When I first laid eyes on the PlayStation Store, I saw the potential…but not much else. Granted, it was launch day for the PlayStation 3, but I had still wanted a bit more, and I never really expected it to produce games I'd be tempted to purchase. Like most gamers, I just wanted the best of the best, which typically took the form of $60 blockbuster releases. I figured the little downloadable titles on the Network just wouldn't appeal to me, and I hadn't anticipated a change of heart. Now, several years later, I find myself anxiously awaiting the next set of games. How strange is this ?
Yes, LittleBigPlanet is immensely innovative and other titles so far, like Mirror's Edge , have taken great strides in terms of creativity and originality. But if you want to play something entirely different, you really gotta head onto the PSN. It all started with flOw and in my mind, has recently hit yet another plateau with this past week's release of Flower . thatgamecompany is a team that demands your attention, even if they don't generate the kind of hype reserved for games like Killzone 2 and Resident Evil 5 . They rely entirely on ingenuity, and if we're being honest with ourselves, that's extraordinarily difficult to do. There's a certain level of artistic accomplishment, somehow fused with a fluid, unique gameplay experience that separates their games from the rest of the pack.
But the "rest of the pack" on the PSN ain't too shabby. Wipeout HD , while not necessarily "innovative," remains one of the best games out there – downloadable or otherwise – and really, there has always been a semblance of originality to that franchise. Then there's echochrome , which nearly warped the mind with its amazingly awesome concept. Who didn't first see that game and say something along the lines of, "holy SH**, this is fantastic!" That exclamation may have switched to, "er…fantastically difficult" in a few minutes time, but you can't argue against the premise. We've also had the likes of Cuboid (just a solid, engaging puzzler) and Magic Ball (simple, yet highly entertaining and even addictive), and despite its flaws, there isn't a human soul amongst us who didn't get a twisted laugh out of PAIN . And what about downloadable games based on full productions; Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty , for example, was excellent, just like all other entries in that series.
We haven't yet had the chance to take a look at Linger in Shadows , but we imagine it emphasizes the greatness of artistic interactivity in much the same way Flower does. And yes, I'm well aware of other games on the Xbox Live Marketplace, but you may not have noticed, we cover the PlayStation platform here. The point is, you can hop online and find a surprising number of great games, and perhaps even more shocking is the fact that many of them are wonderfully unique. Maybe developers need a smaller canvas to flex their creative muscle, if that makes any sense at all. Maybe they're given more license to try new things; I don't know exactly the reason, but it seems as if every major PSN update delivers something fresh and new. Therefore, for everyone whining about a lack of innovation, they have clearly never bothered to peruse the Store. Seriously, this is being written by someone who never once believed he'd take any significant interest in any PSN-oriented title.
I've definitely had a change of heart. How about you?