Pain and the New Playstation StoreThe new firmware update 2.30 released yesterday (15th April 2008) not only brought us DTS-HD audio for Blu-Ray movies, but also a new Playstation Store. I have wanted to buy the game "PAIN" for a while now but thought I would hang on until the new PS Store was launched in order to try out the ordering process.
The new store is no longer a Web site but an application. There are some benefits of this, such as faster and smoother navigation. It still has to load the thumbnail images and info via the network so there are slight pauses but you don't have to wait if you don't want to. You can still navigate around without waiting for the pictures to load. That's great. The only down side is that when you click on something you don't get a normal 'loading' type animation in the corner. Instead, whatever you clicked on pulses. Once you realise this it makes sense.
Ordering "PAIN" from the store was incredibly easy, which was a very pleasant surprise. I hadn't given PSN my credit card details before so I had no credit in my 'wallet' (which is like a PSN bank you transfer money to in order to make purchases). It simply asked for my card details and informed me it needed to move £5 into my wallet before the purchase could continue. The game itself is only £4.99 but the minimum amount you can transfer to your wallet is £5, so I opted to purchase a couple of extra characters for "PAIN" too at 69p each so I didn't have to leave money in my account. Everything went through like a dream and the game and items started downloading just like anything else. I can't fault it.
The game "PAIN" from Idol Minds is brilliant fun. I won't go into too much detail because there are lots of reviews online about it, but suffice it to say the idea is to catapult your character into objects, vehicles and explosive crates to create as much pain and damage as possible. I know some other people have complained that there is only one level (the city) but there are several game modes to choose from and lots to unlock by reaching targets. These might be score targets or having to performing certain actions a number of times. Its been called a mini-game but I think 'casual' game is more accurate as the unlockables give it quite a bit of longevity. Its one of those games which is a simple concept, and great for having a quick play but before you know it you have been playing for 3 hours desperately trying to get that gold medal in a certain event. There are already about 6 downloadable characters to add for a very small fee and it looks like there is an area to expand the locations too - which I can't wait for.
There is a bit of adult humour in the game (with modes such as 'Spank the Monkey' and bonuses for crippling your character in various embarrassing ways) but the violence is less graphic than a classic Loony Tunes cartoon - but its just as funny. For this reason I let my daughter have a go and she loves it. She has no problems controlling it and was in stitches when her favourite character 'Cookie' was flung face first into an oncoming train with the usual cartoon sound effects.
If you sometimes like to pick up a game and play it for half an hour like I do (i.e. a casual gamer) without watching hours of pre-story or desperately trying to reach a save point, then I am sure you will love it. Highly recommended for under a fiver!