To introduce you to the team we've put together here at Push Square, we asked each team member for two PS3 games they considered absolutely essential. Here, Chris Ingram from our US review team tackles the big moral questions: save or slaughter? And can too hard ever be hard enough?
When Ninja Gaiden Sigma sliced its way onto PS3 back in 2007, some may have seen this as just another remake of an old Xbox title, but fans of the hardcore series knew better: this was an upgrade to one of the best hardcore titles since gaming evolved into the third dimension. Ryu Hayabusa was stepping into the glory of HD for the first time, with a host of fresh content being strapped along for the ride. For fans, this was a remake to die for and helped to ease the pain of sinking a blade into the steep PS3 launch prices.
Bringing the 2D action of the series' past to life in full 3D action is no easy feat, but it’s right where Sigma gleams the brightest. With a silky smooth fighting engine that’s as deep as Ryu's blade is sharp, once your skills are honed in you'll be slicing and dicing through the demon fiends like butter. Add in the need for lightning quick reflexes and the only thing tighter than the fighting engine will be your grip on the controller.
Sharp HD visuals not only show off Ryu’s dizzyingly fast swordplay but the full visual overhaul also brings the mythical environments and enemies to life beautifully, still holding up nicely to recent game releases. Team Ninja didn’t stop at just a visual upgrade though: the lovely Rachel is playable for the first time, featuring her own fighting style and exclusive levels that help flesh out the storyline. Last but not least is the inclusion of the Dragon’s Claw and Tiger’s Fang sword set that Ryu dual wields, wildly increasing his ninja prowess.
Some games borrow from the best in their genre, but Sigma takes a game that defined a genre and raises it to the nth power. Ninja Gaiden Sigma is a dream come true for hardcore gamers and if you think you’ve got the skills to slash your way to the end credits then this is an essential title to add to your PS3 collection.
When BioShock landed on the PS3 a full year after its Xbox 360 release, one question was still floating through the industry: was it the greatest game of all time? Well, that’s a matter of personal opinion, but it’s also a testament to the enduring quality of Irrational Games’ masterpiece.
Stepping into the underwater dystopian city of Rapture is an experience that stays with you long after setting the controller down. It’s a city of bold 1960’s era American architecture, beautifully lit with neon lights illuminating the oceans and marine life around the city. The era’s musical classics slowly drift down the corridors from the restaurant jukeboxes and it’s easy to wander around playing the tourist, admiring the sights and sounds of this beautiful city below the sea.
Rapture founder Andrew Ryan calls his denizens "weak": the freedom scientists and doctors hold without law or morality restraints has turned men and women into crazed shadows of themselves. These discoveries allowed the human population to obtain unnatural powers through a substance called Adam and it quickly became a drug worth killing for.
Played in first person shooter style, BioShock is a survival horror shooter with a levelling system built in, allowing you access to these inhumane powers yourself. But it’s the freedom of fighting game that makes it so special: freezing enemies and shattering them to pieces with a strong blow from a pipe wrench; luring enemies into standing water and electrocuting them to death; tampering with enemy turrets and bots to turn them against themselves and far more – the choice is yours to make.
Then there are the choices you’re forced to make. Little Sisters roam around collecting Adam from deceased denizens: you can save or sacrifice the cute little girls for massive amounts of personal gain and drastic changes to the storyline. Either way, you’ll find yourself face to face with their protecting forces: Big Daddies. You never forget your first Big Daddy encounter.
BioShock is just as much of an experience as it is a game, and should be in every PS3 owner's collection.