Top 5 Underappreciated Playstation 3 Titles
This generation of gaming has been rather rough for the Playstation 3. Since even before it’s release, it has been the whipping boy of the industry due to “high price,” “lack of games,” “losing exclusives,” “weak online,” “shoving Blu Ray down our throats,” and a myriad of other complaints that have become part of the console’s public perception, despite the questionable validity of those statements.
I won’t get into another discussion about the quality of game reviews these days, but I will say that more than just a few Playstation 3 titles haven’t gotten their dues. Even though some have grown into success over the years, they are generally dismissed by those that have never played them and experienced them for themselves. Without further ado, here are the top 5 most Underappreciated Playstation 3 exclusives.
5) Warhawk – This 32 player, online only third person shooter, available on Blu Ray and as a downloadable title on the PSN is probably one of the most balanced, intense, and epic online experiences you will find on the Playstation 3, and any other console. Seemless ground to air combat with soldiers, tanks, jeeps, Warhawks, turrets, and even jetpacks, waged on large maps simply have to be experienced for yourself.
The title didn’t recieve nearly as much credit as it should have for offering a practically lagless online experience with 32 players, and even moreso of it’s continued support from the developers with free and paid additional content that constantly keep things fresh. If you are a Playstation 3 owner, and have any sort of inkling towards online multi-player, then I can’t recommend Warhawk enough. The retail version even came with a headset to make it easier for players to communicate.
Just recently, developer Incognito opened up a space in Playstation Home dedicated to Warhawk, so clans could meet up in the virtual space and talk and strategize about tactics over a virtual representation of the games map and launch seemlessly into a match. Warhawk is truly a gem for any online fan.
4) Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Even though the sequel is getting a large amount of hype and coverage while it inches closer to it’s release this fall, the first adventure starring Nathan Drake was overshadowed by other heavy hitters of 2007 like Bioshock and Mass Effect.
The game stars everyman adventurer Nathan Drake as he searched for El Dorado. The story, which is heavy on charm and humor, was coupled with, inarguably, some of the best visuals and animations this generation has seen so far, and hectic third person firefights and gunplay. The characters were expertly portrayed and realized, and if there was one game out there that genuinely felt like a blockbuster movie that you were in control of, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is it. This is simply a must have title for any Playstation 3 owner, and absolutely shines when played on an HD set.
3) Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction – The fifth game in the action/platforming series, Tools of Destruction is probably the closest game I’ve ever played that felt like a Pixar movie. The smart humor, genuinely intriguing story, and great villain can be attributed to this feeling, not to mention the jaw-dropping, large scale visuals.
Ratchet and Clank visit 15 distinct planets on their quest to find the “Lombax Secret,” and keep it out of the hands of the tyranical Emperor Tachyon. The levels are huge, with plenty of secrets and paths, and the weapon set this go round is fantastic. From a gun that fires tornados that can be controlled with the Playstation 3’s motion controls, to a weapon that turns enemies into penguins, and another still that causes both regular enemies and bosses to dance uncontrollably, Tools of Destruction is as fun to play as it is to look at. There are even ship segments scattered throughout to add even more variety to the affair.
The story has a cliff-hanger ending, but don’t worry, the sequel is slated to release sometime this fall, and an inbetween “episode,” Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty was released last fall via the PSN, and is just as entertaining and fun as it’s Blu Ray counterpart, despite it’s scale.
2) Heavenly Sword – Any action/adventure fan worth his salt knows of Dante, Kratos, and Ryu Hyabusa, but not many know of the red-headed femme fatale known as Nariko from Ninja Theory’s epic Heavenly Sword.
On the story front, the game follows the tale of young Nariko, who has been burdoned with the task of protecting the godly weapon the Heavenly Sword from evil King Bohan and his army. In a bit of desperation, she welds the sword, sealing her fate as it begins to eat away at her life force. The game is pure action and combat, with a three stance based fighting system, where moves can be chained into one another and stances switched on the fly for varied, seemless combat.
The visuals are absolutely stunning, and the story is both humorous, dramatic, and touching, with amazing motion capture and facial animation, and performances by the entire cast, in particular Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) as King Bohan, and Anna Torve (Fringe) as Nariko. The combat is visceral, satisfying, and overall fun to play. The game was inexplicably lombasted by the media, killing any hopes of a sequel, but the story is self contained and concludes in a way that, despite leaving plenty of room for a sequel, is complete nontheless. A must have for action/adventure fans.
1) Folklore – If I were to describe Folklore to someone, I’d say that, in short, it’s Pokemon for Adults, as designed by Jim Henson’s creature shop. The game is an Action/RPG that features a beautiful musical score, an intriguing murder mystery plot, fun characters, beautiful visuals, and lots and lots of monsters.
The story centers around two playable characters, Ellen, and Keats, who have come to the Irish town of Doolin for two very different reasons that eventually cause their paths to cross. Ellen has recieved a letter from her mother, telling her to meet her at Doolin, the village of the dead, where she is waiting. Ellen, who has believed her mother to be dead for many years, rushes to the town. Keats, an investigative reporter for the magazine “Forgotten Realms,” recieves a cryptic, frantic phone call from someone who is in mortal danger and needs help. Sensing a story, he heads to Doolin, where both he and Ellen travel to the Netherworld, where they get involved in a battle in a supernatural world they never knew existed.
In this world, they have special abilities that allow them to collect, and utilize the souls of the dead, called “Folks.” These folks come in all different shapes and sizes and have specific strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. Folks can be assigned to the face buttons of the Dual Shock 3, and used to attack enemies. This will cause their soul to briefly extend from their body, where the player must “rope” the Folk’s soul into their body using a flick of the motion controls.
The combat also has a rather strategic element to it, because some Folks are immune to others, and weak to others, so it becomes a challenge in itself to discover which Folks are better suited to defeat the others. Along the way, players can discover pages of a tome that reveals certain ways to defeat creatures and bosses, but it’s more fun trying to figure it out yourself.
Art design, music design, and creature design are fantastic, with the creatures looking like something that stepped out of a Brian Froud sketchbook, and a “gotta catch ’em all” gameplay mechanic where you are driven to discover every Folk Soul spread across the various different levels of the Netherworld. Out of all of the titles here, Folklore is the most underappreciated, getting trashed in reviews, and ignored by most gamers.
It’s a shame that both Heavenly Sword and Folklore were the two worst casualties of 2007, due to a jaded, spiteful media. However, all of the games above can be found for bargain prices in stores these days, however (I just recently repurchased Heavenly Sword for $20), so it’s not all bad. Each one of these games is strongly recommended for Playstation 3 gamers that are looking for some games that are a breath of fresh air from the constant shooters permeating the marketplace.