With the Playstation 3 approaching the grave, many gamers have been left feeling embittered by Sony’s broken promises, crushing disappointments, and outright lies. It’s difficult to excuse the many years it took the PS3 to settle into a worthwhile console. From lost exclusives to abandoned functionality- Sony’s black box has had a hard life. Early adopters might still be kicking themselves for dropping half a grand on the PS3, but the rest of us have been pleasantly surprised to see the console’s gradual turnaround.
Despite all the hardship and trials- the PS3 managed to solidify its place in console history as an excellent, albeit flawed, game machine. With its successor on the verge of landing on store shelves, many gamers are asking themselves if they will take the plunge. Personally, before I even consider purchasing a Playstation 4, I intend to squeeze every drop of entertainment out of its predecessor. Examining the troubled history of the PS3 reveals not only many incredible gems, but plenty of utter failures.
White Knight Chronicles
While the Xbox 360 has a depressing history of overhyped Role-playing exclusives that crashed and burned (Fable 3, Last Remnant, Infinite Undiscovery), the PS3 was largely immune to this curse. That is… until White Knight Chronicles. Now this is partly due to the lack of RPG exclusives on Sony’s black box, but it can also be attributed to realistic expectations that kept games like Demon’s Souls and the Disgaea series from failure. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of White Knight Chronicles.
With enough delays to turn boys into men and epic trailers that hyped the game to the heavens, White Knight Chronicles was doomed from the start due to unreachable expectations. Instead of the dynamic combat featured in the promos, gamers received an unresponsive hybrid of real-time and turn-based gameplay that pleased fans of neither. The characters, with the exception of Caesar, were flat and boring clichés- of the same mediocre caliber of the story itself. If you’re eager to sit through ten hours of a hormonal white knight desperately chase after the unlikable princess he’s spent all of five minutes with, be my guest.
White Knight Chronicles II
It isn’t often that an RPG disappoints quite so much as this sequel to the tale of a whiny, white knighting teenager. It’s difficult to not pick on the WK series when so many promises were left unfilled. Gamers spoiled on the claims of the PS3’s processing power expected a massive leap forward for the Role-playing genre. Needless to say, they did not see that here. This sequel was a chance to redeem the series’ sluggish start. Rather than fix the uninspired storytelling, dull characters, and flawed battle system, the developers managed to make things even worse this time around. How?
In pure terms of value, White Knight Chronicles II easily surpasses the original. Why? It contains a fully remastered version of the first game. While this deeply upset those suckered into paying $60 for the original, it was great for newcomers to get a disc containing the fine-tuned predecessor. The combat was faster, the visuals were slightly polished, and a fair amount of gameplay tweaks made the game more enjoyable. The downside? The pay-to-play online pass, recycling of enemies and locales, trivial new content, and overall rushed feel that so burdened the original. On a final note, be prepared to watch your created character silently hide in the background in cutscenes- again.
Playstation Move Heroes
There isn’t much to be said here that hasn’t already been spelled out in countless negative reviews. How can you take so many fan-favorite franchises and jam them into a piece of software so unenjoyable, so unplayable, so vile- that people swear off future releases completely? This dreadful attempt to trick gamers into early adoption of the Playstation Move was met with universal criticism and disappointment. Those suckered in found themselves playing insipid mini-games while growing to despise their previously beloved characters.
Warhawk was an awesome team-based, third person shooter that showcased the online prowess of the PS3 early on in its life cycle. The graphical style was likeable without pushing the envelope, the match types were varied, and the game itself was a blast. As an added bonus, a headset was included with the game for proper team-play. After a highly praised, addictive first outing, how did Sony screw up its sequel?
By tacking on an awful, forgettable story mode, overcomplicating the gameplay, requiring the dreaded online pass, and failing to innovate or improve on the original formula. The original featured only a practice mode in the way of single player content- Starhawk foolishly wasted resources on a downright terrible story. If the idea was to introduce newcomers to the gameplay, why not fulfill the innumerable fan requests and include bots? If you are a die-hard fan of Warhawk, you can pick up Starhawk for a dirt cheap price secondhand, but be prepared to pay to hop online with an extremely unfriendly, unforgiving community.
Yakuza: Dead Souls
As an extra campaign on the disc of Yakuza 4, this could have been a fantastic experience. As add-on DLC ala Undead Nightmare or Lost and the Damned, it could have been incredible. Instead Sega chose to release this ultimately fun, but fundamentally flawed game as a standalone title. Yakuza Dead Souls has a great game somewhere buried inside it- an excellent game in fact. You just have to wade through awful gun controls and a damning lack of multiplayer to get to it.
How did Sega manage to develop such a great zombie sandbox game while forgetting the most important ingredient? The frustrating gameplay could be overlooked if you could simply play the game cooperatively with friends- or, heck, one friend. The simple addition of either split-screen or online co-op would have saved this Yakuza spin-off from being more than just an unattractive curiosity. This is really disappointing given the PS3’s desperate need for a co-op, zombie sandbox exclusive. In the meantime, enjoy the brainless CPU teammates that the game sticks you with.