Thursday, September 29, 2011

OnLive review

OnLive, aka the worst $70 I ever spent.

By Erik “ejc138” Coon

Recently OnLive had an offer that I couldn’t refuse: Pre-order Batman: Arkham City for $50 and get an OnLive system for free. I was already going to buy B:AC, so now I get a free system. How can I lose? I will spend the rest of this article explaining just how I lost.

Admittedly I didn’t do much research on the OnLive system. I was under the assumption that you downloaded the games and saved them on the system’s hard drive, much like Steam. That isn’t the case. All games are streaming. That means that every second you play the game, you are at the mercy of your internet connection.

I was stoked to fire the system up the day it arrived. I got home from work, opened the very nice packaging and plugged her in. Of course, first things first, there was an update I had to download. Problem number one: my internet connection was not fast enough to download the update, even though I pay for the best internet available. I had to wait until morning, because for some reason the internet always works better during the day.

Download finally complete, I wanted to play some games. However, the only game I owned was B:AC, and it isn’t out yet. So I bought the Play Pack for $10 and started playing Borderlands. The game looked awful, ran awful, and had so many “connection problems,” I felt like I was on dial up. If this thing can’t play a game that came out in ’09, how is it going to be able to play B:AC or, god forbid, Skyrim?

I’m not a hard core gamer, obviously, and I’m not a computer nerd. I don’t know how many mega-giggers my internet runs, or what “the cloud” is. I’m just a guy who wanted to play some damn video games. I hardwired the thing into the internet box and thought everything was going to be fine. I will say that the customer service was very fast at responding to my questions. But all the customer service in the world couldn’t make Borderlands play any better.

What makes me even more angry is that I read reviews ahead of time, and they were all good. The major gripe the reviewers had with the system was the lack of new games. I figured they were fixing that by adding games like, B:AC and Warhammer: Space Marine. The one thing I didn’t read is that you have to be close to a server, otherwise your ping is going to be too high. Even the best internet your provider offers will not be enough to stream two- year-old games, or even get the thing to connect. One of the reviews gave the system 8 out of 10. They raved about how the controller felt solid and the system itself is small. None of that matters if I can’t use the controller to play games.

I am very disappointed. I was hoping I had found a loophole to buying an expensive console or gaming computer. But the OnLive system is almost unplayable. Literally half the day it won’t connect to the internet, and the other half it plays like it’s on dial up. I’ve already sunk $70 into the system and talked a friend into buying it. Now I want to spread the word. The thing is junk. I give it 1 star out of 10. It doesn’t matter that the marketplace is easy to navigate or that the controller is solid, it won’t play games. Plain and simple, it doesn’t work.

If you liked this review you can find Erik at his blog,

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