Did Valve Make Good On Their Promise With The PS3?

Valve’s Gabe Newell probably wasn’t the pin-up of most PS3 fanboys until last Summer, his spitting, derogatory comments attracting more vitriol than one of TSA’s opinion pieces.  “A waste of everybody’s time,” he said once.  We’ve never said that…

But, regardless, at E3 last year he righted all the wrongs by saying that not only would Portal 2 [review] appear on the PS3, but it would be the “best version”, complete with Steam integration.  And, you know what, it looks like he might have been right; A2 posters are available now.

But let’s backtrack to the way Valve treated the PS3 up until now: basically, the support was bordering on risible – inferior ports like The Orange Box on the PS3 weren’t even handled by Valve, EA had to pick up the duties because the developers simply weren’t interested.

Sorry.  I mean they “didn’t have the resources” – whatever.

But he was sorry.  “If you look at the customers that I feel we’ve done the worst job at taking care of is the people who bought our product on the PS3 – Orange Box on PS3,” he said back in 2009. “Those are the people who I have trouble saying anything to other than ‘Yeah, I’m sorry. You have legitimate beef with us.”

The PS3 missed out on Left 4 Dead, too, although that’s a different story entirely.  But here we are, in April 2011, and Portal 2’s just about to be released for the PlayStation 3.  And, from what we’re seeing and hearing, a minor miracle has happened, at least for those that form Sony’s longstanding hardcore fanbase: Portal 2 really is “best on PS3”.

PC owners aren’t happy.  The user scores on Metacritic might be up at just over 7 at the moment, but they were down at just over 5 yesterday.  Metacritic’s evolved into something much bigger than most intended over the years, but it’s a shame it still harbours the moaning of fanboys with respect to its user score.

Why the whinging?  Because some PC owners feel their version is actually a port of the PS3 version, complete with “do not switch off your console” messages when saving, and the rather in-your-face paid for DLC available on launch day.  It’s not a ‘port’ at all, of course, but you can’t account for everybody.  Fancy that.

But the Xbox 360 version, which everyone assumed would be the slicker version after Valve’s past experience with the platform?  Not so.  Read, if you will, Lens Of Truth’s screenshot comparison.  I’m not aware of any particular slant taken by the site, I don’t personally frequent it, but those screenshots are certainly telling.

The lighting looks blander, the resolution considerably lower.  At least to me.  Or, rather, not just me – AotF offers up similar criticism.  “The question is: did Sony pay for Steam exclusivity, or did MS refuse it?” asks the site. “Either way, Valve rewarded Sony users with a ‘Steam-lite’ that includes access to custom user made levels, online play with PC/MAC users, and file saves on the steam system.”

The Steam integration isn’t on the 360, presumably due to the closed nature of the console.

An interesting situation, then.  From Valve casting the PS3 aside, to totally embracing it with a passion, Portal 2 shows just what a developer can do when they have the resources.  Naturally, the game’s brilliant whichever platform you decide to go for, but at least PS3 owners can rest easy knowing their version isn’t, for once, sub-par.

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40 Comments

  1. The only thing that annoys me with Portal 2 is the loading screens after EVERY chamber, can’t they have found a way to fix that now? but the game is brilliant, except for the plot twist half way through which makes no sense.

  2. Makes a change for a cross platform game to be better on the PS3 than 360 et al. RDR, I’m looking at you.

  3. User made levels? I wasn’t aware of that… interesting stuff.

    • I noticed that as well, I hadn’t heard anything about this before, but I hope its true.

      • It just gets better and better if this is right.

  4. i can’t tell the difference between the Xbox screenshot and the PS3 screenshot. There are going to be a lot of arguments between PS3 Fanboys and PC fanboys. It is good to see Valve is living up to their promise. Now can they release left 4 dead on PS3? as i want to kill some zombies with a few TSAers and my laptop won’t run L4D

    • You can’t? They are different… as nofi said, the resolution of the PS3’s is higher, if you pick out a small detail and compare it, you can notice it.

      • It’s true – There isn’t a great deal of difference, but if you look closely at the rounded edges of the room towards the stairs at the top of the shot (at least I assume they are stairs!), you can see jaggies on the Xbox version, but no sign of them on PS3.

        I personally never get concerned with these sorts of comparisons anyway due to only having the one console – It’s like the RDR comparisons which were apparently ‘shocking’… Not so to me, as I only have a PS3. All I really need to know is “Is it available for my console?”. It’s a much simpler life! :)

        I can see how these are useful to others who have multi platforms to choose from though. I mean, you wanna have the best version if possible, right?

      • Isn’t this just AA?

  5. Nice to see the PS3 version getting all the love ;)
    Arghh! is that the valve bloke on the picture? Like an obese Harry Potter?….change it…… please….. ;)

    • Have you ever seen someone looking more like a real life Peter Griffin?

    • And thats Half Life Ep. 3 back another week. Sigh.

  6. BOY- PLAYS X-BOX

    GIRL- *(SIGH)*

    BOY- WHATS WRONG

    GIRL- NOTHING

    BOY- TURNS OFF X-BOX

    GIRL- WHY ARENT YOU PLAYING

    BOY- BECAUSE THERES BETTER STUFF TO DO

    GIRL-*(BLUSHES)*

    BOY- TURNS ON PS3

    GIRL- ಠ_ಠ

  7. I think he said best version on any console ;)

    In terms of the PC version, I don’t think that many are bothered about the store, it’s something no other platform has.

    I fail to understand why you put the Metacritic thing up there, I’ve never seen you do that on a PS3 article before, I was under the impression Metacritic user scores are a joke?

    • I find the bitterness that comes with Metacritic’s user reviews to be sensationally misleading. Such a shame as I often read “user” reviews for other forms of entertainment (eg. films, etc).

      It’s also a good reminder to never trust one source. Always go digging around the internet and get a handful of opinions before committing money to something.

  8. Looking good.. not long til I get my hands on it!

  9. I lol’d at the first word. Vavle?! :P
    If I’m honest, I don’t really care for comparisons between the versions of the game – I’m only interested in the one I’m going to play. Of course, I’m always disappointed when I hear that the PS3 version is inferior to another version, but most of the time when I play the game, I just enjoy it for what it is – not what it is in another version. So it’s nice to see that for once in a while, the PS3 gets the “superior version”, but if the other versions are still great, and only slightly “worse” than another, I don’t see people complain the way they do.

    • Very well said, fella. As long as it’s wonderful on the platform I’m buying it for, sod the small differences.

    • Exactly, I always read the Digital Foundry comparison articles and unless you were some sort of cybog, you wouldn’t notice most of the differences in multi-platfrom games now.

      The differences between the different versions of Red Dead Redemption were meant to be massive as well but it didn’t bother me in the slightest.

    • There were games with severe differences. Like Bayonetta.

  10. Awesome and about effing time too.

    Finally..cross platform…PS3 FTW :-)

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