Playstation 3 Buyer’s Guide For Newcomers

Remember when the Playstation 3 was $599? It was practically impossible to afford the system, let alone games. Even when it dropped to $400, it left very little wiggle room for buying software to even use on the system.

Well, with the announcement of the PS3 Slim, priced at $299, and a price cut to $299 for all other Playstation 3 SKU’s, there has never been a better time to pick one up. But hey, now you have some extra cash in your pocket, what are you going to spend it on?

I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 Playstation 3 titles, budget priced, that are worth snagging for your new system (in no particular order, mind you).

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1) Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Price – $30 – Undoubtedly one of the best games available on the Playstation 3, Uncharted is also one of the best looking, sporting visuals to simply die for, and that make your Playstation 3, and HDTV sing.

The story has rugged adventurer Nathan Drake searching for a treasure he believes his ancestor, famed explorer Francis Drake discovered after faking his death centuries ago. He teams up with his old pally Sully, and reporter Elena Fisher, and trek across a mysterious island while being pursued by pirates bent on recovering Drake’s fortune before Nathan and Co. do.

Gameplay is hectic firefights and exploration of a vast island filled with crypts, fortresses, and plenty of *cough* uncharted forest.

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2) Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – Price: $30 – Another of the best of the best in Playstation 3 land, MGS4 combines excellent visuals with an engaging story, great characters, and non-stop action and stealth gameplay on large maps, with a huge number of customizable weapons and other spy gadgets.

The story revolves around hardened soldier, Solid Snake, who is suffering from advanced aging due to him being  cloned from old technology, but is called upon for one last mission to put an end to the machinations of his deranged brother, Liquid Snake, who is planning on using a system called “Sons of the Patriots,” to control the nanomachines in each and every soldier, assembling his own personal army and bending them to his will.

Even though it’s the fourth in the series, the game fills players in on the long, complex (and many can argue, convoluted) story, and brings some excellent closure to Solid Snake’s story.

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3) Heavenly Sword – Price: $25 – Heavenly Sword was one of the most underappreciated games this generation, but stands toe to toe with any of the action/adventure game titles like God of War, Devil May Cry, and Ninja Gaiden.

The story of warrior Nariko’s plight to save her clan from the evil King Bohan, with the aid of the titular Heavenly Sword is beautiful, filled with great characters, a moving story, and truly enjoyable combat with a suprising amount of depth and strategy.

Some retailers have the game priced higher than $25 (try full price), but shop around, there are plenty retailers that don’t know the value of the game, and have it at budget prices (I snagged my copy for $24.99 at a “mom and pop” game store here in Los Angeles).

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4) Folklore – Price: $25 – Another underappreciated title, Folklore combined an intriguing mystery plot with art design straight out of a Jim Henson flick (think Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, etc), and an addicting gameplay mechanic that has you sucking the souls from enemies, and using their skills to defeat the dark spirits of the Netherworld (think of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, which also had the main character absorbing the souls of foes to use against them). The game also uses the motion controls to excellent affect, as you must yank and pull the souls from enemies.

Following the tale of two playable protagonists, Ellen and Keats, who have come to the mysterious town of Doolin for two very different reasons (Ellen is looking for her dead mother, and Keats is investigating a chilling call for help from a woman in danger), and get drawn into a world of ghosts, lost souls, and supernatural warfare. Truly a hidden gem of this generation, and worth picking up for any new PS3 owner.

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5) Warhawk – Price: $20 – Moving onto the realm of online, Warhawk is a 32 player, third person online only game that has the rival factions of the Eucadians and the Chernovans battling it out over vast battlefields utilizing everything from ground troops, jeeps, tanks, Warhawks, and even jetpacks (thanks to some nice downloadable content).

All the standard multi-player modes are here, from Team Deathmatch, to Deathmatch, to Capture the Flag, but there are also modes like Zones, Hero, and  Collection, the latter two added via a free patch.

Players gain rank up to level 20 by winning matches and getting kills, which they can compare with friends on leaderboards.

Warhawk was one of the very first online only games on the Playstation 3, and it is still one of the best, with great additional support from the developers, smooth online (as in, little to no lag), and hectic gameplay on an epic scale (the 32 player dogfights are simply some of the best in the industry). A winner on all accounts.

Bonus Bargain:

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Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction – Price: $30 – Following the continuing journies of Lombax Ratchet, and his best (and robotic), friend Clank as they try and stop the evil Emperor Tachyon from taking over the galaxy using a powerful new weapon.

The game is a hybrid action/platformer, with emphasis on unique, fun weapons, colorful visuals, space travel and lots and lots of humor. Anyone curious about what a game with Pixar like production values is like? Look no further than Ratchet and Clank Future.

BEST OF THE PSN:

The Playstation 3 also offers a vast number of quality titles via the Playstation Network, and here is a brief rundown of the best of the best.

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1) Wipout HD – Price: $14.99 – Gorgeous, full featured, futuristic racing.

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2) Fat Princess – Price: $14.99 – 32 players online mayhem with great humor, a unique artstyle, and fun take on classic Capture the flag gameplay.

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3) Super Stardust HD – Price: $9.99 – Excellent visuals, frantic twin analog stick shooter.

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4) Pixel Junk Monsters – Price: $9.99 – One of the best tower defense games on the network.

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5) Flower – Price – $9.99 – Beautiful, surreal, defies categorization, a must own for lovers of something different.

So there you have it, plenty of excellent games to help jumpstart your new PS3 collection. Have fun!

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