James runs through five games that were easily skipped over last generation. How many have you played? Would you add any to the list?
Next-generation consoles have been taking precedence in the gamerverse recently. Not ready for my PlayStation 3 to sleep the long sleep, I wanted to share a retrospective of some last-gen games others might have missed in the wake of more popular titles.
Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut
So bad, it’s good. Deadly Premonition is possibly one of the weirder, most wonderful, and most broken games I have ever played. It peaks and troughs from mundanity to WTF. This survival-horror game puts you in control of FBI Agent Francis York Morgan as he investigates a series of unusual murders. But please, call him York. That’s what everyone calls him.
Most chapters open with York staring into a coffee whose milk swirl serves as a premonition to the day ahead. Throughout the game, York fights through bizarre hordes of undead on his journey to uncover clues. But for the most part, we don’t actually understand why this is happening. That’s sort of nice because it allows you form your own ideas. I have been operating on a friend’s theory that the undead are in fact living people whom York is killing as part of some psychotic episode in his hunt — which is why they say odd things like, “Don’t want to ddiiieee.” That’s not a spoiler, by the way, because I am told my interpretation is way off.
One of my favorite quirks is that, at times, the game seems to alternate between only two distinct soundtracks: a happy theme that transitions into a more sinister track when trouble is afoot.
Overall, even though most of the cars have an infuriating max speed of 45 mph and the world is a largely animatronic ghost town, Deadly Premonition is uniquely unconventional, with a rich storyline and some of the most interesting characters in video games.
When I say that you may have missed Naughty Bear, I mean you may have missed how awful this game was. Never have I been more betrayed by hype. It looked promising on the run up to its release — a new and whacky game constructed by an independent developer in Canada. Perhaps I expected too much?
A demented teddy bear, Naughty Bear psychopathically tears apart the happy lives of everybody else in the village, which is fun at first. But this fluffy ultraviolence wears thin after a couple of plays. I’m a strong advocate of video games having more freedom than cinema in showcasing violence, but Naughty Bear is too flawed and repetitive to enjoy it as one might a Grand Theft Auto rampage.
The game can be near unplayable at times with the amount of framerate lag. It’s made worse as the game slowly drags you through unchanging, simplistic levels severely lacking in content.
A nice idea, executed poorly.
Developer Codemasters knows how to make a racing game. (Cough.) Then it made Grid 2 (cough). OK, Dirt 3 may have been fairly popular anyway, but it was pretty rare within my own circles. Nevertheless, with tons of cars, courses, and new events to play, Dirt 3 is my favorite rally game on the PS3. By far.
Dirt 3 boasts a great racing experience. And this is in part due to talented developers translating a firsthand rally-driving experience onto consoles. I will most likely never hurtle down a narrow dirt path at 150 mph in a signature Colin McRae R4 in real life. Then again, I’m not brave enough to. Dirt 3 lets me do this while I lie safely in bed.
So stop ignoring it and give it a try.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Why is this game so cheap on Amazon? Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a compressed role-playing game set in a transhumanist world where human augmentation has changed how we live. It’s executed near perfectly and is an unsettling and not that unrealistic vision of the future. What’s not to love?
How you play Human Revolution is entirely up to you. You can stealthily assassinate each enemy with a faithful, laser-guided pistol; sneak through unseen by keeping your hands clean; or equip yourself to the teeth and dive into a chaotic bloodbath. While a lot of games push players toward a single style, Human Revolution caters strongly to individual preference. Whatever you decide, the game’s combat mechanics are full of interesting takedowns and animations to maintain interest and curiosity.
Visually, the game is fantastic. A lot of environments use a mostly black and gold color palette, such as the Hive nightclub, which makes for very attractive designs.
An absorbing cyberpunk adventure, Human Revolution is special because it offers so much freedom.
The best value-for-money game on the PS Store is Flower. Novel as it may have seemed at first, Flower is the smoothest and most natural use of the Sixaxis controller I have experienced on the PS3. Using the Sixaxis gives a previously unfelt sense of realism to the game’s movement, which makes flying about the terrain a lot of fun.
Flower takes you on a journey — from a lowly petal in a carefree landscape to its breakthrough in the big city. It’s wonderfully relaxing at first. Then, the lights go out, and a sense of panic sets in as you find yourself sympathizing with a petal. Tears. If flowers wore shoes, they would be a size 10, and I would have been in them.
The chiming sounds played each time a petal is recruited to your mighty flower is also a nice touch. Chain enough in good time, and it will create a nice tune.
Flower’s genius is in its simplicity, and there’s good news because it’s also available for PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!