Version 0.9

2nd August 2005

I wonder how many words have been written on this subject? Too many Iíd hazard; but as someone once said to someone else (famous no doubt too) Ė Iíll write some more, the Queen wonít mind. I'm talking about games companies releasing unfinished games. The case in point is the fantastic online shooter Battlefield 2. Now donít get me wrong, no matter how much I rant here it shouldn't take away from how utterly awesome this game is. Itís eating my days and nights up right now (a review will follow next month). Despite this, though, there are several annoyances that have blemished all the early reviews and previews Iíve read and which I have now experienced first hand.

BF2 has a horrendously buggy interface for selecting online games Ė it can take around 15 minutes working with a slow or unresponsive GUI to find an open game. Worse is that you can wait five minutes for the interface to respond before realising that the game has crashed completely. My personal favourite bug is the ability to sort games by ping time: if you canít contact a server the ping time is zero, so this comes top of the list and it takes a good 20 seconds to scroll down the page. Awesome, huh?

The awesomeness described above could and frankly should have been fixed before release. No less than two weeks after release, a patch was announced; a patch that claimed to fix all of the issues that couldnít be fixed during the development of the game. Well funnily enough, the hurried patch did little to fix the situation Ė it contained bigger bugs than the original release. Hours after release EA took the patch down and urged everyone in the community re-install the original release. Good work. Days later, a hotfix! Genius: change the name from patch to hotfix EA. This was and is slightly better, but still doesnít address half of the issues of the original release. Now we are in a situation where within 2 months of its release EA are releasing their third patch, which will fix a laundry list of issues Ė issues which shouldnít have been in the original game. It just saddens me to see the worldís biggest publisher handling the sequel to what is one of the best online games released, in such a poor manor.

Maybe Iím being idealistic (of course the companies make more money with an earlier release). Surely that extra couple of percent and a lack of negative comments in reviews are worth something sales-wise? Iím fairly certain the 'Old Man of the 'Limb' will join me in a grumble about this creeping more and more into Xbox Live games too. Itís lazy, naughty, bad and wrong! Bad developers! BAD!