Always-on strikes again.
The sequel to everyone’s favorite nacho chip sponsored game, Doritos Crash Course, was released on the Xbox Live Arcade today and even though it’s available for free, it features pretty much everything that you love to hate about video games.
First off, you have to have an Xbox Live Gold account to download and play the game, so Xbox Live Silver members can’t even start the game unless an Xbox Live Gold account is also playing. It then requires that you always be connected to Xbox Live to play it, with no access whatsoever when you’re not connected to the internet. In the original Crash Course, which we loved by the way, you could play offline split-screen multiplayer, but not in the sequel, even though Xbox.com claims the game supports “Offline players 1-4″. Always-on gaming has been a huge topic lately, especially with all of the rumors (even if it now seems they aren’t true) about the next Xbox being an always-on console, even when playing single player games, so it’s very weird that Microsoft would put out an always-on game and bring even more negative attention to themselves.
Doritos Crash Course 2 also features micro-transactions, which I know many of you hate, but I have no idea how they work in Crash Course 2 since its online service has been down. All. Day. Long. The exact thing that everyone complained about with an always-on Xbox is happening to an always-on Xbox game. It may not be a huge game like SimCity, but I for one am extremely disappointed that one of the few free games we get on Xbox Live turned out to be something that so many of us hate.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the Xbox 360 and I will always get a multi-platform game on it before I would get it on my Playstation 3, but Microsoft just can’t seem to give away free games as well as Sony does. Sony gave Playstation Plus members the awesome Sleeping Dogs this month and Xbox Live Gold gets an always-on game that doesn’t work. The winner is clear.
I’m switching to Pringles.
Update #1 – 12pm: It looks like the online service is back up and the game should be working for most people now. The micro-transaction system allows you to buy coins and stars, which you can earn in-game as well, so you can unlock new content faster if you wish. At least it’s optional and you don’t have to buy anything with real money if you don’t want to, but it doesn’t save the game from being always/sometimes-on.
Update #2 – 6:30pm Annnnnnd, it’s down again. I think you see where this is going.