Welcome to Push Square’s all-encompassing Games of the Generation series. In the lead up to the PlayStation 4’s release later this week, we’ll be rounding up our writers in an effort to look back at some of their favourite PlayStation 3 games. These titles have been hand-selected personally by each individual author, and now it's time for Video Editor Ben Potter to write about his favourites.
I remember the launch of PS3 vividly. It had been an agonizing three month wait since our North American cousins got theirs, and as I car-pooled my way home from working at a cake factory (no joke) with an equally excited colleague, we discussed the first thing that we’d do when we plugged it in. Little did I know the adventures that I would partake in over the course of the following six years, and without further ado, here are my five favourite games from this generation.
Insomniac Games' Hybrid-blasting adventure kept me sane through the PS3’s first troubled year, and so it earns a place on this list. The campaign was a particular standout, and I’m fiercely proud of being able to say that I beat it on Superhuman difficulty – a feat made more impressive when you go back and play it now, as it’s so damn hard. Then there was the multiplayer. Existing in a pre-Call of Duty 4 environment did it a world of good, as recent games in the series have let me down a little in that department. Perks and killstreak rewards were nonexistent, with everyone starting on a level playing field and having to pick up their weapons and grenades from spawn points instead, resulting in a mad, bloody dash for your favourite firearm.
The most recently released title on this list, Borderlands 2 took what the original didn’t do so well and hit it out of the park, and while I loved the first title in Gearbox’s shoot 'n’ loot series, the narrative aspects, or lack thereof, really put a dampener on things. Without a doubt, it was the humour that won me over. Ignoring the fact that Borderlands 2 had excellent shooting mechanics, an addictive quest system, and generally was just incredibly well designed, the misadventures of the villainous Handsome Jack and the other zany characters that you meet along the way kept a permanent smile etched on my face for the duration. You can be sure that I’ll play the hell out of the Vita version when it eventually sees a release – and here’s hoping for a Borderlands 3.
The gaming industry’s resident mad man David Cage gets a lot of flack for his divisive creations, but when Heavy Rain reared its head in early 2010, the crazy Frenchman caught me hook, line, and sinker, and I’ve been firmly on team #Emotion ever since. What I loved the most about Heavy Rain was how incredibly different it was. I’d never played a game where you could be setting out plates for a birthday dinner in one scene, and having a fistfight in a construction yard in another. It’s an approach to pacing that some consider bafflingly dull, but it really spoke to me. Unfortunately, there were still the standard pitfalls of a Cage game – the disturbing sex scenes, cheesy writing, and gaping plot holes – but I was willing to forgive these transgressions, and I really hope that his brand of insanity bleeds over onto PS4.
By the time The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion launched on Sony’s console, the game was already several years old – but I didn’t care. Across my hundreds of hours with the game, I never saw and did everything, and I must have started at least 20 new characters. My favourite was an Argonian named Tim. The race Tim belonged to was a favourite of mine owing to their disease invulnerability and water breathing gift, which I found invaluable. Together, Tim and I roamed the land, stealing from the rich and giving an exceedingly small amount to the poor, before finally settling down together in a shack by the Imperial Waterfront. We spent dozens of happy hours together, but Tim was cruelly ripped away from me when my first PS3 suffered the Yellow Light of Death. Tim’s legacy lived on in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim courtesy of his son Tim II, but the original is sorely missed. As he would say in his native tongue, [unintelligible rasping throat noises]. RIP Tim.
In the lead up to Mass Effect’s release, I’d been watching the excellent Firefly for the first time, and with each episode that passed, my excitement became increasingly palpable. I just wanted to go out there and see the universe, meet new species, shoot the bad guys, and save the day like Mal Reynolds did – although technically speaking, he was also a bad guy. I wanted to do and see everything. And you know what? I did. I was the guy trawling the galaxy for minerals to mine, dutifully filling up on probes to continue my shameful addiction. I adored Mass Effect 2, and while the third instalment continued to enthral me, I can’t wait to see what BioWare is cooking up for the next generation.
Do Ben's picks get your blood boiling, or have you found a kindred spirit? Let us know in the comments section below.