After being convinced by Tony Ponce, who said that there is no better time to buy a console than at the tail end of a generation (cheap price, firmware fixed, 7 years of exclusives)
, I decided to finally dish out the money and have a Station to Play on. I thought it would be interesting to have someone’s fresh perspective on the console, after most of it’s exclusive titles had come out, so here are my thoughts on some of the PS3's many exclusives (as well as some not-very exclusives that I played first on a PS3 this summer).
The Last of Us
The Last of Us
was good, but it didn't amaze me. The gameplay was solid, and at times really good
, but it was nothing out of the ordinary or especially innovative. I enjoyed the non-linearity of some of the later areas, as well as exploring old record stores and long-forgotten neighbourhoods. Objectively, it’s a 10/10, and everything is perfect about it - the writing and acting, the visuals and soundtrack, the gameplay and the general design. I just don’t feel excited when I talk about it, and I don’t pester everyone about why they should play it, like I do with Dark Souls
or you do with Ocarina of Time
/ A Link to the Past
/ Super Mario Bros. 3
. It just doesn’t do it for me.
I really don’t want to talk about Heavy Rain
for too long. The voice acting was bad, the story was full of plot holes
, and the camera and controls were awful. I can’t forgive a game that has to lie to me for its plot twist to work. Still, it has a decent soundtrack, so I came away with something good.
I had actually played Uncharted 2
before, when I stayed at a friend's house for a couple weeks, so I won’t talk much about that. However, contrary to popular opinion, I found Uncharted 3
to be generally better than its predecessor. The story was deeper, the writing and voice acting was charming and wise-cracking as always, even dipping its feet into questioning-Nathan-for-being-a-mass-murderer territory. I must admit though, my favourite Uncharted scene still takes place in 2
- I’ll never let go of getting on in a lush jungle, and seamlessly being taken to the snow-capped mountains - it was one long beautiful section of platforming and gunplay mixed together. I am, of course, talking about the train sequence.
I was always intrigued by the oft-talked about social aspects in Persona 3
, and Catherine
seemed to have a lot of that, even if simplified a bit. I came to Catherine
for the anime-story and the beautiful art style, but stayed for the excellent writing, challenging and addictive gameplay, and a wide selection of music
. I’m so used to playing very similar-in-style and structure games, so Catherine
came as a refreshing and unique game. From getting trivia about cocktails/sake/beer/whiskey to quickly rearranging and scrambling up falling blocks to the expressive characters at the bar and the wacky boss design, Catherine
has it all. Even Troy Baker voicing the main character. He really is in everything.
On a side note, I enjoyed playing a meta-game where I tried to remember where I had heard different character’s voices before, since they’d all voice-acted in various animes.
I actually played Journey
a while ago on my own at my brother’s house before I had a PS3 for myself. However, this time, I played it with a friend who primarily plays Call of Duty
, and it was really enjoyable for me to show him a really different game, a game that told such an emotional and wonderful story without words, which illustrates the connection you can have with another player, without knowing anything about them. The first time I played the game, I thought it was overrated and appreciated what it did but didn’t truly understand it. After playing it again, I view the game as a work of genius. It does SO much, so well, in such a short time and all non-verbally. If you’re interested at all, you should check out this talk that the game’s designer, Jenova Chen, gave at GDC 2013.
Shadow of the Colossus
I’ll be honest. Shadow of the Colossus
had too much hype on it to ever succeed with me. Still, I never felt wondering “what the big deal is”, I just didn’t have as much of an emotional reaction as others did. I didn’t, for example, cry at the ending, or when I felled the beautiful bird colossi that circled the lake. However, I still enjoyed the experience. I enjoyed riding around an empty - 16 colossi aside - and massive land, and the somewhat unclear map leading me to develop a relationship with the actual land (‘this is that waterfall I jumped down for the hell of it’ or, ‘this is that crevice that leads to Colossi 6’).
And, speaking of the landscape, I would often ignore the way my sword was leading me, to see where a certain man-made or natural structure in the land led. Rather than exploring to find collectibles, I was exploring to find out more about the world and be rewarded with newfound knowledge or a beautiful view, something that more recently, Antichamber
Metal Gear Solid
Due to a lack of funds, I haven’t gotten round to picking up the other Metal Gear Solid
games, as I surely will, hearing great things about Snake Eater
and Guns of the Patriots
, as well as wanting to catch up before The Phantom Pain
is released. Nevertheless, I had a chance to play the very first Metal Gear Solid
, and let me tell you, it was great. The stealth, and even more, the controls, were quite modern for a game from 1998. This must’ve been one of the best looking PSOne games, because it looks superb, even today. By comparison, I can’t bring myself to play Ocarina of Time
in its original form due to how badly it has aged. I can’t think of much else to say about this classic, but I will leave you with a question, “Do you think love can bloom even on a battlefield?”
Apart from the games themselves, I found myself liking how lightweight the PS3 controller was, and it felt strange holding the bulky 360 controller after a while away from it.
In general, the Playstation has impressed me. Maybe it’s just playing all these stellar games in a short span of time, but the quality of these very diverse games simply amaze me. And don’t worry, there’s still plenty more for me to play - I just haven’t gotten round to it yet. Leave me a few suggestions of what I should consider picking up next - on my list are the remaining Metal Gear Solid
’s, Ni no Kuni
and Valkyria Chronicles