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PS3T's Top 25 PlayStation 3 Games - Part Four: A Bump in the Road

This is a discussion on PS3T's Top 25 PlayStation 3 Games - Part Four: A Bump in the Road within the Game Reviews forum, part of the Trophy Guides, Reviews & Articles; Part 4 - A Bump in the Road At this point in our journey, we've reached 2011 - one of ...

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    PS3T's Top 25 PlayStation 3 Games - Part Four: A Bump in the Road



    Part 4 - A Bump in the Road

    At this point in our journey, we've reached 2011 - one of the most memorable years in the PlayStation 3's life, though not for entirely the right reasons. To understand the problem, though, we'll need to rewind back a few months...

    In March, 2010, Sony removed support for third-party Operating Systems such as Linux on the PlayStation 3 via Official Firmware Update 3.21. The 'OtherOS' feature, which had been available since launch, was removed, according to Sony, because of ongoing security concerns (though later some would go on to claim it was for financial reasons, and had nothing to do with security). For 99% of PS3 owners, the news of the feature's removal passed by without so much as a murmur, but for a tiny minority, the abandonment of OtherOS was a breach of their consumer rights, and so they decided to kick up a fuss.

    In January, 2011, hacker George "Geohot" Hotz successfully jailbroke the PS3 (OFW 3.15) using the very exploit that Sony had attempted to rectify back in 2010, and published instructions for others to follow, as well as the PS3's 'root key' (essentially the fail-safe in the PS3 that authorizes any program attempting to run on it as either legitimate or illegitimate - in other words, it's what stops someone from being able to play pirated games, or run a 3rd-party OS, on the console) on YouTube and on his personal website. A few days later, Sony sued Hotz for distributing jailbreak software to the public, claiming that he was supporting piracy by facilitating the use of pirated software on jailbroken consoles.

    In April, 'hacktivist' group Anonymous began 'Operation Sony' - a series of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks - against the company in an effort to force Sony to leave Hotz alone (and to cease protecting their intellectual property). Several websites were temporarily forced to close as a result. Shortly afterwards, Sony settled their case with Hotz, and he agreed to take down his website and the offending information that he had released.


    An approximate recreation of the data intrusion

    On April 13, 2011, Anonymous warned Sony to prepare for an incoming attack via an online video, and on April 16 and 17 hackers broke into the PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment, making off with 77 million PSN users', and 25 million SOE users', personal account information, as well as the credit and debit card information of some 23,400 SOE Europe users. On April 19, Sony detected the breach in the PlayStation Network and began an investigation, but failed to immediately notify the public for reasons that defy comprehension.

    On April 20, 2011, Sony shut down the PlayStation Network, claiming that it was suffering from "technical issues." In response to growing suspicion and concerns from the public and press, Anonymous released a video on April 22 denying responsibility for the hack.

    April 26, 2011, a full week after the hack, Sony finally admitted that the enormous security breach, and called for FBI assistance in recovering the stolen data, tracking down the perpetrators, and closing the glaring gap in their security.

    On May 1st, 2011, Sony Executives publically apologised for the data breach and for the outage. At the same time, Sony and investigators discovered the Sony Online Entertainment breach, and quickly shut down the SOE servers, and the next day made details of the breach known to the public.


    Sony Execs take responsibility for the data breach

    Before a Congressional hearing held on May 4, 2011, Sony Chairman Kazuo 'Kaz' Hirai told Congress that investigators had discovered a file within the PSN named "Anonymous," bearing their motto: "We are Legion." While not explicitly stating that Anonymous were responsible, Sony claimed that the breach was made easier by the group's earlier efforts. The next day, Anonymous denied involvement in the credit card theft, saying that they were "trying to fight criminal activities by corporations and governments, not steal credit cards."

    On May 5, 2011, Sony released a statement saying that they were in the final stages of testing their new network, and that the PSN would be returning in the coming days. Unfortunately, it was not to be, and the PSN remained shuttered until May 14, 2011, when Sony finally released OFW update 3.61 which patched the security breach, and prompted users to change their passwords after signing in.

    The great PlayStation Network outage of 2011 was over, but it had far-reaching ramifications for the industry, for Sony, and for PlayStation gamers. The fact that so many accounts had been violated was enough of a reason for many to abandon or avoid the platform, but the issue was compounded by Sony's frankly inexcusable mishandling of the whole situation.

    Perhaps the biggest casualty of the outage, however, was Zipper Interactive, one of Sony's fantastic first-party developers and the guys responsible for the much-loved SOCOM series, who launched their new game SOCOM 4 on April 19, 2011. With online play being the primary selling point of SOCOM 4, the network outage absolutely killed the game's launch, and it ended up selling 500,000 units less than the previous game (which likely contributed to the studio's demise). SOCOM 4 wasn't the only game affected, though. Housemarque's fantastic 2D platformer Outland had its release delayed for almost two months, while countless other games available only on the PSN were unpurchaseable, putting a serious dent in the revenue of many small-time developers.


    It didn't make up for what happened, but the Welcome Back program was a step in the right direction

    In an effort to win back disillusioned gamers, on May 1, 2011, Sony unveiled their 'Welcome Back' program, which offered up to two free PS3 games and two free PSP games from a list of half-a-dozen or so to gamers who had PSN accounts from before the hack, as well as either a 60 day subscription extension or 30 day trial for PlayStation Plus, and a 12 month subscription to an online security service.

    Defying many people's predictions, Sony actually recovered exceptionally well. Within the first week, they reported that 94% of gamers had returned to PSN and by the summer of 2011 that number increased 100%. What's even more impressive is that within 6 months of the incident some 3 million new accounts were created.

    Sony would go on to spend the next year repairing the damage caused, and their relationship with gamers and the industry. Fortunately, most only needed one reason to come back: great games. And in that department, the PlayStation 3 delivered. Much like the 2010-11 season, the 2011-12 season was chock-full of great games, both multi-platform and PlayStation exclusive, of which the five games below are certainly the standouts. They are:




    Quote Originally Posted by Nagflar
    The original Deus Ex (a dystopian cyber-punk-themed action RPG from Eidos Software) left big shoes to fill, so many were logically sceptical when Square Enix announced a new entry in the series – Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Thankfully, for the most part, fans were not disappointed.

    Released in August, 2011, and set before the original, Human Revolution featured the same formula that made the first Deus Ex such an amazing experience: a well-written and engrossing story that explored what it means to be human; and solid, choice-driven gameplay that allowed you to progress through the game in whichever way suited you (for example, Human Revolution is one of only a handful of games that you can complete without ever killing anyone).

    As you made your way through the game, you could ‘modify’ your abilities and your character with ‘augmentations’ – technological upgrades to your body that allowed you to hack computers, turn invisible, analyse NPCs, and even see through walls - which added great depth and customization, not to mention replayability, to the game.

    By modern standards, the way the Human Revolution played and felt was somewhat archaic, but if you take your time to enjoy it, Human Revolution can be a thoroughly rewarding experience. If you’re a fan of a great story, and of flexibility and choice, you should definitely choose to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution.




    Quote Originally Posted by thedirtyburger
    In 2009, Rocksteady Studios released a little game called Batman: Arkham Asylum. Most Batman games in the past were not so good. You could even call them terrible. It's hard to imagine how you could screw up a concept like being the goddamn Batman that bad, but previous developers had. Arkham Asylum wasn't just a good Batman game, it was a GREAT one. Featuring a “Freeflow” combat system, it made you feel like you were Batman, rather than someone that just looked like Batman. You'd think they wouldn't be able to top Arkham Asylum, yet Rocksteady did just that in 2011's Batman: Arkham City.

    The game starts out with Bruce Wayne being abducted and forced into Arkham City, a chunk of Gotham sectioned off where Blackgate Prison's inmates and Arkham Asylum's patients are allowed to roam around in a free-for-all. All of that is only a fancy way of saying “you're in this city - beat the crap out of the bad guys,” and that's what it does well. The Freeflow combat – possibly the most satisfying combat system ever made – is back and better than ever, with some improvements made just for Arkham City. Now you counter two enemies at once, cracking heads Batman-style. It's a system that seems simple at first, but it's hard to master, and learning how to keep combos up in Batman: Arkham City is truly rewarding.

    Batman also has access to all sorts of gadgets, useable in or out of combat, giving you the choice of several tactics. Does some thug have a jammer blocking your detective mode? Use your Remote Electrical Charge to fire a burst of electricity at him and disable it. There are countless ways to use your gadgets, and you'll need to learn how to use them to survive.

    Once again, Stealth is a key part of gameplay, and you’ll spend a lot of your time stalking the shadows and hunting your prey from above. Every facet of it is incredibly satisfying, from the brutal takedowns, to stringing up goons and scaring the s**t out of their buddies, all the while maintaining Batman’s fluidity.

    With a meaty campaign, dozens of side-quests, combat challenges, and plenty of optional content (including a campaign for Catwoman) - whether you're a fan of The Bat or just of good games - Batman: Arkham City will keep you busy for hours on end.




    Quote Originally Posted by Faust
    In 2006, the then-unknown independent studio thatgamecompany signed a three-game deal with SCE, making them an exclusive second-party developer. Their first two games, flOw and Flower, were both simple yet beautiful games, with disarmingly simple and relaxing gameplay, vibrant and distinct art styles, and amazing soundtracks, and together they set the bar quite high for TGCs third and final Sony-exclusive. That game was to be Journey, and it’s one of the finest indie games ever made, and one that I’ll personally cherish for years to come.

    Journey is an elegant and touching game that is minimalist in its design, but rich its presentation. You play as a hooded figure who awakes in the desert with a single goal: to reach the top of the imposing mountain in the far distance - no other information is given; You have no name, no language, no gender, no race - you’re just you.

    Along the way you encounter other hooded figures, other players at the same point in their own journey that you can travel with, without any obvious benefit other than simple companionship. Your only method of communication is your movements, and your bird-like chirps, and you never find out who you were traveling with until your journey came to its conclusion. It’s a revolutionary form of co-operative play that cuts out many of the features of online play that so many of us could do without, like obnoxious screen names and irritating voice chat.

    Like TGCs other games, Journey is also a self-enclosed argument for the notion that games are indeed art; every rendered frame is a pleasure to behold, and every note of its soulful soundtrack fills you emotion.

    Playing through Journey is a deeply personal, if not spiritual, experience, and it means something different for everyone that has the pleasure of playing it. For some it’s an allegory for life and rebirth; for others it’s about goals and achievement, and overcoming adversity; and for others, it’s about the frailty of relationships, and how far we’re willing to go to hold on to them. But that’s the beauty in its design – Journey is so modest – so indirect – that you’re free to interpret it in any way.

    I can continue to wax poetic about it, but I’ll never be able to recommend Journey enough. If you have a heart and a soul; if you have an appreciation for life and beauty; if you dream and if you love, you owe it to yourself to experience the majesty of Journey.




    Quote Originally Posted by Nagflar
    Borderlands 2 took the formula of the original game – shooting, levelling, and looting - and polished and expanded it. With more content, a better story, improved gameplay and even more entertaining online co-operative play, it gave us a good idea of how sequels should work.

    Set on the planet Pandora, you play as one of four Vault Hunters, warriors of great skill and renown, seeking revenge against Handsome Jack, an egomaniacal sociopath and wannabe interplanetary dictator who rose to power in the wake of the events of the original Borderlands. You're also seeking loot. Don't forget the loot.

    Borderlands 2 has been supported – and continues to be, even a year after its release - by a steady flow of fresh content, including new Vault Hunters for you to play as, new areas to explore and loot, new enemies to murder, and new trophies. It's definitely one of those fun and entertaining experiences you should not miss; and with a Game of the Year Edition (which includes almost all the content that's been released up 'till now) out now, and a PS Vita port hitting stores soon, you're out of reasons to not try Borderlands 2.




    Quote Originally Posted by Faust
    Formed by a group of former LucasArts employees with a love for classic adventure games, Telltale is a wonderful and nostalgic developer known for taking beloved franchises like Sam & Max, Monkey Island, and Back to the Future and breathing new life into them, while maintaining what made them beloved in the first place.

    In 2012, Telltale released The Walking Dead - an episodic adventure game based in the universe of Robert Kirkman’s comic series of the same name (not AMC’s TV series, as many have incorrectly assumed) about the lives and exploits of a group of people struggling to survive in a zombie apocalypse. Rather than a straight-up adaptation, though, Telltale’s game features an all new cast of characters and a fresh narrative, created in collaboration with Kirkman himself so as to maintain the same thematic tone - the same dark, melancholic, utterly bleak tone.

    First and foremost, The Walking Dead is about narrative and characters, and the gameplay reflects that. Best described as a point-and-click adventure or a digital choose-your-own-adventure novel, TWD provides you with a broad narrative structure, but allows you to pursue and explore character relationships in whatever way you like. Characters will remember how you treated them, and how you treated others; you’ll form alliances and make sacrifices; and you’ll even influence who lives and who dies. It’s a testament to the quality of the writing that no two people will ever experience the same game.

    That’s not to say that the game is just one big chat, mind you. During each of the five story episodes you’ll be exploring, scavenging for supplies, and fighting off the undead (and worse). Telltale has done a particularly good job of infusing action sequences with a terrific mixture of panic and dread that will have your adrenaline flowing and your heart pounding, and suddenly and unexpectedly throwing you into intense and uncomfortable situations in which the instinctual decisions you make will have great and far-reaching consequences.

    After dozens of Game of the Year Awards and countless other accolades (not to mention over 21 million copies sold) Telltale’s The Walking Dead is proof that games don't need level-up systems, body counts, or multiplayer modes to be a success. Considering that it’s available on almost every conceivable platform, and with the first episode of season 2 just out, there has never been a better time to see what all the fuss is about.


    Credits:

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    Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
    Last edited by Faust; 01-07-2014 at 02:57 AM.

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    Hoping to see The Last of Us, Fallout 3 and Skyrim on part 5. Good to see my other 2 favorite games of this gen (RDR and Arkham City) included on this one.
    Last edited by AlecDawesome; 12-26-2013 at 06:22 PM.
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    Yay for Arkham City and The Walking Dead. I'm about to start Borderlands 2 now so I'll finally see for myself if it is that good.



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    Journey still astounds me, it shows how to get great impact from a short runtime, it looks beautiful, it has a brilliant online mode that barely announces it's there and the score is one of my favourites from any game, Journey is easily one of my most beloved games of the generation too.

    As for the other four, Deus Ex HR and Borderlands 2 are also easily in the Top 10 of the generation for me whilst Batman AC and The Walking Dead were also damn good, The Walking Dead could have been GOTY in 2012 for me but Journey and Borderlands 2 were just too fecking awesome.

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    I still remember all that hacking stuff like it was yesterday, I can't believe it's been well over 2 years since then, I remember what game I was playing at the time which was MvC3 as I couldn't get online at the time. And then they rolled out that welcome back package which I don't think I took full advantage of .

    Two games in there which I always here good things about from gamers on here are The Walking Dead and Borderlands 2. I'd be more inclined to try TWD as I'm not a fan of shooters. And I would definately love to play Arkham City one day as Arkham Asylum was fantastic! Great stuff Faust and co, thankyou.

    Sig and avy by the awesomely talented stupot00 and GDT bar by the excellent djunglist

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