A Sony exclusives primer for the Xbox fanboy – Part 1

Let’s be honest here — up until a couple months ago, Stevivor.com was a VERY Xbox 360-centric site. NO LONGER!

The staff have rounded up their favourite Sony exclusive titles in an effort to educate those in the ways of the PlayStation. Join us as we revisit franchises old and new and explain what makes them so special.

God of War

Santa Monica Studios’ popular God of War series first released in 2005 by Sony Computer Entertainment has grown into a global phenomenon that includes games for PS2, PS3 and PSP, comics and even a rumoured film in the works. This adventure, action-packed, slasher game has you following the trials and tribulations of Kratos, a Spartan warrior who doubles as a demigod. The loveable power hungry protagonist is in a constant struggle against the powers of Olympus.

Those familiar with Greek mythology that play this game will notice that it isn’t always the most accurate portrayal, though still a very entertaining one.  The main titles in the series (God of War 1,2 and 3) have averaged a GameRankings review score of 92.6%, which just goes to show how well this franchise has performed at keeping their material consistently enthralling.

What these games do very well is although the game play is really just a one-way slash fest; it keeps you entertained the entire time.

With the Studio Director at Santa Monica Studios releasing a statement confirming the continuation of the franchise for the future there is miles of room for growth for this amazing franchise. – Matthew Bird

Siren Blood Curse

How do you feel about survival horror? Like to feel alone and alienated, like in Bioshock? Poorly armed and occasionally defenceless, like Alone in the Dark? Constantly under threat from a seemingly endless, but frighteningly quiet, trickle of enemies, like in Resident Evil? An active participant in a storybook narrative, like Alan Wake? Most importantly, do you like to rarely have any fucking clue what’s actually going on, like Silent Hill? Sony Computer Entertainment’s Siren Blood Curse is all these things, and more!

What do we know? An American TV crew goes to Japan to investigate the phenomenon of a “vanishing village”, involving a strange cult, human sacrifices, and weird zombie/ghost things called ‘shibito’. You follow this utterly perplexing story from half a dozen different perspectives; as you play as different characters throughout the story. From an agile young man with a sniper rifle down to a five-year-old girl whose only ability/defence is hiding (no weapons, no fast running, just OH GOD GET IN THE CUPBOARD QUICKLY IT’S COMING), the game is constantly new and different. Originally released in downloadable chapters, the game is now available in one solid, confusing, spine-tingling block. A hugely underrated title for the PS3. – Jasper Schultz

LittleBigPlanet

This iconic puzzle/platformer series from developers Media Molecule set a new level for the genre to live up to. Featuring a uniquely creative physics engine, LittleBigPlanet invited people to “Play. Create. Share.” which is exactly what the game is about. The graphics are beautiful and stylised with a fantastic soundtrack with narration by none other than Stephen Fry.

You play as Sackboy — a cloth creation who runs, jumps, grabs and swings himself around a set of very interesting and varied themed levels. LittleBigPlanet 2 actually became a Guinness World Record holder for the ‘most genres in one video game’, to give you a better idea. The game really shines in multiplayer (either local or online) with additional co-op puzzles and rewards.

Creation is a huge part of the game as well. Whether it’s creating a special look for your own Sackperson or their “Pod” using a myriad of costumes and stickers picked up through the story levels, or designing entirely new levels to gad about in, there’s content here to keep creationists (no, not that kind) enthralled for hours. LBP also uses the PlayStation Network to a great advantage with the ability to share your creations with other players. – Hammond Buckland

Folklore

Folklore is one of those rare titles that doesn’t receive much publicity and goes largely unnoticed. It’s a real shame because Folklore is an atmospheric title that employs an incredible art style that’s reminiscent of Tim Burton.

As a game that was released incredibly early in the PS3’s life cycle, Folklore by no means pushed the boundaries of what the console could do. But that’s not where this title shines. The execution of the gameplay is what sets it apart from the heap. As a title that combines a heavily stylized art direction with an incredibly fun yet simple combat and capture system it draws you in and keeps you engaged which not many titles do these days.

With incredible character design, from the protagonists to the faery creatures that guide you on your merry way through the psychedelic netherworld, Folklore was something unique and deserved far more praise than it received. – Trent Watherston

Uncharted

I own an Xbox 360, and my allegiance lies with the Xbox 360; but I do own a PS3. And the sole reason I bought a PS3 is Uncharted.

Set in the regular, modern world (no aliens or parallel universes or dystopian futures? Get out), Nathan “Nate” Drake is a supposed descendant of famous explorer Sir Francis Drake, who goes on adventures to find lost treasures and fight bad guys. It’s your standard Indiana Jones fare, which translates so well to action-adventure games I honestly don’t understand why there aren’t a hundred more games like this.

But there isn’t, which gives the PS3 a huge advantage; because with the exception of the most recent few Tomb Raider titles, the Xbox just doesn’t have a grounded action adventure game on par with Uncharted. The game story is cracking, the dialogue is mostly entertaining, the visuals are stunning (like, stand still for a moment and just spin the camera around to take it all in stunning), and both the single story campaigns and multiplayer modes are fun as hell.

If you’re not convinced about the PS3, try Uncharted. If you’re not convinced after that, you should give up: either you’ll never be convinced, or you’re a Dalek. – Jasper Schultz

Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo has been one of the flag ship titles for Sony through the various hardware releases of the PlayStation console. First released in 1997 and developed by Polyphony Digital, Gran Turismo is a combination of game and real life driving simulator that grants players the ability to tune popular car models and race them on world renowned race tracks. It’s a title that caters to the grease monkey and rev head in all of us.

Gran Turismo is a beautifully rendered game with stunning environments to drive through, amazingly modelled vehicles and real time damage rendering. It always raises the benchmark for all titles that come after it with each release.

Recent iterations of the series have added more varied vehicles for racing and modification, as well as new types of racing including drifting, and kart racing. Online functionality as of Gran Turismo 5 became a large core part of the series adding a whole new dimension to the series.

As a series Gran Turismo thrives, every release is highly anticipated and with vehicles always in production in the world there’s no doubt this series will always have content to justify another release. – Trent Watherston

Jak & Daxter

One of Sony’s prized exclusives on the PS2, over the course of three games, the Jak & Daxter series evolved from a Mario/Crash-style platformer, into a Grand Theft Auto clone, into something comfortably between the two. Critically-praised and popular, the series balanced addictive gameplay with a cracking storyline that sparkled with that trademark Naughty Dog wit (think: Rare of the N64 era). While fans have eagerly awaited Jak’s fourth proper adventure, they haven’t held their breath. After all, developer Naughty Dog has a pattern. On the PSOne, they gave us three Crash Bandicoot games and a kart racer. On the PS2, they gave us three Jak & Daxter games and a kart racer.

This generation, Naughty Dog has moved on to the critical and commercial juggernaut, Uncharted… But could Jak & Daxter make a surprise return before this generation is out? (Their appearance in this year’s mostly so-so PlayStation Move Heroes doesn’t count). With a third Uncharted game on the horizon, and an HD Jak and Daxter PS3 collection rumoured for January, could a fourth Jak & Daxter instalment be on the cards for 2012? (After the obligatory Uncharted Kart Racing, of course…) – William Kostakis

We’ll finish this great round-up tomorrow, and then start rolling out some reviews on some recently dropped Sony exclusives. Stay tuned!