So as I said, I got into the Home beta. I’ve had a few people message me on PSN asking what I think of it, so hit the jump for my thoughts.
When I first put in my code for Home I was surprised that the download was only like 86 megs. I was certain there was no way that the entirety of Home could fit in such a small package, and I was correct. What this initial download contains is the character creator, and the first “harbor studio” apartment you get. Each area of home then needs to be downloaded upon attempting to enter it.
When you sign into Home for the first time it brings you directly to the character creation screen. I tried to make it look like me, but ended up failing pretty badly. There are preset heads, or you can choose between a list of preset features, or you can have full control over everything. I opted for full control. How this works, is you go into whatever feature, say the mouth. The each stick controls 2 different attributes (width and fullness, lets say on the left stick) each of which has an X value and a Y value. So if in the Width and Fullness option and you stay to the far left and go all the way to the top you may have a wide mouth, but the lips wouldn’t be full. If you stay on the bottom but go all the way to the right your mouth would be narrow, but with full lips. I say slowly because sometimes it moves so slowly that doesn’t seem like you’re doing anything because the change is so small. Holding R1 or L1 will rotate your avatar so you can get a better look. Overall the results of the characters look good, though they may not be what you had intended from the outset.
After you’re done with the character screen you hit start, then exit, and it drops you into your apartment. The walls are bare and there is no furniture. You can start dropping stuff in and its easy to move stuff around and place it where you want. Again, you rotate stuff with R/L1 and you set it into place with X. I was upset with how limited the furniture options were, but this is a beta, plus this is partially remedied later. You can also choose to apply wallpaper to your place which is some pretty cool looking patterns and designs like you’d find in those wall vinyl things you can get.
After I had dropped a few chairs and a couch and stuff (no TV available yet, DAMN) I went to the main area of home. A download screen popped up and there was another 30 or 40 meg download for this section of Home (which becomes a familiar theme throughout this first run through). Once finished I turned on my blue tooth headset and tried going around and talking to people. It seemed to work fine. There were trailers for Killzone 2, Resistance 2, and Playstation Network playing on the screens. And if you walk up to them the audio for them turns on and you are given the option to watch it full screen. Pretty cool. Unfortunately, these trailers are on loop at the moment. Off to the right there is some big audio thing where you can choose a song to play and your avatar dances to it. Kinda lame. Moving on.
I went into the mall next. After another download I went to the first store I saw, “Threads” there were a few new clothing options which were free to get (in the beta anyway). Then I went to the furniture store and got everything they had to offer. A few tables, some plants, various other knick nacks. etc. Finally I went to the real estate store where you can get the “summer home” (also free) which is a 2 floor house you can use in place of the studio. There were a few empty storefronts in the mall and the second floor had all the same stores as the first, but I’m sure that will change over time.
After the mall I went to the Game Space, where you can play simple arcade games, pool, go bowling, and there are more screens with trailers playing on them. Motorstorm 2 and some PSP commercials mostly. I tried a few of the arcade machines, and then headed over to the movie theatre area.
In here you can watch a trailer for something on a big screen with a bunch of other people and then discuss it. They were showing a trailer for “The Last Guy”. Not being really interested in the game I didn’t hang around too much.
I haven’t went into any games through home yet, but maybe this weekend I’ll try playing calling all cars or something with people from home. I also didnt see any way to get into game specific areas, but that may not be set up yet. I think that the service could end up being a good way to meet up with like minded people for some gaming action, but I’d like a lot more customization options when it goes live.