Top Eight Overlooked PSN Gameson September 13, 2012 at 8:00 am
Oh, Playstation Network, I love you so much, even if no one else seems to. You’re easy to navigate – with your clean interface and scarcity of advertisements <looks at Xbox 360>. I don’t even have to pay to play you online. If I choose to pay, you shower me with free games, discounts, extended demos, beta access, and more.
Don’t listen to those other guys, PSN, I think you’re the tits.
That’s why I want to spread the word about some of the awesome games you have. I want other people to see what I see. To see that you have cool stuff too! Stuff that makes you more fun to be around and more interesting than that stupid jock everyone swoons over.
What does he have anyways, “Fez”? Please, his Daddy won’t even let him patch it. “Minecraft”? PC version is superior. “Trials”? “Spelunky”? “Geometry Wars”? “Shadow Complex”? OK, those last ones are actually all really good. Still, you’ve got awesome exclusive shit, too! Games likes “Super Stardust HD”, “Wipeout HD”, “Journey”, “Flower”, and the “PixelJunk” games!
What? Everyone already knows about those?
Fine, we’re going to do this up right. I’m going to lay down a list of PSN games people might not already know about. Games they should know about. A couple of these games may be available on PC or a mobile platform, but if you want them on a console, PS3 is the way.
This is the Top Eight Overlooked PSN Games. Why only eight instead of the “standard” ten? Because I like to mix things up. Now stop asking questions.
#8. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls
If you grew up in the early days of gaming and you played RPGs, then you know the “Wizardry” series. A classic, first-person, dungeon crawler, “Labyrinth of Lost Souls” hearkens back to a simpler time, but without as many of the annoyingly old school design mechanics.
You start the game by rolling a party of six adventurers. Yes, I said rolling. If you’re the OCD type, you can sit for hours trying to get the perfect stats for your characters. If you’re not, then go ahead and just pick whoever you think looks coolest, choose their class, and be on your merry way. You can dick around in town but the meat of the game lies in the dungeons.
Of course, you could just run around the dungeons killing things but what you need to do in those dungeons is dictated by quests you take in town. While you’re in the dungeons, you’ll fight turn-based battles, avoid traps, and discover secrets. It’s all basic stuff in this genre, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Its charm lies in its simplicity and solid execution.
In the past, games like this were brutally difficult, not only for how tough they were to actually survive, but because of how tough they were to play. It was typical to have a sheet of graph paper and map the dungeons out yourself. Plus, the games were often very slow paced and clunky. This game has an auto-map feature and it’s a good thing you have it too, as it makes navigating the dungeons easy. It will keep track of secrets, traps, and any other relevant things you run into.
The game also gives you the ability to save anywhere you want, so it’s extremely easy to jump in and out of. Battles also go by blissfully quick and there is even an auto-battle function for when you’re fighting dregs. All of these modern game design features make, what used to a fairly niche RPG sub-genre geared towards the hardcore, accessible to all RPG fans.
The recent success of “Legend of Grimrock” has shown that there is definitely still a demand for first-person dungeon crawlers. While not as good as “Wizardry 8” (which you should check out if you haven’t), this is definitely a solid entry in the series and if you’re looking to play a game like this on modern consoles, this is the only option I can think of.
#7. Alien Zombie Megadeath
Alien. Zombie. Megadeath.
If you haven’t already bought the game based off those words alone, then you may be the type of person who finds joy in movies like “The Notebook” and talks incessantly about cats. If that’s not the case, then stick around.
“Alien Zombie Megadeath” is an arcade-style shooter. Each level consists of platforms you navigate and enemies that spawn from both ends of the stage. While the game resembles a twin-stick shooter, you can only shoot in two directions, left and right. Crystals are dropped as enemies are defeated, which increase your multiplier ala “Geometry Wars”. Powerups are dropped at random to make the megadeath of the alien zombies easier.
While the game is incredibly simple, it is a huge amount of fun. There is a staggering number of levels to complete and the variety of objectives in each one keeps things feeling fresh. The game gets brutally difficult, which will make it all the more satisfying once you’ve found yourself in the “zone” and make an incredibly impressive run.
For the collectivists, there are hidden items to find to customize the appearance of your woefully outnumbered spaceman. Hey, every hero has the right to look cool while doing their job, right?
“Megadeath” is dripping with old school appeal; it even has UFOs that zip by that you can shoot for bonus points. If you like games fueled by high scores and aliens, zombies, or megadeath, then this game is a worthy purchase.
“Velocity” is a vertical scrolling schmup. It’s also a PSP Mini, one of the few actually worth purchasing. You fly in space and you shoot things. Is there more to the game than that? Of course, every good schmup has a unique hook.
“Velocity” actually has two unique hooks. The first is the ability to adjust the speed at which you fly through the levels. By simply holding down a button, you will rocket through stages with alarming speed. This is important, as many stages are actually timed, so you are encouraged to complete them as fast as possible.
The second hook is the ability to teleport. Holding down a button will bring up a cursor, which you can move anywhere on the screen. When you let go, your ship will teleport to that location. Eventually, you’ll unlock the ability to drop multiple teleportation points throughout a stage.
Why would you want to return to a previous section? Later levels can’t simply be completed by brute forcing your way through. There is actually some non-linearity to them. You’ll find yourself trapped by laser barriers that need to be deactivated by destroying generators. However, the generators aren’t in the order you would expect. The first generator you may need to destroy might be at the end of the stage, while the second may be at the beginning and the third in the middle. It makes “Velocity” almost as much of a puzzle game as it is a shooter.
Combined, the ability to speed through stages and the need to teleport your way around them, makes for some interesting tension. You want to be speeding up relentlessly to beat the clock,, but you’ll need to slow down and think your way through certain sections. This is only compounded by the need to collect as many survivors as possible, so you can perfect your score and unlock new levels.
Whether by design or not, the environments don’t really change and the ones present are fairly bland. They took “Page 1” out of the shooter handbook. After 50 levels of play, it really starts to wear on you. However, those looking for a more cerebral schmup should give “Velocity” a whirl.
#5. The Last Guy
You’re The Last Guy and your goal is to rescue all of the survivors of some sort of apocalyptic event that spawned zombies, mutants, and all sorts of hellish beasts. While I don’t know how you’re “The Last Guy” when there are people to save, that doesn’t keep the game from being any less fun or endearing.
The best way to describe “The Last Guy” would be some sort of amalgamation of Snake and Pac-Man. Each level starts off with just you and you have to round up survivors to take them to the Escape Zone. Collected survivors follow behind you in a line, the more you have the longer that line is and the harder they are to control. To keep things in check, there are monsters roaming the streets which will try to chase you down, scatter, and destroy what survivors you have. Oh, and did I mention that you only have a limited amount of time to collect as many survivors as possible before your rescue leaves?
This creates the game’s main risk/reward mechanic. The more survivors you drop in the Escape Zone at once, the more points you get. Plus, there are some areas that can only be accessed if you have a certain amount of survivors following you. These areas usually include special VIP survivors or power-ups. On top of that, having more survivors makes your character faster, as it permanently increases his stamina meter. The more stamina you have, the more you can dash, which is important for getting away from enemies. You also have an “assemble” command, kind of like Pikmin, which makes all of the survivors crowd around you. This can be used to get them out of harm’s way and minimize losses.
The interesting thing about this game is that all of the game’s stages are actual satellite images of cities. This makes for some really interesting gameplay as you will find yourself ducking down alleyways and trying to find the best routes through cities. It also means that you’re going to be travelling the world and the variety of locations is fantastic.
“The Last Guy” is a wonderful experience and it’s definitely a must own for the system.