A gaming fairy tale, it’s difficult to believe this is developer Giant Sparrow‘s maiden voyage. The game begins as a blank canvas, and you are left with nothing but globs of paint to pave your way through the story that awaits you. Eventually, the world and levels open up with color and narration, but the concept is never left behind, only expanded upon. All said and done, a tale is woven that will hearken players to life experiences and have us pondering what we leave behind. I can’t wait for what they have in store for us next. Here’s the title theme; a piece of music that has stayed with me long after completing the game. The Unfinished Swan’s Main Theme
Some herald MVC2 as the greatest fighter ever created, and while that can be argued, you can’t deny its awesomeness. Offering the most diverse cast ever assembled in a fighter, MVC2 changes the game by allowing you to select three characters to form a team capable of all sorts of carnage. The goal is to combine supers and moves in the air or on the ground, landing the most impressive combos while utilizing the strengths of your team. The depth of this game is impossible to explain in a paragraph, and Capcom has made MVC2 better than ever with enhanced visual options and modes to enjoy.
Hard Corps is the spiritual successor to the legendary franchise Contra. Developed by Arc System Works, of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fame, the game exudes style in its design and combat. Punishing difficulty is there for the purist, but for the uninitiated, Rising Mode will ease you in and allow you to strengthen your skills as your progress. Up to five different characters are available to play as, and some even change the style of combat from the get go. Simply put, Hard Corps delivers, and although some may hesitate to mention it with Contra, it’s a title rightly deserved.
Haunting and original, Limbo was a late comer to the PSN, but time did not diminish its impact. You are a lone boy in a dangerous world of black and white. Why you are there and what your goal is remains unclear, but death is around every corner. Unlike most games that punish you for dying, it is used as a tool to solve the ever-appearing puzzles and scenarios the game is based around. Limbo’s ending is still one of heavy discussion, which further cements it as a wonderful gaming enigma that stays with you long after you complete it.
Festival of Blood takes the well established PlayStation 3 franchise and spins an engrossing side-tale that compliments the series extremely well. Cole has been transformed into a vampire and needs to find the source of it all before the effect is permanent. Vampirism has augmented his already formidable lightning powers into something greater. There’s just one catch: you need blood to survive. Offering everything the retail versions provide, only condensed, this episodic spin-off is everything you expect it to be. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want more InFamous?
Outland is everything an action game should be. With world design akin to Legend of Zelda, it opens up and delivers powers necessary for survival as you progress. Designed around something made famous in the shooter Ikaruga, your character swaps between blue and red modes, which make you more powerful/vulnerable to the opposite color. In addition to the combat, level design is genius, and it all unfolds in a world of jaw dropping music and unique bosses battles. Don’t believe me; watch the final boss battle for a glimpse. Spoiler related of course, but it’s never a mystery where this tale ends up. Outland Final Boss-The Sisters
The only HD remake on the list, Okami is one of the greatest games of all time. It’s water color art style is legendary and only enhanced with this remaster for the PSN. You are the sun god Amaterasu, and it’s your duty to protect the world from evil. A world akin to Zelda in both progression and design, Okami is infinitely charming in its delivery and characters. Yet it goes well beyond a clone and offers something never before seen for you to utilize. Your ink brush techniques allow you to pause the world and create brush strokes to aid you in your quest and combat. Clover Studios was something special and, although disbanded, now lives on through Hideki Kamiya and Platinum Games. Will we ever see another Okami? Who knows; but while we wait, be sure to play this one.
Rhythm platforming at its best, Sound Shapes will have you vibing to the music and challenged by its design throughout. Simplistic in its approach: therein lies the beauty of it all. Levels are represented by records, and once finished, it’s on to the next song as you unlock the tools you see for use in the expansive world editor. Here you can create music and levels to share with the vast community, or download their’s to expand the experience. Everything here is great, but there are stand-outs, namely the Beck created levels.
Although episodic in nature, The Walking Dead offers a compelling narrative that is unmatched in its ability to connect you to its characters. Zombies are the “in” thing, but they are only a tool to create the danger that the characters and world come to life in. The player directly influences the decisions made and suffers the consequences as the game progresses. Who lives and dies? Who’s side do you take? Throughout all this is Clementine, whom the main character Lee is charged with protecting, and you’ll be hard pressed not to truly care about these two throughout the five episodes. Garnering numerous game of the year awards, The Walking Dead by Telltale is where you should go for your zombie fix instead of the television show.
The final game in Thatgamecompany‘s deal with Sony and hopefully not its last, Journey is undoubtedly the best showcase for the power of the PlayStation Network. My personal and many other’s 2012 game of the year, Journey is something that transcends gaming into a different experience entirely. What that ends up becoming is yours to discover, but for me, this piece I wrote sums it all up. My Journey
- Heroes of Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes-A near miss, but still worth playing.
- Street Fighter 3 Third Strike-Trying to limit it to best of genre, and while it has an amazing combat system and character selection, MVC2 beat it out.
- Resident Evil 4 HD-The best Resident Evil, but a shoddy HD offering.
- WipEout HD-Likely my number 26.
- Street Fighter 2 HD Remake-Same as Third Strike, other than character selection.
- Plants vs Zombies-Very good game.
- Shatter-Again, very good, but there are better puzzlers available on the PSN.
- Moon Diver-Hard Corps is better, but the Strider inspired gameplay shines.
- Dyad-Lumines does rhythm better, and Soldner/Super Stardust HD are a cut above the psuedo-shooting aspects here.
- Castle Crashers- You could easily swap this with Scott Pilgrim. They are ultimately interchangeable.
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