Orange Box suffers on PS3

· by Steve · Read in about 2 min · (418 Words)

This is a shame - The Orange Box, a game which gave me much pleasure on the PC mostly thanks to Episode 2 and Portal, has come a bit of a cropper on PS3. It seems that poor framerates in the prettier parts of Episode 2, long load times and lag in Team Fortress 2 have caused it to get much lower review scores than it did on the 360 and PC.

It’s almost certainly a direct result of the fact that Valve don’t like the PS3 and thus gave it to a 3rd party to port; and porting code to an esoteric console that it was never designed for is bound not to be easy, especially when it’s someone elses code. My guess is that they were forced to stop optimising to hit Christmas, and that it will improve with patches later, as Assassins Creed has already done (it also suffered from similar problems on PS3 when released).

Still, it’s indicative of the differences between the consoles. The PS3 is a significantly different architecture to anything else out there (the 360 is mostly a multicore PC with some faster shared video memory, not a big leap), and there are still question marks as to whether that’s a good idea. It may well mean that the PS3 has a longer shelf life than the 360, but it also means that it’s harder for developers to exploit. That worked with the PS2, but given how technology has moved on, it’s less about being clever with esoteric hardware and more about how fast you can create great content these days.  Particularly as the PS3 has yet to display a poster child that demonstrates just why its unusual set-up justifies itself. I’ve heard more than one developer bitch to me over a drink about how they hate working with the PS3 as compared to other systems, and that’s not a good sign - although I guess there are others out there who love the uniqueness of it.

The question is whether over time, more titles will come out that are on an equal footing with the 360 version at launch, or exceeding it, as more libraries develop and developers get more used to it. The perception that so many multiplatform titles have glitches on PS3 was certainly one factor in my decision to avoid PS3 for now and go the 360 route, I doubt I’m the only one. Such a high-profile title like this suffering certainly isn’t good for its image.