My favourite PS3 moments of 2010 (spoilers)
Rock Band 3: Pro Drums
After playing Rock Band 3 I must admit to feeling a small amount of disappointment. Yes, it’s a truly innovative game, its UI is exceptional, and its aspirations toward teaching real life skills through gaming is one of the more commendable things to have come from 2010. But when I actually sat down to play the pro guitar was far too difficult for me, and I couldn’t get the hang of the keyboard. As a result the game just felt like just another Rock Band instalment. The pro drums, however, were at different matter entirely. The addition of two cymbals balanced complexity with accessibility with great skill, the result being a new added dimension to a style of play I’ve loved since the very first Rock Band.
BioShock 2: A Different Perspective
BioShock 2 was never going to live up to the impact of its predecessor; sequels rarely do. But even though Rapture felt far more familiar the second time around and the BioShock 2′s pay-off wasn’t quite as revelatory as that of the first game, 2K Marin still had plenty of tricks up its sleeve. The best was revealed near the end, when a new Plasmid allows you to inhabit the mind of a Little Sister and see how their mentally-conditioned psyche’s view the underwater world of Rapture. Basically it looks a lot more pleasant than how a Big Daddy sees it.
Red Dead Redemption: The Death of John Marston
Like Uncharted’s Nathan Drake there’s a strange disconnect about John Marston’s character. We’re constantly told he’s a good guy, a reformed criminal just looking to live out the rest of his life quietly and peacefully. But then we see, and control, his other side – the sadistic, brutal, psychopath serial killer. Well, John Marston may be these things but he’s still likeable, thanks to the talent of Rockstar’s writers and the excellent voice work of Rob Wiethoff. That – and the fact you see Marston’s better side in his interactions with his family towards the game’s end – make his death all the more poignant. Gunned down in front of his barn while Edgar Ross coldly smokes his cigar is cinematic gaming at its finest.
Bayonetta: Fighting a Giant Upside Down Baby Face With Snakes Coming Out Of It
The title says it all really.
Enslaved: Odyssey To The West: Monkey & Trip’s Relationship
Very much a love-it-or-hate-it game, I fell very much into the former category with Enslaved. Ninja Theory has a knack for making what I consider great Sunday afternoon gaming experiences – like Heavenly Sword, Enslaved is a great mix of action, adventure, fantastical environments and brilliantly realised characters. Monkey was one such character, and his relationship with Trip was delivered with subtlety and poignancy. It was made all the better by the fact I wasn’t expecting much from the game whatsoever – who would have thought that a game with a muscle-bound protagonist and a half-dressed female lead could actually be emotionally resonant?
God Of War III: The Opening Battle
I was going to award this one to the battle with Cronos, but I think it’s only fair to give it to the opening battle with Poseidon, simply because the impact of that set piece was so much more impressive. The thrashing horse-beast-crab thing looked absolutely phenomenal the first time we laid eyes on it, and Poseidon’s death was one of the most violent we’ve seen in recent years (although it was soon topped by Helios’s).
Heavy Rain: Nathaniel
The moment Heavy Rain clicked for me was during Norman Jayden’s visit to religious nut Nathaniel’s apartment. For FBI agent Jayden it’s a normal day at work, until Nathaniel returns from shopping and pulls out his gun. During the following stand-off the option to fire Jayden’s gun is ever-present, the R1 prompt floating just above the barrel of his gun. While attempting to talk Nathaniel down I was very aware that things could go wrong at any minute; that this was a man unhinged and unstable. At one point Nathaniel raised his voice a little past my zone of comfort, causing me to panic and fire off a shot, killing the man immediately. It was then that Heavy Rain’s true brilliance was made totally apparent to me – I’d acted on instinct and emotion rather than thought. I’d killed a man, and I’d been to feel bad for pulling the trigger. Very, very few games have ever made me feel that way.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction: Erm, DJ Shadow? Awesome
I love DJ Shadow and I love the song Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt, so to hear it kick in while Sam Fisher had a Jack Bauer rage moment easily made it one of my favourite gaming moments of 2010.