I got some great PSN games when I first bought my PS3, but I don't check that service nearly as often as XBL. The last really good PSN title I bought was Joe Danger.
Few can argue against the opinion that Xbox Live is better than the Playstation Network. Yes PSN is free, while you have to pay a fee for XBL. But the variety of quality features you get for your XBL subscription far outpaces those for PSN. Among the best aspects of XBL are the exclusive games. There are a ton of great small games that you can only find on Xbox. But Sony isn't one to take a blow lying down. They are ready to start fighting. Yes, they are quite late to the party, and some of the games I'll be talking about here aren't exclusive to PSN, but the effort Sony has put into its PSN service since the summer outage is impressive.
There were two promotions that went on during the past couple months on PSN. Starting in August was the PSN Play promotion. It included four "highly anticipated" games for PSN. These games were also on XBL or PC but at least they tried. The next promotion, called Only on PSN, has much more merit as many of the games are exclusive to PSN, and none of the games can be found on the Xbox. There were eight games included in this promotion. Finally, the game Payday: The Heist, was a bonus for the PSN Play promotion that was released during the Only on PSN promotion, so it kind of counts for both. Total that is 13 games. I won't be writing about all 13 games at once. But I did download the demos for all of the games but the two most recent, as no demos for those have yet been released. So for this blog I am going to give impressions of the games i have played thus far. Expect at least one more blog on the topic going forward.
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Promotion: PSN Play
GS Score: 5.5
Maybe not the best way to start things out if GS is to be believed. I enjoyed my short time with this game. Unlike BloodRayne games of past, this one is a sidescrolling brawler. The combat seemed fun and responsive, but the platforming was a bit stiff. The most interesting thing about the platforming was that instead of a double jump you have a backflip that must be performed by running in one direction then quickly switching directions and jumping. It is kind of a pain to pull off and there is no good reason a good old fashioned double jump couldn't have been used instead. Outside of that, the most interesting element is that to heal BloodRayne has to latch onto her enemies and suck their blood. This involves stunning them and then hitting a button. It doesn't change the dynamic of combat too much. Partway through the demo I encountered a situation where I was told to jump off the heads of my enemies to a higher platform. Unfortunately the game declined to tell me how I should go about doing this. After pushing every button on the controller failed to make me jump on an enemy's head I had to admit defeat and was unable to finish the demo. According the GS, this game gets much harder as time moves on and becomes frustrating. They claim that the controls don't hold up in later levels. I can't comment on this, but I did enjoy what I played of BloodRayne. The graphics were beautiful, the music was excellent and I enjoyed the combat.
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Promotion: Only on PSN
GS Score: 7.0
Rochard is an interesting little puzzle game. You play as the titular space miner who discovers something (not clear from demo what it is) on an asteroid. Soon after his ship is invaded by pirates and things go bad from there. Rochard is a funny character, and the art, while not great, is still good enough that it doesn't detract from the experience. GS described the characters as "Team Fortress 2 rejects" which is pretty accurate. The gameplay of Rochard revolves around manipulating gravity with a gun. I know, you haven't heard that one before right? Rochard is a side scrolling game even though it is rendered in 3D. You have to manipulate crates and other objects to open doors and generally solve puzzles. It really isn't anything too creative. It's done well enough, but I didn't find anything about it to be outstanding in any way. Towards the end of the demo you get a gun and have to shoot some pirates, but the gunplay isn't anything special. You just point and shoot. For the opening act of Only on PSN this game didn't really show the potential of the service. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't anything special.
Sideway: New York
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Promotion: Only on PSN
GS Score: 7.5
Sideway: New York is probably the least marketed of the Only on PSN games, and I really don't see why as it is the best of the games that I have played. Sideway has a really great concept where your character is sucked into the world of graffiti. This means he is stuck on walls. He is a 2D painting in a 3D world. This game is a platformer that mixes side scrolling and 3D elements. It's really cool to jump from a wall to a roof and watch the perspective change. Then you leap off the roof, and end up on another wall. You can turn around corners and overall play with perspectives in ways that are really cool. The art styIe is really neat, and overall I enjoyed the time I spent with this game. Of all the games I played this is the only one I would think of buying. You have enemies to fight and even in the short span of the demo you gained a lot of cool abilities like one where you could spray on platforms for a short time to help you reach places. While I haven't played all the games, of the five or six I've played thus far, this is the one I would recommend.
Release Date: October 13, 2011
Promotion: Only on PSN
GS Score: N/A
Okay so remember Playstation Home? No really. This is a collection of three games that you can play on Home. I'm serious. No joking. There was no demo on PSN, so I booted up Home. After downloading a bunch of stuff I learned that there were now several games on Home. Huh. Well my next step was to download the Sodium and Sodium 2 spaces. The third game I could not find anywhere. Sodium is a game where you control a hovercraft and have to shoot down opposing hovercraft. There are a bunch of parts you can upgrade your ship with, and the game is played in waves, so you basically fight a couple dozen enemies, return to base, upgrade your ship and then head out again. It was simple but surprisingly enjoyable. The controls were really solid. I rarely enjoy this type of game, but the craft was just enjoyable to drive and shoot. So this game gets a surprising pass from me. I think it is free. At least I didn't see any option to pay for anything and nothing seemed locked.
Sodium 2 is a racing game featuring the same hovercrafts. I didn't enjoy this game as much. It controlled very much like Wipeout complete with airbreaks. If you like Wipeout and want a cheap knockoff then give this a try. Again, I assume you can pay for stuff in the game, but I got a fully featured experience for free. There was also a Space where you could buy Sodium branded items and play a series of mini-games. Everything filtered back into a credits system that you could use to buy various items. So, yea, I don't think I'm going to suddenly become a Home junkie or anything, but the games were fun enough, and there were a bunch of other things to play including some sort of Uncharted game.
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Promotion: Only on PSN
GS Score: 7.0
I should note at this point that no game in the Only on PSN promotion has earned over a 7.5 from GS. PixelJunk Sidescroller and PayDay have not yet been rated, but the other six games have not been the critical hits that Sony seems to have hoped. Okabu is easily the most boring game I have played on PSN. You play as two cloud whales attempting to clean up the environment. Yea, it's one of those games. Unlike the excellent PSN exclusive, Flower, though, Okabu isn't a beautiful, thoughtful piece on the effects that pollution can have on our planet. It is a boring "puzzle" game where you do a bunch of mundane tasks to help out some villagers in their war against their more industrial brothers. You do such amazing feats as putting out fires with water, moving objects with a plunger, and charming animals into sitting on buttons. It is all so utterly boring and easy. As far as I can tell you can't die, but unlike Flower, you can get hit from the numerous enemies in the game. Because there is no chance at failing any of these levels, the enemies are simply annoying pests that force you to divert your efforts from "solving" puzzles so that you can pour water on their circuits or drop a fruit bomb at their feet. You'll note that I've been putting words like "puzzle" in quotes. The reason for this is because every single puzzle in the demo, which was a good half an hour long at least, had its answer displayed for you, so the game was less about solving the problem and more about fighting with the physics on all the game's objects to get them to the right place. Honestly, a 7.0 seems incredibly generous to me, but maybe the game gets better as it goes on. I wouldn't count on it though. If you want to teach your child about the pitfalls of pollution, give them Flower. It is easier to control, less frustrating, and a much better game overall.
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Promotion: Only on PSN
GS Score: 6.0
Of all the cool looking games in the Only on PSN promotion, this one definitely takes the cake for me. The art is simply inspired. You play as a commando chicken attempting to free his land from the oppressive hands of a penguin army. I'm totally serious. That is the actual story. The game is a Contra styIe side scrolling shooter/platformer. You have a couple guns that you can fire, and you occasionally have to jump to get over obstacles. The problem is that the jumping feels really bad. I always say that people don't appreciate how hard it is to nail great platformer controls, and Rocketbirds fails miserably. Jumping just isn't very fun. The shooting is okay, but at least in the demo it was incredibly easy. Hitting an enemy knocks them in the air, letting you juggle them until they die. According to GS this mechanic doesn't really change throughout the game, so if you play Rocketbirds expect to be playing for the great presentation, not for the gameplay. There are also jetpack sequences where you fly around the screen and shoot down enemy jetpackers, and while this wasn't in the demo, in the full game I understand that you can take control of enemy soldiers. Really, though, the gameplay of Rocketbirds is barely average. The graphics are great, and the soundtrack by New World Revolution is fabulous. But a great presentation can only go so far in masking weak gameplay, and Rocketbirds just isn't that fun.
Okay that does it for this group of games. Six total. I have demos for another five, while the final two I will just have to wait until their demos are released.
@Setho10 like most movies the Mighty Ducks was fun but not very realistic. I played some pond and creek hockey in Iowa and Dakota when I was a kid and it was mostly skating and fighting but lots of fun. the schools down here have lacrosse teams too so we are fairly civilized these days. and with the changes in rules they get a minor for looking cross eyed at someone - the fights were what made the game fun. that and watching Sid Crosby do his best to avoid fights. Some guys just can't handle hard contact:lol:
@luc11044 - I liked what I played of it, but not enough to recommend it wholeheartedly. @jonnybutler11 - I really wanted to like Rocketbirds, but it just wasn't that fun to play. If Journey is anywhere near as good as Flower then I'm sure it will blow these games out of the water. @iowastate - Hockey, huh? That's the sport with the puck and the people who beat each other up, right? My sole experience with it comes from watching Mighty Ducks as a kid. Do they really use flying V's as a formation?
@Setho10 I do indeed mean Tim Horton - in addition to great coffee and donuts he is my all time favourite hockey player...and right behind him are Ted Kennedy and Red Horner. no question who my team is, eh? Ti-Cats, Leafs, and Rock. it went DOA but once up on a time we had a nice little CFL/NLL union at GS.
that's too bad, I was hoping Sony would get a few points out of these recent releases, I was especially looking forward to rocketbirds... I'm still looking forward to journey, though. Anyways thanks for your time, now I won't really have to try any of the demos myself.
Oh yes I'm aware I would die without xbox live....and it really isn't that expensive....people just use the fact that you have to pay for it at all as a way to hate on it....it's a great deal fo sho
@iowastate - If you mean Tim Hortons, then I totally agree. There aren't many donuts better than Tim Hortons donuts.
@Setho10 heh, its cheap but not inexpensive when you let them buy oodles of virtual clothes, bathing suits, and a few of those "estates" because there is always something new and pretty out there:wink: I wish there was a Horton's out this way I need some good coffee I didn't make myself and really good donuts for a change.
@adam1808 - I think many people seem more interested in that one, but it's a big budget studio game, and I'd rather support all the indie studios that made games for this. @JustPlainLucas - It isn't something I would buy, especially with so many better choices out there, but it was fun for a while. And I loved the character art. @uglypinkmoose - It's really not all that expensive considering the number of great features it has. Compared to most subscription services it is actually quite cheap. @Doomguard3 - I agree. None of the games were something I would buy except for Sideway. Renegade Ops is one 360 as well. At least it isn't only on 360. @iowastate - Lol. Cheap sims are pretty popular. @yeah_write - Just based on the demos I would have given Sideway an 8.0 and Okabu a 6.0. And Rocketbirds looks amazing, but it just wasn't that fun to play. It's a shame.
Hey I picked that GS score for Sideway! :) We debated on whether or not it should be an 8. I was leaning more toward 8, but the other editors were leaning the other way. I'm a bit biased because I love graffiti and slick 2D animation. I thought it was a fantastic game, and it's only $10. I also reviewed Okabu...I didn't like that one as much. It makes a great first impression, but it gets old very fast. I wish Rocketbird played as great as it looks. It's a game worth checking out for the visuals, but I'm not sure I'd buy it.
i've spent some time on PSN but I've got a girlfriend who likes to borrow it some times and use it for a cheap sims - and I spent a lot of money on clothes for that thing
None of those you mentioned are anything actually interesting for most people, I tried Blood Rayne demo and it was kinda poor. Festival of Blood and Renegade Ops seem to be the best of the offers now though Renegade is also available on 360 I think.
It's good PSN isn't a heap of junk....it does way more than it needs to do for being free... I love xbox live....but it can buttjab my wallet pretty bad :/
I can say that GS was a bit too harsh on BloodRayne. The controls are fine. They just take a level of finesse that a lot of games don't require. I watched Tom's video review on it, and a lot of the deaths were at his own fault. The game's challenging, but not really all that good overall.
inFamous 2 Festival of Blood looks right up my alley as nifty little downloadable, especially as it's standalone