Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: The best PlayStation exclusives
GameCentral readers name their favourite PlayStation-only games, from God Of War to Bloodborne.
The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Purple Ranger, following the mixed reviews but strong sales of Days Gone. And so we wanted to know what you think is the best exclusive ever released on a PlayStation console, from 1 to 4 and including the portables.
Sony’s first party studios have only gone from strength to strength lately but easily the two favourites were the Grand Theft Auto III trilogy of releases and the Uncharted franchise.
This is a tricky choice, because while Sony has clearly had a number of very high quality sequels they tend to be in only a fairly narrow range of franchises, so a lot of them are quite similar. That’s why I think this generation has been so good for them, because they’ve created a bunch of new franchises and been able to make a success of almost all of them.
But the game I’ve got to give it to as the best actually came out in two generations: The Last Of Us. It may not have been as action-packed as Uncharted 4 but for me this is Naughty Dog’s most accomplished game and the best story video games have ever told. More importantly, from an exclusive point of view, it really sends a message about what Sony is about and what the PlayStation consoles can offer that doesn’t.
Saying all that I’m still very wary of there being a The Last Of Us Part II, as the story seems completely unnecessary and what we’ve seen of it so far just seems very mean-spirited and depressing. But the original, to me that is the definitive PlayStation exclusive.
If you’d told me a few years ago that I was going to name God Of War as my favourite Sony exclusive I would’ve never believed it. I hated the original games. The gameplay was boring, particularly the fiddly puzzles, and Kratos was such a try-hard angsty teenage fantasy it almost felt like a parody.
That they managed to make him an interesting character without changing any of his backstory is really one of the great achievements in video game storytelling. In fact, the new game’s story wouldn’t have worked if hadn’t used to be (and pretty much started off as) such an unpleasant person.
Of course the game itself is great, even if it’s not quite as perfect as the story, and for me it totally deserved all its rewards last year, and was definitely better than Red Dead Redemption II. An amazing achievement and I’m very interested to know how they’re going to follow it up.
The game that I will forever associate with the PlayStation is WipEout. I remember seeing the first game on the original PlayStation and being blown away by the graphics and the music and knowing that a new generation of video games was definitely here.
Unfortunately the game was only ever big in Europe and you could sense Sony losing interesting in it more and more as new sequels failed to catch on. WipEout HD Fury was a great way for the series to go out though and I think playing it in VR may be my favourite video game experience ever.
I guess futuristic racers just aren’t that popular with the mainstream as Nintendo never seem to have been able to get F-Zero off the ground again either. That WipEout clone the other month looking promising though, so hopefully the legend will live on in some way at least.
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I’m sure everyone will be going to for the obvious choices of Uncharted and God Of War and those are very good games but I’ve always loved the Everybody’s Golf series. It’s one of the unsung heroes of the PlayStation line-up and has been going on since the PS1 era. Even more than Ridge Racer, a Sony console isn’t a Sony console until it gets its version of Everybody’s Golf and so far all of them have.
If you haven’t played the games they’re not hardcore simulators or anything but they’re a great way to relax for 30 minutes or so and something I constantly come back to over the years. They might not be something someone would buy a console for but I wouldn’t consider a PlayStation console complete without one.
It’s not published by Sony but my favourite PlayStation exclusive is Persona 5. And given the weirdness around the non-appearance on the Switch I assume it’s going to stay as one forever. I’m really looking forward to The Royal edition next year and would absolutely recommend it to anyone.
I know the game’s a Japanese role-player, which may put of some, but it’s much more accessible and cool than anything else in the genre. It’s set in the modern day and while the combat is pretty traditional everything else about it feels really modern and imaginative.
To be honest, I don’t know why it is a PlayStation exclusive. I guess it’s just because the Xbox One is irrelevant in Japan and Sony must’ve signed it up to be sure, but if you have a PlayStation 4 it’s a must have.
I bet nobody else is going to say Ape Escape so while it’s probably not my absolute favourite I’m going to pick it because I love that series and I really wish it would come back. I know it’s not really the sort of super serious open world adventure that Sony goes for nowadays but the first one was quite technical achievement at the time – I think it was the first big Sony game to use analogue sticks – and I remember it being quite talked about.
I’d certainly rather see another one that something like MediEvil, which wasn’t even any good at the time. Here’s hoping there’ll be something on the PlayStation 5!
GC: You may be interested to know that Ape Escape’s Japanese website had an update for the first time in years the other day. Nothing really changed but it might be a hint of things to come.
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1. Bloodborne (PS4)
I just can’t seem to get enough of this Lovecraftian horror of a masterpiece. Not even compared with the Dark/Demon’s Souls games (though they are the closest), where the lore is just absolutely fascinating. The intrigue and darkly delicious plot is of such cosmic epic-ness that I can’t help think that along with the level design, graphical style, and of course the amazing gameplay, that perfection may have been hit and that there is no need for a sequel. But boy I would love one, please.
2. God Of War (PS2)
The most recent God Of War was possibly a one of a kind masterpiece. But it was the level design and combat mechanics of the very first one which sold me. The little touches I found amusing also. A character you bump into all the time, who asks for your help and you just end up just making life more difficult for him whether intentional or not was just comic value in a world of absolute bloody carnage. Best bit was taking up and using a sword as the God Of War, which you recently went across as a bridge when you were just a slightly smaller character.
3. Katamari Damacy (PS2)
A game of such uniqueness, which was popular with GC viewers and a cult favourite on various Sony formats. Just roll up objects in a room and grow. Pick up larger objects and grow. Eventually pick up the house you started in and get that ball of bits and bobs collecting even larger creatures, buildings, scenery, and eventually entire towns and cities, land masses, mountains, countries, continents, and pretty much the entire earth. Eventually roll up various celestial bodies with the rest of cosmos coming after! Sounds nuts! Just seek out the game and you’ll know what I mean. Just awesome.
4. Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night (PS1)
One of my all-time favourites and just simply a shining example of a side-view platformer which sets an example for how far and inventive these games can get with its Metrovania mechanics, which started a whole bunch of future indie titles. The music is just so perfect and so appropriate for the many different areas you explore, with each having its own unique signature tune which breathes atmosphere into the area and makes a great game so very much greater again.
Best bit for me was the upside down castle in which, with an amazing bit of genius creativity, was journeying through Dracula’s castle again (yes please) but with a different perspective of it and with some new enemies and bosses.
The above are just a few of the amazing titles the Sony consoles have bought to us through the years and even though Microsoft have given us some goodies over the years also, Sony I think have eclipsed them with just a larger pool of game choices. Can’t wait for further titles on the PlayStation 5. Can Sony continue this awesome run of gaming experiences?
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