What We Played… While PSN Was Down

For much, but not all, of the world the PSN is now back up. Throughout those dark days of late April and early May endless gamers wailed in torment as their worlds’ seemingly fell apart and their lives became mere existences, devoid of purpose.

At least that is the impression you might have got from reading some of the many forum posts and comments on the subject.   Naturally, that was something of an over-reaction and for many it simply provided a reason to spend some quality time with single-player games or, horror of horrors, play on a console that was not made by Sony.

Here at TSA we spent some time sat around drinking tea and eating biscuits while we pondered the eternal question of what morsels of content would satisfy our ravening hoards of readers.  One of the suggestions was to resurrect the What We Played series from days gone by and the return of PSN seemed like as good a time to relaunch it as any, so here it is.

Hush Kris, be quiet

We are an eclectic bunch here at TSA and the ways in which the PSN outage affected us and the alternatives we turned to were many and varied.   All except one, our PS3-less Features Editor Kris.   He was quite happy to remind us on a regular basis that he was still thoroughly enjoying the online features of his Xbox 360 between bouts of the significantly less than thoroughly enjoyable Thor: God of Thunder and an old favourite, Shadow Complex.

He was not the only one who spent those weeks with an Xbox controller gripped tightly in his hands. Our resident fighting game expert, Delriach, spent the time honing his Mortal Kombat skills in preparation for a tournament in Chicago at the end of the month.  Dauntingly playing against other tournament players online that even he calls “really good” he thinks he’s learnt a lot, the only complaint being that the game’s netkode is not as optimized as it should be.  I doubt most of us are good enough to notice.

Many of us here are fortunate enough to be owners of multiple consoles and Matt was another who simply turned to his 360 whenever the urge for some online play took hold.  You may have already read how he spent some time with the Gears of War 3 Beta, using the Gnasher or Retro Lancer to deal violent death to anyone who tried to get clever with with a sawn-off shotgun.   When not running round with a chainsaw bayonet revved and ready he also spent some time with two of the big releases during the Great PSN Outage, Portal 2 and Brink.

A distinct lack of sympathy

[drop2]The heady days of higher education are a fading memory for some of us here but Josh was keen to remind us it’s not all fun and games.   “I have been away at university this year and so haven’t even been able to get on the PSN”, he said playing the student-life-is-tough card before adding, “so I didn’t really have any sympathy for you all”.  Despite being busy as the university year draws to a close his PS3 has not been completely neglected as he’s been through the Portal 2 single player game “a good few times”.

Toby is another who’s has been getting most of his thrills from exam revision of late.   Finding a few spare moments for gaming though he reports that he is another who is thoroughly enjoying Portal 2.   Finding the game’s combination of challenging puzzles, sinister story, smile-provoking charm and laugh-inducing Wheatley a mix to be savoured, he rightly calls it an unmissable experience.

Jim is also firmly ensconced in the run-up to his exams and thought to take advantage of the PSN being down as an opportunity to get some extra studying done.   After a brief dalliance with some single player action in Fallout: New Vegas, Bionic Commando and The Darkness his PS3 was consigned to weekend only play, making room for that extra study and some time with other platforms, primarily his iPod.

Gameloft are known for finding ‘inspiration’ in existing titles and their new iDevice MMO, Order and Chaos, borrows heavily from the likes of EverQuest and World of Warcraft streamlining the experience to suit handheld gaming.  “For the amount of high quality content available and the given price (£3.99 for the full game, £0.59 for monthly subscription,)”, Jim says, “Order and Chaos is a cheap, yet fantastic alternative to regular MMOs”.

Absolutely Fabulous

Our Tuffcub plasma-cut his way through Dead Space 2 and came away with mixed feelings, “it’s good but it did leave me wishing they could have added something new”.  While he thought there were some great moments there were also some “horribly predictable” ones before concluding that it is simply a very polished version of the first game.  He also played through the “awful” Homefront, some “slightly boring” Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and had some “excellent fun” with split-screen multi-player Blur.  Additionally, in his own inimitable words…

Apart from that I’ve been enjoying the sunshine, going clubbing, eating breast shaped cupcakes with woofy Ben from THQ, being given lots of free money, grooming Lewis Gaston via Twitter, playing Starhawk, making more mash-ups and generally being fabulous.

We’d expect nothing less TC.

Nautical but nice

[drop]Despite feeding you a steady stream of news nuggets Dan has still managed to find ample gaming time.  You have likely already read his views on Brink, but otherwise it’s Nintendo’s platforms that have been getting his attention.   His 3DS has seen plenty of action both above and below the waves with LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and Steel Diver while he has been getting his waggle on with Conduit 2 on the Wii.

As for myself, I was yet another playing Portal 2 and Steel Diver.  As I’ve still yet to complete the main story after around 150 hours of play, Fallout 3 found itself called back to my PS3 as you can’t beat a hard-fought slog through a blasted nuclear wasteland to keep your offline spirits up.

It was my PC that has seen the most gaming these past few weeks with the Potato Sack bundle of Indie games getting plenty of attention, particularly the brilliant tower defence game Defense Grid: The Awakening.   I’ve also been playing through Mass Effect 2 again, thanks to the free PC copy owners of Dragon Age II were given, when I wasn’t indulging my inner megalomaniac with Civilization V.

So how about yourselves?  How did you get your gaming fix while the PSN was down and now it’s back up what will you be stress-testing it with this weekend?



  1. I actually took a 2 week complete break from the PS3. I didn’t even notice not having played it really. It was nice actually.

    • Same here, that’s why I’m loving the free games their giving us. I went and did a bit of PC gaming on my house mates computer while it was down… Theme Hospital, Hotel Giant 2, New York City Tycoon (or whatever it’s called).

      A little off topic, but does anyone know what they are going to do about Aprils content? As they had a few games discounted that I wanted to buy at the time but didn’t have enough money. If they put it back up on the store, along with May’s content and assuming the free 30 days of PSN will start for people as soon as the store is back up. That potentially means the people who didn’t have PSN+ before will get 3 months worth of content in 1 month!

      • Me too, welcome break as was on a course so all good.

  2. I hope I’m first to reply just to say LEFT 4 DEAD 2. Yayayaya! DrNate, you love it. You love every mention. Get in! :-)

    Seriously, it’s been great fun and continues to be so. Seven of us in there last night as we’ve lost a few unsociable gits back to the PSN. ;-)

    • Every mention kills me a little more inside. Police will be finding bodies with L4D2 carved all over them for months before they decode the madness you have driven me to.

  3. Mass Effect 2, Mortal Kombat’s Story mode and Brink. Good Times

  4. Must admit, I barely skipped a beat, having multiple consoles (i.e., 3 PS3s). I spent most of the time playing Borderlands LAN.

    As an aside, maybe a future article could discuss (or list) PS3 games that work on a LAN?

  5. Because Civ V left my laptop a nervous wreck when I tried to install it, I settled for being all-conquering on Civ IV instead, and Eve when I needed to be social and PSN couldn’t oblige me. Other than that, finished off the single player mode on Medal of Honor, which was fun, and battled frustration and the possibilty of rage-quitting in my Pro Evo 2011 Master’s League campaign – good times.

  6. A bit of Portal 2 here, some Fallout 3 there and a portion of Red Dead for dessert. The only thing I wanted to play but didn’t was ME2 (wanted the comic choices DLC), but it really didn’t affect me.

  7. Mostly Portal 2.I also picked up Prototype, Pure and Ashes Cricket 2009 for £18 so I’ve been jumping between those. Just picked up Mortal Kombat and Lego PotC in the last few days … and hopefully L.A. Noire later today.
    Didn’t really miss PSN too much … except for the store.

  8. Around hour #50 of Final Fantasy XIII here, so close to the plat i can already feel it!

  9. Lies! Kris never plays on Live! Nor did he whilst the PSN was down.

  10. Portal 2 kept me occupied throughout the outage. After I was done with that it was some Batman Arkham Asylum and after that it’s The Witcher 1 & 2 + L.A. Noire. Probably going to start off with The Witcher until the first Noire patch is released.

    • Arkham Asylum for me too. Finally finished it after having it lying there for about a year!

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