Who Cares If I Have to Swap Discs?

Columnist’s Note: Before I begin, to follow up on Chella’s excellent column last week, I also wanted to provide my personal take on the passing of Steve Jobs. I admit I was never the world’s biggest Steve Jobs fan. In fact, even with getting my first Apple product (a first generation iPod touch) I still was not a fan of his actions.

I thought of Jobs as a braggart, very arrogant, and a person who puts himself over anyone else to get his way. Maybe it was the film Pirates of Silicon Valley that gave me that impression of him.

But still, he was responsible for some impressive technology over the years. I never thought I’d see myself as a Mac user. Nor did I see myself using the current generation iPod touch as my portable game console of choice. I don’t even play many games on my Android phone now.

And we have to mention the work he did with Pixar to make movies such as the Toy Story trilogy possible. Needless to say, he was a huge figure in the technology world, and also the game industry, and we should thank him for his contributions. He will be greatly missed.

And now for your regularly scheduled column.

A week ago I decided to give id’s latest shooter Rage a try. Many people have complained about the game’s texture issues. There were various reports of the game’s textures streaming in so slow that they literally pop up in front of you. A Youtube video even demonstrated this issue on a ATI-graphic based PC, in addition to bringing the frame rate to a crawl.

I, however, am playing Rage on the 360. And aside from a slight case of pop up when turning too fast, I didn’t notice any significant issues at all, especially with the frame rate. While I don’t have the frame rate tracking capabilities that other sites such as Lens of Truth would have, I have not noticed any serious frame rate issues at all (despite LoT stating the game can drop down to 45 frames per second when the action gets too intense.)

Truth is, I can’t see any difference between 45 and 60 frames per second, and the game still runs fast, or as I like to call it, Modern Warfare speed.

Needless to say, I am really enjoying Rage. It is almost reminiscent of when I reviewed DOOM 3 on the original Xbox and asked how it was ported over so well.

But with playing Rage, there is something I had to do that I normally don’t do with games: installing the game onto my hard drive. The only previous Xbox 360 game I installed on my hard drive was Rock Band 2 (and eventually 3) but that’s because of how much I played it, and wanted to limit wear on the game disc.

Rage is a different story, because right from the beginning of the game, id Software strongly recommends that the game be installed to the hard drive for optimal performance. Sure I was given the option to install each disc as gameplay deemed necessary, but I felt it best to install all three discs onto the hard drive…all 22 GIGABYTES of it!

But with saying this, that’s when all the PS3 fanboys came along and started going off on me because of the one install I did. They constantly bragged about how since their game is on a Blu-ray disc, they would not need to swap discs during gameplay. Sure I do have to swap discs, but the truth is, how many times do I have to do that? It’s almost negligible, and I could care less if I have to swap them or not.

It’s much easier for me to do that and keep whatever precious hard drive space I have open than have to do an install for almost every game that comes out. The PS3 version of Rage, in fact, mandates an 8 GB install. Now with the 160 GB PS3 I have, unless I do some heavy micromanagement on the game data utility, my hard drive would be filled up quickly.

So I have to install one game? Big deal. It’s an exception rather than the rule, and I will stick with juggling around game discs in the meantime, thank you very much!

Currently Playing: Rage (Xbox 360,) Forza Motorsport 4 (Xbox 360)

Waiting For: Batman: Arkham City (360/PS3)

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