I decided I was well overdue for a bit of high-definition console action while taking a week off work at the end of March, so I treated myself to a PlayStation 3. It arrived within days courtesy of Play.com, and naturally I’ve been giving it a good burning in. I have to admit: it’s pretty damned good!
I pretty much just got the console for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 4, the latest and supposedly last in the amazing Metal Gear Solid series. But having been sampling the many other delights on the console, the general notion of the PlayStation 3 not having plenty of fun games seems unwarranted. There’s enough here to keep me going for ages!
Some of these are a bit old so I’ll just drop down some general feelings of mine regarding the PlayStation 3 games I’ve played (all supplementary screenshots are in-game):
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. I’m enjoying the thick storyline of this, and the overall tone of the game gives me some serious vibes of Broken Sword — a classic adventure game. It even looks superficially reminiscent of some parts of Broken Sword 3 (yes, you have to climb those cliffs). Gameplay-wise it’s above average but not fantastically original, with gunfights being very similar in nature throughout the game but always tactically interesting due to your fragility and the emphasis on using cover. It’s more a game of exploration and storyline though, so it’s appropriately right up any adventure game fan’s alley.
Heavenly Sword. I haven’t got very far into this, but the scale of the combat has been repeatedly astounding me and it looks like another quality storyline’s on the cards. Great voice acting, sound effects, characters, and accessible but deep combat options keep things spicy. While I don’t want to focus on graphics too much, they really do deserve note here — just check out IGN’s image gallery for a taste, which pales in comparison to how intense it looks in motion. Easily one of the most technically accomplished PS3 titles.
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. I’m disappointed that there’re no damage models (supposedly being included in an Autumn 2008 patch), but for £17 I’ve been having a great time with this — in no small part because of the online play, which is a far cry from the offline play and has nutters running you off the road at every opportunity. It’s definitely a much purer racing game than most though with absolute focus on the driving/track physics, so I’ll need something like MotorStorm to satisfy my more destructive side. Especially fun if you have someone to play it with.
Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. The in-engine cutscenes are amazing, and the gameplay is fun and varied too. There’s a lot of scripting going on, but it makes the experience of stuff like the opening level’s city incredible due to how much is going on around you. This is one of the few platform games other than Nintendo’s efforts that’s worth your time thanks to a great combination of classic platforming, weaponry, and presentation. No particular part is outstanding, but it all comes together beautifully.
Assassin’s Creed. This is actually much better than I expected after witnessing the initial flurry of disappointment following its release. The graphics are amongst the best, the storyline seems pretty reasonable, the environment interaction and controls are brilliant, and I’ve been having fun going around doing what I’ve been asked to do. I imagine it’ll get repetitive if it doesn’t go beyond listening to conversations, picking pockets, and killing, but it’s fun while it lasts. I play it in short bursts so perhaps that helps.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma. I think this is really poor to be honest, and not my type of game at all. The environments are clearly of a last generation and’ve been given some superficial improvements, the gameplay doesn’t appeal to me at all, and the general atmosphere of the game just turns me off on every level. While I’m sure it’s a good buy for die-hard fans of the original (it would seem to be the definitive version), I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have liked it back when that came out either. I just don’t like how it feels and was unable to derive any real joy from it. Mostly just frustration.
MotorStorm. Crazy fun! MotorStorm has provided me with lots of laugh-out-loud moments, with thematically limited but insanely intricate courses leading to all sorts of crashes, near-misses, and road rage. The magic is in the opposition, with the AI vehicles being surprisingly vicious: they push you into rocks, they nudge your back so you spin out, and will generally do anything they can to screw you up — pretty realistic as it’s exactly the kind of scumbag behaviour online players exhibit too. My only real criticisms are that more courses would have been nice, and the surprising lack of non-online multiplayer: it’s quite clearly the type of game that’s begging for split-screen social play.
I’m of the opinion that all the above games sans Ninja Gaiden Sigma are must-play titles for any PlayStation 3 owner.
My LOVEFiLM list (monthly subscription for unlimited holding of 1–3 games/films at a time) is currently populated with Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, Burnout Paradise, Turok, and Resistance: Fall of Man. On my to-buy list is Metal Gear Solid 4, Battlefield: Bad Company, and Grand Theft Auto 4. I’m hopeful I can review all titles in the latter list after their release.
On a non-gaming note, the multimedia capabilities of the PlayStation 3 are quite an unsung asset. The level of polish to the music, DVD, and Blu-Ray playing software is impressive, with slick menus for navigating practically any format you stick in it — including a data DVD full of AVI files (which I found useful for watching some television programmes I’d missed and downloaded). With the console physically looking good too and outputting via HDMI, it’s a very feasible replacement for a lot of your home cinema equipment, and is probably more configurable/extensive than a lot of people’s home cinema equipment too. While I knew it could do this stuff, I didn’t expect it to be as sophisticated as it is.