I decided to install the patch for F1 2010 last night, it’s only 2MB, why not?
Well it turns out I hadn’t connected to Xbox Live in a while, so I also needed a new dashboard update. Ok, should be quick, I said yes and the bar was moving pretty fast. Then the Xbox had to reboot, fair enough, it has to apply stuff. Then another bar came up that took about 2 minutes. Right, into the game! What, I need another update? Why didn’t it just install the newest one the first time? Oh well, no choice but to do it again. After this one, a tutorial popped up offering to show me how to navigate the new menus, assuring me it’d only be a “few minutes”. In a small victory for my sanity it let me skip this step.
OK, time to get into the game and install the patch. Not so fast. A pop-up came up telling me that the Xbox Live terms and conditions had changed, and I had to read through them and accept them again. I tried to scroll down to get a jist of it but the movement speed was about one line per second. This looked to be another time investment, but I just said yes without scrolling all the way and thankfully it let me. NOW i’m in the game, and the patch download prompt has popped up, YES, please download! I was actually excited at this point. The ups and downs that led me here had sucked me into the world of progress bars, when my original intent was to drive an F1 car. The download of the patch itself was quick and painless, but I was in for some more bad news.
I have two gamertags on my Xbox 360, one is the original I made with just my first name. I made this before I got the internet on my console and never really intended to use the online features. After a year or two owning the console I got connected online and created a new profile because “Chris” was taken. This other profile I used to connect to the marketplace and get a few cool XBLA games and that was about it. All my saves were still with my original profile, in the interest of keeping things organised and tidy. Well it turns out the patched game can only be played with my online gamertag, which has no save data for the game, or any Xbox 360 game I own.
Alright, I thought, there’s nothing really worth saving in this game anyway, everything is unlocked from the start and my time trial times weren’t special. I started a new file on my other gamertag, time to go racing!
Now I had to watch the tutorial movies for the game again. I had to put all my info in first, which is reasonable, but it went much further than that. I had to sit there for another 2 minutes as the camera panned around my “interactive” garage and some lady tells me what each menu item means, in a somewhat insulting tone. “Over here we have options, where you can access game options”. I don’t need this. NOBODY needs this. She finally shut up and I went straight to time trial and ripped some awesome laps and it was a great feeling but I still feel robbed of 30 minutes of my life.
While i’m here i’ll let you know of another Codemasters game with an entry fee, and that’s DiRT 2. It has a mandatory intro movie that goes for about 2 minutes, and a setup at the start similar to F1 2010, but it gets worse. The game has almost nothing unlocked at the start. You get one track and one car to use in 3 different categories. You’ve then got to do the same races over and over to accumulate money to get more tracks. Then when you get a new track, you can’t drive on it unless you buy the right car for it, which means you have to do even more race “grinding”. The game is fun, but 95% of it is locked at the start. It’s not accessible. When I start up a game i’m not looking to make an investment, I want to have fun, and in this case, I wanna drive around different tracks. This isn’t an adventure game where I start at Point A and end up at Point B. There’s no exploration, it doesn’t need restricted access.
It should also be noted that none of these games have a local multiplayer mode, the only way to play with a friend is if they are NOT in the same room. Where’s the justification for all this? When did the gaming experience become secondary? Does anyone LIKE the way these games are set up?