Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony. Three dominant console makers with thee distinct images. Nintendo caters to nostalgia fans and a younger audience, creating characters and franchises focussing on platforming and reusing them well beyond the amount of times they should. Microsoft focuses on the more adult gamer, excelling in creating iconic shooting franchises that are epic in scale and have you cursing online at nine year olds. And Sony, they create some sort of adult aimed third person action adventure platformers that engross you in their worlds and grow up alongside their systems. I just recently started playing some Playstation titles after a 5 year stint with my XBOX 360 and I realize that I was missing out on some amazing Sony games.
It started with my purchase of a PS3 a few months ago. I bought an XBOX 360 in 2006 and it has been my baby ever since. We’ve had many late nights together, pouring countless hours into Gears of War, Halo, and Call of Duty and even made it through a Red Ring of Death. I love my 360 and I love shooting shit, which is something that Microsoft is very good at allowing me to do. A few months ago, Gamestop sent me a coupon for $100 off of a brand new 160gig PS3 and there was no way in hell I was going to pass up that offer, even if the PSN outage had been going on for a few weeks. I had held out on buying a PS3 because I really did not see an appealing line up of games, but I may have been a bit polluted in my thinking.
Games are now $60 a pop. Thats fucking outrageous. Especially if you are a student who has to pay for those games yourself. For years, I have been having to weigh my options and decide which game would be worthy of a purchase. Usually, it would come down to the game’s lasting appeal. If I am shelling out that much money for a game, I want the one that is the most fun, while also keeping me entertained for a good amount of time. Thats why I have been drawn to shooters. With Microsoft’s strong XBOX Live online gaming, the shooters I play provide for hundreds of hours of online replayability that brings something fresh with every new gamer I am matched up against. That, and I also absolutely love talking shit on my headset. There is something so satisfying to tell someone to eat shit after you blow their head off. And that has been great, but the PS3 helped me get back into the type of valuable games that I started off playing with as a kid.
Ratchet and Clank. Jack and Daxter. Crash Bandicoot. Ico. God of War. The PS2 started franchises that were epic to play through with worlds you could lose yourself in. I remember aging alongside Jack and Daxter and laughing with every new installation of Ratchet and Clank with its witty jokes. I played those games for hours, trying to obtain every new weapon upgrade and find all the collectibles within the levels. In today’s generation, Sony has created two new exclusive IPs that have become synonymous with the Playstation brand itself: Uncharted and Infamous. In the past few weeks, I have played through both the Uncharted’s and am currently nearing the end of the first Infamous title. Holy shit. These games rock. Uncharted has one of the best storylines I have experienced and beautiful visuals. Infamous gives way to a unique main character Cole, a normal citizen who is unwillingly given electric super powers and has to choose between saving people or wrecking havoc on the city. The stories are refreshing and you can clearly tell the developers made that element one of their top priorities.
But a game cannot be good without excellent gameplay, and these two franchises have both. The platforming in both games is seamless, jumping from rock to rock or window to window is done with ease and fluidity. The karma system in Infamous really transforms you into Cole, as it constantly makes you think about your actions and changes the game based on your choices. I am being an absolute ass hole in Infamous right now and just reached the highest bad karma ranking. Now when I walk the streets, citizens start yelling obsenities and hurl rocks at me. Finally, a game that actually recognizes your decisions and alters the game to make you realize the consequences.
Not only are the games engrossing, but they are fucking hard. In Uncharted, there were countless parts of the main story that took me 10 or more tries to get through, and missions of Infamous that were 20+. Thats a game. It forces you to be the master of the craft, to explore different ways of tackling an obstacle and rewards you with pure satisfaction when you come out on top. Too often in current gaming there is an easy way out of difficult challenges or merely no real challenges at all. In order to beat Infamous, you have to learn all of Cole’s powers and use each one to beat the increasingly difficult enemies. And for Uncharted, perfecting the use of the cover system and Drake’s climbing abilities is crucial to beating his adventure.
Sony may not have the best controller or online service, but it really has brought some amazing new AAA third person action adventure titles to the current generation. With the expansive number of titles the Playstation has been home to over the past 16 years, Sony’s 1st party games have branded their consoles in a favorable way. When I think of Playstation, I see it as a console that nurtures story driven adventure titles of quality. It is a smart spot they have put themselves in, having a brand image that captures an entirely different segment of the market compared to Microsoft and Nintendo. If they keep delivering more of these story driven adventure experiences, the Playstation will surely have a lengthy and successful life.
And now its back to Infamous for me.