During the last generation of game consoles, I focused my time on the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. I completely skipped out on the PS3 (listen to our opening podcast episode to find out why).
Here we are in 2016, and I finally own a Sony console again. I’m thrilled with the PS4, and I’m glad to see games from last generation get another shot at life on this system. I spent some time this holiday season playing through the widely-acclaimed Uncharted series, and it exceeded my expectations in nearly every way. Since each entry is a separate experience, let’s break it down game-by-game:
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
The first question I want to answer is this: Does it still hold up today? The short answer is: Yes… mostly.
Aaru’s Awakening is a beautiful game. The developers used hand-drawn visuals to create a stunning experience. Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t meet the high standards set by the impressive imagery. It’s a very challenging game rendered nearly impossible by a control scheme that never feels quite right. I love the concept behind the teleport ability, and it makes for some very creative level design. As the game progresses, it demands such precise aim and movement that the controls become a hindrance. Perhaps it’s the way I’ve been trained to play games for the past 28 years, but the left shoulder button is not the ideal input for jumping.
The weak-willed need not apply.
If you have PS Plus, you can get this game for free until the end of April. If you don’t, this one is worth a look if you see it for a discounted price. Keep in mind: the difficulty is real. I was reminded of games like OlliOlli and Trials when I played this game. For those who are up for a challenging puzzle-platformer, this might be for you. For the rest of you… Just look at the pretty screen shots and then move on.
I should preface this by saying I love stealth games. There have been some great additions to the list of 2-D stealth games in particular. Mark of the Ninja, Stealth Inc., and Gunpoint were some of my favorites in recent memory. When I saw that CounterSpy was a Playstation Plus freebie, I downloaded it right away. Little did I know that it was one of the slickest games I’ve seen in a while.
The game looks really nice from a distance. Good news: a lot of the game is played from a distance. It’s a side-scrolling 2-D stealth game, and it looks the part. The guards smoothly patrol from side to side, and when they spot you, they quickly find cover and start firing and lobbing grenades. It all looks very slick…until it zooms in. The angles of the polygons don’t work as well up close. A good portion of the game is spent behind cover, so you’ll be zooming in quite often. To be fair there were only a few moments that looked flat-out ugly (the guards faces just look… wrong), but it took a little something away from the cool vibe this game has.
My Xbox 360 is still sitting in its usual spot in my entertainment unit, and it’s getting awkward. I have SO many games downloaded on that system, but I have no idea if I’ll go back to them. It’s like the old veteran on the team who doesn’t get much playing time anymore, but nobody wants to tell him he should retire. “I’m still important! I’m the soul of this team! Right, guys? …Guys?”
So as I begin to contemplate “life after the 360,” it reminded me of the times I’ve said goodbye to old consoles over the years. You see, I’ve never seen myself as a collector, and while there are certainly some consoles & games I wish I would have held on to, there is something to be said about letting go of old stuff that holds no sentimental (or actual) value. Here are the consoles I’ve said “Game Over” in my lifetime.
Atari 2600 – Probably in a landfill
Christmas of 1987, my older brother got an Atari 2600 with a box full of game cartridges. While most kids had already moved on to the NES, we rocked that Atari until we got our SNES in 1993. I really wish I still had that console, but alas, the Atari was sold for a few measly bucks at a yard sale.
Knack is NOT an amazing game. Some of the criticism it has received about its simplistic and repetitive combat is warranted (if not over-emphasized). Despite its flaws, Knack holds up as a solid action-adventure title.
From the opening scene, it’s evident that this game couldn’t run on a last-gen system. It looks like a Pixar or Dreamworks movie brought to life, and it maintains a steady frame rate throughout. On more than one occasion I found myself pausing to enjoy the use of vibrant colors and creative character design.
So when games are FREE??? Oh, I’m the first in line. I watch the Playstation blog like a hawk to see when they update the upcoming PS Plus deals. I keep my eyes on the headlines about Microsoft’s Games with Gold lineup, so I’m ready to start downloading. Could you say that I’m cheap? A tightwad? Frugal? Poor?
Yes, yes, yes, and kinda.
Well, Microsoft and Sony are offering some great deals for subscribers to their online services. While I’m not usually a participant in the “Console Wars” (I love everyone, you guys), it’s interesting to me to see how the perks compare.
Let’s get to it then: How do the services stack up for April, 2015?