Cheer Up Sony – Weekly Recommendations 10/01 – 16/01

 
Every week I give three gaming recommendations (very) loosely tied to something topical. These recommendations span platform, generation and genre and are all games that I have played, enjoyed and highly recommend. As always, comments are very welcome so please do chime in with any recommendations of your own. Check back each Monday for a new set, and click here for past entries.

Last week saw a team of dedicated hackers crack the PS3. FailOverflow succeeded in, and then released the details on how to circumvent the PS3’s security system which had remained intact for 4 years, significantly longer than the Xbox 360 and the Wii. This hack allows users to run any code and third-party firmware, enabling PS3 owners to install other OS, which was FailOverflow’s stated aim in response to Sony’s recent firmware which disabled the use of Linux. Of more concern for Sony is that this will inevitably open up the PS3 to piracy.

Sony are resolute that they will fix the hack by way of a new update, though skeptics counter that Sony would have to install new hardware to undo the damage.

Sony clearly has good reason to be glum. But instead of focusing on what could be a very trying 2011 and a prolonged battle with piracy, lets look back and celebrate the highs of our first four years with the PS3. What follows are three of the best reasons to own a PS3; my favourite console exclusives, limited to one representative per franchise.


1. Uncharted 2 – Playstation 3 (2009)

Even approaching the year and half mark, Uncharted 2 still finds ways to impress. Playing co-op with friends late last year we were all surprised to discover that our character’s mouths were moving in sync (ish) with our microphone mumblings. It is just one example of the small details that make Uncharted great.  

Uncharted 2 looks and plays the business, and it is effortless to pick-up and get stuck-in. The characters are a joy, with our loveable rogue, Nathan Drake, leading the way. Outside of the various incarnations of Snake (see no.2), I consider Drake to be the most memorable video game lead. He kills without hesitation in a quest to sate his lust for treasure and revenge, yet we sympathize and love him despite his sociopathic behaviour and quips. It is to Naughty Dog’s credit that they have created a character so iconic and likeable that we entirely overlook his dark side and embrace him fully.

Drake aside, Uncharted 2 also delivered a deep and rewarding multiplayer which is still populated by large numbers of mischievous adventurers. I was pessimistic at first, fearing that it would be an unnecessary addition, succumbing to the trend of all games having to have online no matter how ill-fitting, yet it pulled it off with aplomb. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything less from Uncharted.

2. Metal Gear Solid 4 – Playstation 3 (2008)

Though not without its imperfections, most notably the overly long cut scenes, Metal Gear Solid 4 was an instant classic and is an experience that you are likely to want to revisit again and again. A love letter to MGS fans, tying-up numerous loose ends and seemingly bringing to a close the life and times of Solid (Old) Snake, it’s a fitting finale to the rich tapestry that is the MGS universe.

The return to Shadow Moses stands as one of my favourite gaming moments, and the motorbike and microwave set scenes are two of the most cinematic and enjoyable gaming experiences in recent memory.

It does help if you have played the MGS games that came before, allowing for a more rewarding experience, but MGS4 plays so well, allowing you to opt for stealth or rush in guns blazing, and looks so beautiful that it can be appreciated and enjoyed by any gamer. Whether you are a grizzled vet or a newcomer to the series, MGS4 is easy to get into and near impossible to put down. All we need now is that long rumoured trophy patch. Get off your arse Kojima-san.

3. Infamous – Playstation 3 (2009)

Few game mechanics are as exhilarating as gliding, wire grinding and free-falling in Infamous. Hurling yourself off the top of city skyscrapers never gets old. In fact, it becomes more enjoyable the longer you play, as you gain access to increasingly OTT powers that follow two paths: good and evil. Through your actions as protagonist Cole, you may play through the story as a benevolent protector of the people or a cold blooded killer, all of which affects your appearance, moves and how the populace of Empire City responds to your spates of super-charged vigilantism.

The more you play Infamous the more you are likely to enjoy it. It is best approached playing to extremes of good or evil, rather than doing a bit of both, providing two unique takes on the average Joe turned superhero yarn. Now is the perfect time to get stuck into Infamous before the sequel hits later this year.

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