds. What's more, this is merely Sony's open beta of the game; if this is what their open beta looks like, I can't wait to see the final finished product.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/09
Game Release: PlayStation Home (US, 12/11/08)
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.