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 finally time for Editor Sammy Barker to rub you up the wrong way.
It’s been a strange generation. After the domination of the PSone and PlayStation 2, the PS3 has struggled to live up to pedigree of its predecessors. Commercially, that's certainly true – but I don’t buy into any criticisms regarding its library. The financial implications of the high-definition era may have limited its roster of third-party exclusives, but Sony made up for that by turning its Worldwide Studios network into a force to be reckoned with. It’s unsurprising, then, that four of my five favourites titles from the current generation were first-party releases.
The uber-popular Call of Duty series may be getting staler than the food in a celebrity’s oversized American fridge, but that hasn’t always been the case. Infinity Ward reportedly had to fight tooth-and-nail with Activision’s management in order to base Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare outside of the tried-and-tested World War II setting – but I bet that the publisher’s glad that it lost that battle. Iterative sequels may have lessened its sheen somewhat, but this was a seminal title. Not only did the introduction of killstreaks, perks, and old-school role-playing staples transform the online gaming climate forever, but this also boasted an incredible campaign. Do you remember the nuclear bomb scene? I rest my case.
God of War III launched during that period where the platform holder’s current generation console was finally picking up steam. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves had secured innumerable Game of the Year gongs months prior, the PS3 Slim hardware revision augmented the platform with a reasonable price-point at long last, and Heavy Rain had just taken the industry by storm by introducing a completely different approach to interactive story-telling. Sony Santa Monica’s hotly anticipated sequel was nothing new, but it took David Jaffe’s bombastic creation and twisted it into a visual masterpiece. If anyone had doubted the power of the platform before, all you needed to do was show them Kratos fighting Poseidon on the back of Gaia climbing Mount Olympus. You could literally see the dollar bills pouring out of the screen.
A series that’s been consigned to a daft argument regarding floaty jumping physics, LittleBigPlanet isn’t (and never was) about the core platforming. The sequel to Media Molecule’s popular Play Create Share smash was a sandbox of creative tomfoolery, dusting aside the limitations of its predecessor, and presenting you with the keys to a world of untapped potential. I never really got into the level building aspect – my imagination not sharp enough to create something truly original – but I’m constantly flabbergasted each time I boot up the exclusive to see what weird and wonderful inventions other people have made. There’s no single user generated creation that I can point to and say I’d want to play again, but with millions of different ideas vying for my attention, I’m not sure I’d ever have the time anyway.
I’ll be perfectly honest, I didn’t play Super Stardust HD until it got Trophies. I’d always thought that the PlayStation Network was the domain for Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection and demos for Resistance: Fall of Man, but when Sony first updated its flagship format with digital trinkets, there was only one game to test the Achievements-inspired system on. And thus began my generation-long love affair with Housemarque’s eye-burningly beautiful spherical dual joystick shooter. There’s no complicated plot to speak of here or revolutionary mechanics – just rich arcade action running at 60 frames-per-second in 1080p. In this case, that’s all the Finnish developer needed.
Gaming conventions can be brash, tiresome places to play games – but I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that my first hands-on with The Unfinished Swan transported me to another place. Giant Sparrow’s dream-like excursion may not have attained universal praise like its oft-compared companion Journey, but I actually think that it attained something much more impressive. Outside of the sharp whitewash visuals and poignant premise, the opening hour’s slumbersome shuffle through a magical kingdom that you can’t quite see resonated so strongly with me that it single-handedly won the game a place on this list.
Do you concur with Sammy's swish picks, or have you got a different roster of releases in mind? Let us know in the comments section below.