A Fan’s View: PlayStation Access – Part 1

This weekend saw PlayStation Access arrive in Birmingham, showing off all that’s best for Sony’s consoles. Posem attended the event and very kindly offered to share his opinions with us. Below you can find the first part of his experience, and we’ll return tomorrow with the exciting conclusion.

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PlayStation Access is an event which you may or may not be familiar with. It’s much like Beta Rooms from last year (which I also attended) and yet seems so much more than it. The premise of the event itself is simple; you apply for free tickets online, hopefully win them and then turn up at the supplied address on a certain date, to play unreleased games for a few hours. Oh, and you get free stuff as well. If the awesome bells aren’t ringing already then you need to see a doctor; mine were hammering when the email came through to say I was successful in getting in.

It was a wet Saturday morning in August, in Birmingham. A short train ride from Coventry for me, followed by a speedy trip through the Bull-Ring and onto the venue. From outside it was a simple brick warehouse on the side of the road, with a random queue standing beside it.

I joined the back of the queue with my friend Joel, a few minutes later it began to rain and everyone resigned themselves to ‘glum mode’. I have to admit PlayStation fans are a hardy bunch, we all huddled up to the wall not daring to budge and lose our place in the line, gradually getting wetter as the rain persisted. A shout from someone in a red Resistance 3 T-shirt indicated that we could all come queue inside, probably because they didn’t want soggy gamers ruining the upholstery. Whatever the reason was, we were in.

Instantly I could tell this was different to the gaming events I was used to, it was a lot darker inside with the only ambience coming from brightly coloured neon strips punctuating the darkness. The furniture was all black, with PlayStation branding on everything from the sofas to the bar; the atmosphere was moodier, hardier, but more cheerful than any other event I’ve been to.

The first game I got my hands on (I use the term loosely, the venue was sparsely populated so you could easily jump on a game with no queuing needed) was Journey. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since the first sketchy screenshots appeared online; however playing the game was a different experience entirely. It was interesting to say the least; I was in the middle of a desert with nothing around and no clue what to do.

A certain amount of discovery led me to find out that I could trudge forwards slowly in the sand, and I eventually discovered that pressing a button (I’m still unsure which one) let my player jump and emit a kind of bubble or expanding shield. It only survived briefly and didn’t seem to do anything, but it was progress. There were also objects on the far horizon, some kind of pillar graveyard, yet when I ran towards them they disappeared as a mirage.

Journey itself was a fantastic thing to play with, but after 10 minutes of aimlessly doing nothing in the sand I expected a prompt or some kind of hint (even a slight button hint) but nope, nothing at all. I was frustrated, so gave up playing it. I still love the game and will buy it on day one, but sadly my brief experience at Access with it was daunting to say the least.

Whether it was the lack of help or inability to fathom the controls because they just simply weren’t there to discover. I honestly pressed everything and tried everything I could think of, but I could only make the little thing trudge around in a depressing fashion in the sand, or show off by making expanding bubbles after briefly mashing the controls. You’ll either like Journey a lot, or not at all.

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25 Comments

  1. Journey seems quite an interesting prospect, I look forward to playing that one. Can’t wait for ICO/SoTC. I can’t really stand football games either haha thanks for letting us know how it went. Hopefully they will bring one of these to Northern Ireland at some point.

  2. Nice coverage there. I keep hoping they bring one closer to me as although i can get to Birmingham (closest to me) in a couple of hours i’d rather not travel on my own (the last days of this all my mates were on holiday) however if closer i probably would. Looking forward to next days coverage.

  3. That’s an interesting take on Journey, i myself found the beta fairly intuitive and the lack of info just encouraged me to explore, but now i’m wondering will some people find the experience exasperating instead of intriguing and uplifting. It’s probably not the best game to be played in that type of environment, it’s more of a personal experience and i’m not sure i could have relaxed into it with someone peering over my shoulder. – i think you probably figured that out for yourself as you’re obviously still interested! :)
    From the way you speak about it it’s clear Move is still new to you ;) I’m interested in how you fared with the sharpshooter.
    Also, nice to see i’m not alone in my aversion to footy games. Thanks for your report, looking forward to the second part.

    • Good point, fella. Journey, Flower, Limbo. All games that strike me as “oh” in a crowded, noisy environment (read: at a show). However, they’re all perfect for quiet, quality time invested with no distraction and absolute immersion.

    • Move is actually pretty old hat to me, been around it since release day. Its just one of those things I have different opinions on

      • Ah, i think i understand, you were being reservedly diplomatic regarding Move. ;)

      • i was withhelding informazional material for le good of ze Empire!

  4. Cannot wait for SOTC. Journey too, sounds odd, I think it will be great, but of course, won’t be agreed on by everyone..

  5. I’m guessing you mean *Dark* Souls rather than Demon’s Souls, as stated?

    Sounds like some good stuff was shown…

  6. How can you think Journey was fantastic to play if: “after 10 minutes of aimlessly doing nothing in the sand I expected a prompt or some kind of hint (even a slight button hint) but nope, nothing at all. I was frustrated, so gave up playing it.”?

    • Was thinking the same thing.

      10 minutes of aimless frustration = Day 1 purchase?

      Don’t think I’ll be bothering to read part 2 as part 1 reads like and EMO schoolboy’s diary….

      • ever read an emo boy’s diary? trust me, its not pretty and certainly nothing less this. more sushi and less anachronisms.

      • If 1976 really is your date of birth, don’t you think you should act it?

      • Please enlighten me DrNate as your post makes no sense. Are people over a certain age not allowed to have an opinion?

      • More they are mature enough not to be unnecessarily rude.

      • Just an opinion on the writing style and tone of the article. All I got from it was “not my type of thing” and “don’t like that”.

        And this

        “I was frustrated, so gave up playing it. I still love the game and will buy it on day one, but sadly my brief experience at Access with it was daunting to say the least.”

        makes no sense at all…

  7. Ah PlayStation Access, on Thursday there was more people working there than gamers.

    • Also a PS3 died… was flashing read… a symptom of YLoD.

      • red*

      • A flashing red light was symptomatic of a yellow light of death? …??

      • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think a flashing red light just means that the console has overheated.

      • No, it just got hot in the enclosed cases they were using.

        YLOD is VERY rare on any PS3 and non-existant on slims…

  8. Good write up, a nice mix between a blog and a write-up of the games. I really enjoyed the Glasgow one, you seem to have had fun!

    • Wish I got to go to the Glasgow one.

  9. Fun little read this, I can’t wait for the next one if it includes some AC tidbits!

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