Playstation Now is a monthly subscription based service which has a library that encompasses some of the best games of the previous generation and some interesting titles of the current generation as well. It’s a streaming service, so your broadband speed needs to be a minimum of 5 mbps and some titles do need some storage space on your hard drive to be able to play, another welcome additional feature of PSNow is the ability to play these titles on your PC as well.
I’ve been a member of this service for the past twelve months and there’s some incredible games that are available in it’s ever expanding library. I want to take a look at them in detail and maybe illustrate why this service is something that I would consider value for money.
Asura’s Wrath is an instantly compelling, anime influenced title. Within the first opening moments, you literally fight a planet and the game keeps escalating the action and violence from here. You play as the titular Asura, a demigod who is hell bent on sheer visceral vengeance against his former demigod colleagues who betrayed him. They murdered his wife and enslaved his daughter and plan to enslaved humanity so that they can use them as a power source for their ever-hungry machines of war.
This is an epic narrative which spans over 12,000 years and through the game, you will witness some incredible and totally hyperbolic moments. Asura is powered by his pure anger, in fact it was this anger that resurrects him and through it he will become more and more powerful as the game is being played, this leads to some fantastic over the top, violent and mesmerising scenes. The Earth exploding into a gigantic laser-shooting maw and Asura being able to punch his enemies so hard that they leave the Earth and go into orbit
These crazy action sequences are presented flawlessly and often seamlessly translate into beautiful cutscenes which are quick time heavy. This is one of the potential draw backs of many gaming titles, but here it keeps the player focused on the action on the screen and involved in the story – a way of making the player feel like an active participant during the cutscene as opposed to a passive observer.
The graphics and animation are something to behold, vivid and the best implementation of 3D manga perspective that I have ever seen, furious eyes and emotional facial animation bring the whole story and character to life. For a game that’s focused on pure rage, it’s conversely, something that will leave you with nothing but satisfaction as you progress through it.
This is a hidden gem and worth taking the time to play through.
This to me celebrates the pinnacle of Sony’s arthouse exclusives, made by the ingenious Fumito Ueda, this is an emotionally deep, captivating tale of a young man’s attempt to rescue his girlfriend from a crumbling castle. It’s a masterpiece of puzzle design and it’s art style is unique and is a definite part of why each choice the player makes in the game has emotional consequence.
The style is so strong that the choice for the storytelling to be wordless comes across as a positive design decision by the developers. This is a game which, once played, will live on in your memory as a truly magnificent gaming experience. When I think of this title, I can feel myself traversing the windswept battlements, it’s the haunting originality of the game which has lifted it from sleeper hit to something legendary in gaming circles.
The feeling of simply being in the world that Ico creates and surrounds the player with, the combination of the visuals, the sound and puzzle design some together to give it the unique status that it deserves. This is really unlike anything else on the market (although Shadow of the Colossus is often compared to it) it’s like being in a dream, a little frightening, a little beautiful but something magical because of all those sensations.
The gameplay mechanic is structured around getting yourself and the lovely Jorda from A to B, now this isn’t as simple as it first appears. Jorda has limited movement and you will find yourself having to create and navigate a different path for her. To manoeuvre her around, you have to either lead her by the hand or call her from a short distance away to lead her on the correct path.
This is a challenging game experience from which you will craft many lasting memories and you will truly bond with the protagonists.
Ratchet and Clank : A Crack in Time
This oddball platforming franchise has been consistently good throughout it’s various iterations, but this is the title which stands out amongst them, it’s a spectacular piece of platforming fun. Ratchet is a fuzzy hero who carries an arsenal of different and at times comical weapons, jumping and shooting, his weapons becoming more and more powerful as they connect with their intended targets. His buddy Clank, is a small robot who features in slightly more puzzle orientated missions which are separated from Ratchet’s adventures. Playing the two characters brings a genuinely diverse experience and their character design is absolutely delightful.
The moments of comic genius include the quips which issue from clank, never failing to raise a smile to the laugh out loud results of firing a weapon which turns enemies into Chimpanzees! The gameplay consists of flying to planets, killing strange alien creatures with crazy weapons, which include, in addition to the chimpanzee gun, a pistol that shoots ricocheting lasers, a bundle of sticks which dig into the ground creating an explosive trap and a gun that shoots a massive bowling ball of energy.
Graphically, this game resembles looney tunes finest, the games heroes are animated in incredible detail which reminded me of the Pixar cinematic legacy. The environments are presented as stunning vistas, distant planets rings peeking over the horizon of a moon where Ratchet is standing. It’s a title which not only stuns with it’s solid gameplay mechanics but also it’s confident vibrant detailed visuals.
This is one of the most enjoyable platforming title of the last decade, fast paced, exciting and presented in an incredibly polished way, this is worth a play through
The Last of Us
This is widely regarded as the best Playstation exclusive of all time, heavily influenced by Cormac McCarthy’s literary masterpiece The Road, it presents a hopeless, post-apocalyptic environment navigated by an adult and a child with only despair surrounding them. It’s an incredible piece of emotional craftsmanship, it’s a feasibly realistic interpretation of a zombie apocalypse. We get a little backstory of what happened to drive society into this bleak future, but the main focus is tightly on Joel and the girl he must protect, Ellie.
The last of us builds it’s narrative at a surprising pace, initially beginning in a slow burn, concentrating on Joel and his partner Tess, exploring the beautiful environments, smouldering with atmosphere. A place where humans can easily turn against their own, criminal enterprise thriving even in the presence of a totalitarian military state. The vast majority of the populace have been transformed by a fungal virus which has transformed them into rabid, violent emissaries of hate and in later stages – their heads completely covered, they slowly change, spitting spores and consuming human flesh.
This is a third person survival horror game with strong emphasis on stealth and melee combat. Aligned with the combat there is also the ability to craft objects, this happens in real-time and as you scramble around the environments, protecting Ellie and trying to survive, you are also on the look out for scrap from which you can craft useful weapons. This brings real consequences based on your decisions and the level of exploration that you are prepared to make. Will you tape that tape and scissors and craft a shiv (the only weapon able to stealth kill the evolved clicker zombie type) or will you instead craft a smoke bomb so to get out of a situation quickly and without excessive combat, preserving your health in the process.
The title not only has an utterly compelling single player campaign, but also an intriguing multiplayer, something rich and robust, where you make a choice between two factions and jump into one of two match modes. Supply Raid and Survivors, Survivors presents the player with the best of seven, four on four deathmatches – where death is brutally permanent. Supply raid is a straight up 4 vs 4 mode and equally as enjoyable. Supply raid offers the ability for the player to craft items / weapons also.
The Last of Us is an incredible tense, visually and atmospherically stunning Survival Horror with captivating character design. In a console era awash with this genre, this game stands head and shoulders above the competition.
Hopefully these four choices of games that I find essential proof of the Playstation Now’s value will convince you to join this service and explore these and the other incredible library of titles available.