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Prey: an insult to Xbox owners? [Update: nope]

Apparently 70-odd-percent of Prey’s sales have been on Xbox 360. Unless I’m very unlucky, that means there will soon be a lot of pissed-off customers.

Games occasionally freeze. I know that. But 26 reboots in an hour? The further into the game you get, the more buggy it becomes – and in the final levels, you’re lucky to get 30 seconds of play before it locks up again. It doesn’t seem to be a particular combination of moves, or enemies, or anything like that; it’s apparently random. It makes me wonder: did the developers actually test the game all the way through, or was it rushed out to hit a deadline?

In a budget game, the bugs would be appalling. In a £50 game, it’s unforgivable.

Update, a bit later…

Hmmm. Might be a hardware problem and not a game problem. I’m looking into it.

Update, later still…

Hmmm, again. Googling leads me to quite a few others who’ve had the same problem as me, and the culprits have been suggested as faulty discs, faulty drives, overheating xboxes or xboxes heading for complete and catastrophic hardware failure. I’m not convinced. If it were a faulty disc then the problem would happen at the same places each time, surely? If it were a drive, then other games would be affected (they aren’t). As for overheating, I played the game for six hours solid the other day without problems, and the temperatures were much, much higher than they were yesterday – when I gave up on Prey after an hour. And as for complete, catastrophic hardware failure… I bloody hope not.

Update, a few days later

Looks like a faulty disc, or a duff pressing at least (the disc surface is immaculate): booted the Xbox from cold, launched the game and went “woah!” as an orchestral score blasted out. First time I’d heard it, and then I remembered the reviews saying Prey had an orchestral score. So there’s something off there. Naturally, the game crashed ten seconds later. Now for the dubious joys of Amazon’s returns policy…

Update, 27 July

Ah, the perils of blogging: the problem has now spread, so while before it was just Prey it’s now affecting all my Xbox games. Microsoft reckons that I’ve got a hardware fault that’s causing the console to overheat, so off to MS it goes. It turns out that Prey wasn’t the culprit, but the messenger.