As we head into the new generation of gaming hardware, it’s a great time to think back and look at what the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii brought to the table for gaming. So, over the coming days, TSA’s writers will in turn be revisiting five moments, experiences and elements each, from the games which appeared on those machines.
Personally, it’s difficult to chose just five games to focus on, when I have played dozens and dozens over the course of the generation. However, in picking these I wanted to think back further than just this past year, step away from the most recent games, and look to the early years of my PS3 ownership.
I didn’t get my PlayStation 3 until 2008, and then it was off the back of the existing and upcoming exclusives on the system catching my eye. Killzone 2’s release in 2009 in particular stood out as a graphical treat, and one which quite astonishingly managed to live up to that very first computer generated render, shown at the PS3’s unveiling in 2005.
Though the game’s colour palette was a little narrow, the graphics set the bar ever so high for what came after that to match, but as a game it also cemented itself as one of my favourite first person shooters. I loved the manner in which the cover system was implemented, the overall plot arc with its thinly veiled allusions to the Second Gulf War, and it was backed up by a multiplayer component that was so very popular for such a long time within TSA’s community.
But for me, it can come back to the early missions of the campaign as you descend through the fluffy white clouds onto the hellish beach, fighting for a foothold on Helghan’s inhospitable surface.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Uncharted 2 will primarily be remembered for its single player, with gorgeous visuals, a compelling story and a world filled with genuine feeling and convincing characters.
However, it also held onto a surprising wild card – Multiplayer. Many people were unconvinced that Naughty Dog could create a multiplayer experience that worked well within this game universe, and yet I found myself playing it day in, day out alongside quite a few others on TSA.
It wasn’t the most complex experience, with a simple unlock path, weapons to pick up in the map, and quite a low number of players in-game, but it got so much of what it tried to do absolutely spot on. It went to the extent that we held tournaments and competitions for those that wanted to play, and saw highs that the sequel just couldn’t quite match.
This game saw the perfect union of a form of gameplay and a unique graphical aesthetic. The clean lines, bright lights and simple colours of the world allowed you to quite easily discern the route you needed to take, the alternative paths, and the streamlined route for your free running.
And the first person parkour was an absolute joy, too. When in full flow, with the edges of the screen blurred as you dashed past guards and enemies and avoided their gunfire, it was wonderful.
However, it was the abstracted time trials DLC pack that let the game shine, taking away the guards, the guns and any form of visual noise. It left you with blocks floating in the air, checkpoints to reach as quickly as possible and a time to beat. It was the core gameplay at its most pure and brilliant.
Here’s to the sequel.
This was probably the least popular of the MotorStorm games. The first was a popular racer for at the PS3’s launch and the second largely following on in a logical manner, but Apocalypse threw a lot of that out of the window, and felt very, very different.
But it was a huge technical masterpiece, going against the grain and keeping all of the graphics processing on the GPU, it allowed Evolution to use the Cell’s power to create tracks with huge moments of destruction. These scripted moments could completely and utterly change the way a track played, with the floor literally dropping out from underneath you, giant smokestacks collapsing down on the track and 16 players jostling for the lead amidst the chaos.
The only problem was that it was utterly predictable, after the first few goes on each level. Just as with any racer, you could learn the optimal route to take, the vehicle to use and the manner in which the world would transform. What it wanted just a smattering of randomisation to really keep you on your toes.
From a game filled with destruction, to one with nowhere near enough, MAG was a curious beast. So very flawed, but a huge achievement nonetheless, able to feature 256 players in a single battle for supremacy, something which hasn’t quite been matched on a console since.
Coming to this game after just a few weeks of the freeform online madness of Bad Company 2, it was jarring to have unsatisfying vehicles, and be unable to breach through walls or destroy building as you pleased. However, it was clearly pushing the hardware, both locally and remotely, very hard.
It had to be very smart to handle the number of players that it did, and so divided and compartmentalised quite rigidly. The signature Domination mode saw one side’s facility besieged from four fronts, neatly cutting the general scope of anyone’s battle down from 128 vs 128 to 32 vs 32, and then further dividing and focussing it by having a small selection of objectives to attack and defend, pushing you to work within squads of 8.
Quite gracefully, it turned the unwieldy into something more manageable and more engaging, to the extent that I sank enough time into the game to earn myself the platinum trophy.
We’ll be back later today with Aran’s memories from the last generation, before continuing over the rest of the week with those of the rest of the staff here at TSA.
Did not expect Motorstorm and MAG! You are quite the weird one. :-P
Never said I was normal!
MAG was awesome.
Getting into a good squad where there was voice communication and a plan of action was an experience that fundamentally changed my idea of what online gaming should be.
CoD fell flat for me as a result. BF3 was good, but still just not qute there.
Couldn’t agree more with the Uncharted comments: it was my favourite game this gen, and it was also the first one to have me hooked on multiplayer :)
I’ve loved all the motorstorm’s on the PS3 and hope for one on the 4,as for predictability in Apocalypse it did mix up which lap things would occur,the game I found more predictable would be Split Second you just knew how to avoid the explosions and what not even when people where randomly setting them off.
Split second is a ridiculously hard game, as these explosions can totally destroy your chances of winning. It was epic if you set the ultra explosions off and came out the other side in one piece!
I would be hard pressed to pick just five of my highlights from the previous generation – too many to choose from but KZ2 and UC2 would definitely be up there.
Tough choice to make-good selection though :)
I think mine would be;
The Last Of Us
I will never forget the moment I bought a PS3 and changed my gaming set:
PS2 + 14 inch CRT LG Mono Sound TV
PS3 + 26 inch LCD HD Ready TV
I just couldn’t believe my eyes xD
Same here. I went from shitty 22′ TV and PS2 to 32′ Flat Screen and PS3. The difference was mind blowing.
My top 5 are…
1. Uncharted 2
2. Fallout 3
5. Batman : Arkham Asylum
Still got TLoU and Metro LL amongst others to play through so one or more of the 5 would maybe change.
*Top 5 is in no particular order*
Interesting list, here’s my top 5 (in no particular order)
1. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
3. Mass Effect 2
4. Valkyria Chronicles
All five games really stand out for me when I think back over the gen. I do have quite a large backlog though, haven’t played Bioshock Infinite, Metro LL, Tales of Xillia and some other highly regarded games.
Great choices with Killzone and Mirrors Edge. I also really like Uncharted 2 but don’t get that nagging feeling to pop it in again for a quick play, not sure why, maybe I’ve forgotten why I liked it. Good article anyway. Can I come back to TSA now please?
Two words ‘Burnout Paradise’ the ultimate racer of last gen that had everything and was never equalled although several tried and failed!!
I’ve enjoyed all sorts and genres and still do from last gen so can’t really choose 5 specific games, but the above game would be very very high on the list.
Everything as in top notch single and multiplayer arcade gaming with tasty DLC!
Perfectly agree with the first three on the list. KZ2, Uncharted 2 was the best in the series, and how I loved Mirror’s Edge..! Still remember playing till my hands started to hurt when trying these excellent speedruns again and again..! You’ve got good taste in gaming..! ;o)