Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Best of a Generation

As we reach the end of 2013, we enter not only a new year, but a new generation of gaming, with the XBOX One and the PS4 marching onto the field. In light of these new arrivals, we here at Vuepoint have created a list of our favourite games to grace the PS3 console.

10. Batman: Arkham Asylum

Back in 2009, Rocksteady Studios changed the way we see action-brawlers by introducing the free-flow combat system in Batman: Arkham Asylum. The freedom of movement and dynamic flow of the combat made Arkham Asylum stand out among the crowd, spawning two sequels to date. The revolutionary gameplay went hand in hand with a great plot, gorgeous visuals and a host of collectibles, challenges and unlockables to make this game one of the best Batman experiences around. Even to this day, I stand by my decision that Asylum is far superior to City, and probably Origins too, and for that reason, rests comfortably in its well earned spot in our top ten.

9. Tomb Raider

After a long period of silence following the climax to the Tomb Raider trilogy that started on the PS2 with Anniversary and Legend, Lara Croft returned to our screens in Square Enix’s reimagining of the iconic heroine. Tomb Raider boasted an entirely new origin story that was both gripping and brutal. Being the first Tomb Raider game aimed squarely at adults, we knew that there would have to be something different this time around, but we had no idea how big the changes to the much loved franchise would be. This was a risky move, but the new and improved gunplay felt smoother and more comfortable, and Lara herself was a far more human character. Her movements and voice conveyed much more fear, showing her more as a survivor than an accomplished explorer. All of these changes could have gone horribly wrong, but personally, we loved it, and are looking forward to whatever else is in store.

8. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

In at number 8 is a game that balances two aspects of a game perfectly. Choosing between the story, customization and intensity of an RPG, or the responsive and satisfying gameplay of an action game is no longer a problem, as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning blends the two with mind bending results. This is a game that combines the levelling and looting of a great RPG, with the gameplay of an action game, all whilst telling a story that leads you through a colourful and vibrant world that’s completely alive with an assortment of interesting and entertaining characters. The only thing more I’d ask for in a game like this is a multiplayer mode, so we’re looking to a sequel to fill that hole!

7. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

When the third title in Naughty Dog’s hugely successful franchise was announced, I went bezerk. Pre-order, bought on the day of release, no questions asked. Playing through an engrossing story and welcoming back everything I loved about the franchise, and when you’ve finished? Onto the multiplayer! Great gameplay, loveable characters, and of course, the huge production values worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster allow for some truly mesmerising set pieces. Naughty Dog strike gold again with this glorious instalment of one of their best franchises.

6. Bioshock Infinite

As a massive fan of the first two games, I was a little disappointed when I found out that we’d be leaving the underwater city of Rapture for the third instalment. A risky move by developers Irrational Games, but one that paid off beautifully. Whilst I do miss the eerie atmosphere of Rapture, Columbia is equally as enjoyable to explore. A giant flying city that sometimes manages to match the chills of its predecessors, whilst also being bright and colourful is truly something to behold. Infinite also has the best story so far in the franchise, with several mysteries to ponder as you play through the game, all being wrapped up in the climax, with a number of twists that will undoubtedly leave your jaw on the floor. Unfortunately, amongst these changes, some level of variation among the enemies has also been lost. Whilst they couldn’t quite be considered as “cookie-cutter” enemies, they don’t have the sense of individuality that the splicers did, and it is for this reason that Infinite just misses out on the Top 5.

5. Dark Souls

The follow-up to the frustratingly difficult, unforgiving RPG Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls is much of the same, but better. Very much a love-it-or-hate-it deal, Dark Souls offers a unique blend of RPG elements such as character building, and a trial-and-error gameplay style. Incorporate the brutal part where you lose everything when you die, and you get an experience that is incredibly tense at every turn, forcing you to think ahead. Can you tackle this area? Are you willing to risk what souls you have to try? The multiplayer also adds to the tension, as players can invade your world at any time to kill you and steal your souls. However they can be a help as well as a hindrance, for you can summon other players if they leave “Summon Signs”, a glowing white sign on the ground that you can touch to call another player to your world. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see one of these signs on the ground, especially when you’re in one of the many dark and eerie dungeons. Filled with imaginative and often terrifying monsters that have been beautifully crafted and set in a gorgeous open world environment with some of the most diverse landscapes I’ve seen, Dark Souls kicks off the top five in style.

4. Mass Effect 2

As a PS3 owner I didn’t get to experience the first Mass Effect game, and so I went into its sequel blind. Confused, overwhelmed and with generally no idea what was going on, I wasn’t overstruck on this title to begin with. However as its place in my top five should tell you, before too long this all began to change. From the word go, even though I wasn’t taken in by the story which, I assume, picks up where the first one left off, the shooter gameplay is certainly fun and satisfying. The visuals were also pretty great. Mass Effect 2 really reached its full potential when the emotionally charged story really hit home. Sure I wasn’t sure what went on in the first game, but I didn’t have to in order to understand the general idea of this one. Moreover, the three dimensional characters really helped to draw me into the experience, as I have never felt so strongly for my in-game companions as I did here. Towards the end if you make, or have made some bad decisions over the course of the game, several of your friends could suffer the consequences, and for the first time in a game, I felt genuinely emotional about the fate of my team. All of these reasons make Mass Effect 2 my favourite of the series, and plants it safely in the top five.

3. Borderlands 2

Gearbox Software’s Borderlands was a dream come true for me. Responsive, shooter gameplay, RPG style character building, and more loot than you can shake a skag at. After a while though, the bland quest and lack of a real story got a little repetitive, and what was once fun became tedious. Enter Borderlands 2. New weapons, enemies, levels and loot, and this time we have an actual, and genuinely interesting story! Gearbox’s sequel topped its predecessor in pretty much every way imaginable, retaining everything that we know and love about it, whilst ironing out several of the issues that plagued the first. After finishing the story in the first game, I stopped playing because I honestly couldn’t be bothered carrying on to finish all the side quests. In Borderlands 2 I find myself searching every nook and cranny, actively seeking them out. Not only that, but I then went on to buy DLCs, increasing the level cap, unlocking new areas, missions and loot, and even two new playable classes! With seamless cooperative multiplayer that still incorporates competitive elements in the form of “duels”, and the great looking cell-shaded graphic style that has become the franchise’s trademark, Borderlands 2 is a great improvement over what was already a fun game, and one that I highly recommend to any shooter, or RPG fan.

2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

As much as I loved the first and third Uncharted - for me – none of them can stand next to the second. As both an incredible instalment to the series, and a brilliant stand alone action adventure, Uncharted 2 gave us one of the best improvements between two games I’ve ever seen. Graphically the jump is unbelievable, but even this is dwarfed by the increase in scale and size. Rather than being restricted to one island as you are in the first, you embark on a globe-trotting adventure, featuring characters we know – Nate, Sully and Elena – and characters that have since earned the top spot in my “favourite companions” list, namely Chloe Sullivan, expertly voiced by Claudia Black. The huge set pieces, gorgeous environments, intense story and addictive gameplay, which mixes platforming, shooting and puzzle-solving, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has the whole package. But why is it my favourite? Simply because it has the best of both worlds. The first game has unlockable skins, cheats and other little goodies to reward you for completing challenges, but has no multiplayer. Uncharted 3 has great multiplayer, but none of the little unlockables. Uncharted 2 sports both great multiplayer and great things to unlock, increasing the replay value. Unfortunately, there is one other game that stood in the way of number one. And that game is...

1. The Last of Us

How could it be anything else? Considered by many as the Citizen Kane of gaming, The Last of Us smashed the boundaries of interactive story-telling, and pushed the PS3 to its absolute limits. On the surface this could be seen as just another survival horror game. However playing this for five minutes will show you how wrong that assumption is. When you’re feeling emotional about the death of a character in the prologue, you know you’re onto something special. This title features gameplay that mixes survival, shooting and horror, and visuals that could hold up against the might of the next gen consoles. Furthermore, the unique multiplayer throws out the standard deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag etc etc, and replaces it with modes based around the survival aspect of the game, where teams fight for supplies rather than kills. You can then use these supplies to build your character and team. This unique multiplayer goes hand in hand with the compelling storyline and brutal gameplay to make an experience like no other. If you don’t have it yet, I recommend that you get it. Soon. The Last of Us is not only one of the best games of the year, but our favourite game to hit the PS3, and has claimed it’s well deserved place at the top.

 So there you have it! That was our rundown of what we believe to be the best games on the PS3! Of course, this is just our opinion. If your favourite game isn’t up there, feel free to comment and let us know what you think!

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