For the first time in a long time, my PlayStation 3 has sat completely idle over the course of an entire weekend. This is, of course, due to the arrival of my PlayStation 4, the shiny new console having nicked both the HDMI and power cables from its adjacent predecessor.
It’s only now, having already poured a good few hours into my next-gen gaming log, that I have truly been able to reflect on my time with the PlayStation 3 and those select gaming moments which will likely stay with me forever. A new generation of hardware may well be upon us, yet it’s far too late to call it the end of an era…
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
The very first Assassin’s Creed will always have a special place in my heart. Side-by-side with its shopping list of sequels, the original may not have aged well yet, back in 2007, it marked a watershed moment. I still remember returning home with my PlayStation 3 shortly after Christmas back in 2007, feeling fairly triumphant. This emotion soon turned to surprise and amazement after plugging myself into the Animus for the first time and revelling in what is still a technical gaming landmark.
As much as I treasure those memories, the sheer amount of enjoyment I had playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has to be my highlight of the series.
Even as I sift my way through the Caribbean in Black Flag, I still think back to the ever-charming Ezio and the sprawling landscape of Rome. Though I never truly appreciated the game’s historic narrative, I immediately connected with its refined mechanics and core gameplay. Brotherhood’s biggest revelation, however, was just how well its brand-new online multiplayer worked.
Scepticism turned to wonderment in what is still one of the most unique and refreshing multiplayer experiences to be had. No other game has replicated the sense of paranoia that I would feel hiding from my enemies, the panic whilst being chased, and the overwhelming triumph in fooling them with a well-placed decoy or bluff.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
It shames me to say that I only discovered Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune after the game received a much-anticipated trophy patch. Before that I had dismissed it as an under-par action/adventure game looking to capitalise on the absence of a certain Miss Lara Croft.
Needless to say, I was blown away by how well Drake’s Fortune came together. The gunplay felt fun and versatile, its sense of athleticism and verticality outstripping 360 counterpart, Gears of War. This wasn’t Uncharted’s only advantage over Epic’s macho shooting saga, however. The one thing that really set Drake’s Fortune apart was just how well its characters materialised in-game. Sure, some of us may be bored of him now but, back in 2007, Nolan North single-handedly changed the way I thought about story-telling in video games.
When Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was announced, naturally I was already on board. Like the original, it spun a simple tale of good versus evil, superimposed on a fabulous canvas depicting lost civilisations, ancient relics, and boundless riches. Though the story in itself wasn’t masterful, Among Thieves was yet another showcase in how well characters can drive a gaming experience. That, and a huge wealth of insane set-pieces which I still revisit from time to time.
Mass Effect 2
The Mass Effect series had me in a constant state of jealously before it finally went multi-platform in 2010. Combining my two favourite genres (third person shooter and RPG) into one, deftly sculpted package, BioWare’s sci-fi epic had me on verge of buying an Xbox 360 on more than one occasion.
Where Mass Effect felt a little clunky in places, its sequel refined just about everything, from gunplay and graphics down the series’ iconic dialogue wheels. It’s one of the only games in which I have scoured for every last byte of content, including all seven major DLC expansions. I just couldn’t get enough and even after hitting the level cap, every side mission or on-the-fly conversation with squaddies felt rewarding and integral to this ongoing, progressive adventure.
Therefore, going into Mass Effect 3, I was naturally under the impression that all my hard work and devotion would pay off. If anyone could deliver a succinct conclusion to one of the industry’s biggest trilogy, it had to BioWare. So far the journey had been a remarkable one in which I felt a genuine connection with just about every main character and I couldn’t wait to see how everything would wrap up.
Sadly, it all fell apart, and not just because of that horrendous ending. A number of characters I had bonded with were short-changed and relegated in a way that was almost funny. Grand set pieces were partly extinguished due to poor execution and the galactic war’s sense of scale was never felt in-game.
As for the ending, don’t get me started! I have an array of heated rants drafted across multiple computers and tablets, none of which are suitable for public viewing. Just know that BioWare has achieved a remarkable accolade. Not only has it produced perhaps my favourite game of the generation, the studio is also responsible for one of its most resounding disappointments!
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Before the previous generation of home consoles, online multiplayer was something enjoyed exclusively by PC gamers and those who actually knew what an ethernet cable was. Unlike many, my first online experience was actually on the PlayStation 2 and not its successor. I remember having to grift a mate’s cable and then jumping through various hoops before finally landing myself in a Star Wars: Battlefront II lobby. I also spent a week or so with Monster Hunter’s co-op, something which I have yet to replicate on a Sony console. (Thanks Nintendo)
Even though my experience with online gaming was minimal I knew right away that it was the future. This brief notion was more or less affirmed when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare launched in 2007. With it’s progressive levelling system, distinctive game modes, sharp gunplay, and accessible online options, soon everyone was talking about it.
Nowadays, when I purchase a game, it’s solely based on what I’ve seen online through reviews and videos. Back then, however, word of mouth still had its part to play. In the end I picked up Call of Duty after listening to classmates back in secondary school talk about it endlessly. I still remember the exact moment when my mates first drafted me into their lobby, unknowingly kick-starting my love for online shooters.
Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars
Choosing this final entry (or any of them in fact) was no easy task. Originally I had gone for my five favourite games of this generation though, looking back, I knew they certainly weren’t its most memorable. I had to gloss over games like The Last Of Us, Bioshock, Heavy Rain, and Metal Gear Solid 4 -all stellar in their own right, though not ground-breaking enough to warrant a place on my list.
Mind you, the same could be said about SARPBC. Combining footie with arcade racing mechanics, it was hardly a watershed moment when the PSN title launched in 2009. However, up until then, I personally had no connection or love for downloadable titles. The idea of paying for bonus content or games not on-disc seemed foreign to me up until that time. Upon seeing the SARPBC demo I downloaded it and that’s when it hit me: the realisation that smaller-format games could work and would soon become a cornerstone of that particular console generation.
Now, I could have quite easily listed another downloadable game. Flower, Journey, Stacking, and The Walking Dead (among many others) have a special place in my heart but SARPBC represented something different, for me at least. Through its simple mechanics and motorised adaptation of the beautiful game, it became a go-to game whenever grouped with mates or at a party. It was incredibly accessible, intense, and unpredictable, proving that even in an era of improved online gaming, the thrill of local play can rarely be topped.
Mass effect never really caught my attention, but I think I do have one of them on my download list from PS+. So I think I`ll give it a go at some point.
Closest to my choices so far! I went for Skate, Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted 2, Call of Duty 4 & Buzz!
Great point about downloadable/PSN games. PAIN is something I had from it’s launch and still play now. My best mate and I play it together frequently and it’s just so nuts, we end up laughing like twats. Sometimes the smaller, simpler games can bring the greatest joy.
Yeah I don’t know whether they’ve just fit better with my gaming habits in recent years but Journey, Defense Grid and Castle Crashers etc al have really made an impact on me this generation.
I feel like I’m the only one but I was so disappointed with Mass Effect 2. I thought the story in 1 was epic and although there were issues with some of the gameplay, the story got me through. Just felt 2 there wasn’t any story at all and 90% of the game was just finding different ship mates.
I have 3 waiting to play but lost interest. But again, that seems to be just me….
I agree with you man. I’ve only played the second Mass Effect but I can’t see what all the fuss was about. The only reason I stuck it out till the end, is that I believe in getting my money’s worth out of a game. (I rented it from BoomerangRentals)
As for top gaming moments…I have too many to mention in this comment, but I will say that my 1st truly stunning gaming moment on PS3 was when I started Warhawk for the first time. My first foray into playing online and is one experience that I’ll never forget.