10 Reasons To Love PSN
6th Sep 2008 | 11:00
Sony made good on its promise to develop the PSN Store this month by assuring UK gamers that future PSN games will be released on the same day here as on the US Store.
There'll be more PSone games too, to bring us more in line with the Japanese Store. Here are 10 new PSN downloads you have to try:
1: Ratchet & Clank: Quest For Booty
Continuing the story of Tools Of Destruction in a download game, Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty is a brave step forward. The game uses all the tricks you'll have learned in the original PS3 release and adds light-based gameplay while an add-on to Ratchet's wrench enables you to interact remotely with the environment. Read the full review on page 98.
If you're a fan of trippy, atmospheric games like Rez, LocoRoco and Ico then Flower will blossom in your games collection. The aim is to guide a petal around a field using Sixaxis, every time you float over a blade of grass more petals are added to your trail and the level begins to erupt with colour.
There's a story of sorts about merging the urban and natural worlds, and each level begins with your petal floating off an apartment window ledge. But that's not the point, Flower, like the dev's other PSN game flOw is about relaxation and experimentation.
3: Siren: Blood Curse
You can buy each episode of Sony's horror romp seperately, or pick up the full game at a cheaper price. The concept is intriguing and should encourage other publishers to release games episodically over PSN at a cheaper cost. Luckily Siren is good too and will tide you over until Dead Space arrives. Reviewed page 94.
4: Fat Princess
A hack 'n' slash strategy game that could overtake PixelJunk Monsters on PSN as the cute game of choice, Fat Princess has more going for it than the zesty name. The aim of each level is to rescue the princess, each team (the game supports 32 players) heads to the opposing castle - but her majesty is a bit of a porker, so at least four players must carry her.
Add in upgrades, perks and character classes (Builders can create watchtowers and Archers can fire from them) that offer tactical ways to prevent your Princess from being snatched, and Fat Princess is one cute and cuddly royal we'd like to see much more of.
5: Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists Of Plastic
The team behind LittleBigPlanet are stretching their legs with Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists Of Plastic - a novelty beat-'em-up that manages to mix Nintendo's Smash Brothers with the classic IK+ and come out looking good.
The draw is an art style that makes its characters look like action figures and sets them against one another on a 2D platform plain. The LBP comparisons are evident, but Rag Doll Kung Fu's wealth of combo moves and four-player online mode has an appeal and originality all of its own.
6: PixelJunk Eden
The PixelJunk brand is fast becoming a badge of quality on PSN, and PixelJunk Eden is quickly shaping into the label's best game yet. This beautiful platform-puzzler is a unique blend of LocoRoco and Xbox 360's ninja puzzler - N+.
Eden is a game that challenges you to navigate levels collecting pollen and zapping enemies. The twist is that you can swing from tree to tree and also grow branches to latch onto, ensuring tactical planning is needed to scoop up all the pollen. Eden is an imaginative puzzler that could prove addictive. Read the review on page 100.
7: SOCOM: Confrontation
The team that successfully reinvented Sony's squad-shooter on PSP is making a fist of bringing the series bang up to date on PSN. This will be a download only blast, in a similar vein to Warhawk. SOCOM will support the online community in full from the off with Clan Ladders, Leaderboards and regular Tournaments. Gameplay will support 32-player matches; offering classes, customisation and multi-mode maps. Don't disguard SOCOM for its PSN status - this is a quality shooter.
8: Crash Commando
Resurrecting gameplay that went out of fashion with the phrases 'lush', 'wicked' and 'skill', Crash Commando is a true Eighties throwback. This is a side-scrolling multiplayer shooter that has coin-op hits like Quartet and Xenophobe tattooed on its bulging pixel biceps and pits two teams of rival commandos against each other in a battle for points and bragging rights.
You'll have vehicles at your disposal, including jet-packs, jeeps and tanks, while portals enable you to flip to a second 'layer' of the level to get the drop on your rival. Not the most original game on this list, but retroheads will lap it up. Recommended.
9: PAIN: Amusement Park
This expansion to PAIN offers more of the same, including new online modes, events and online leaderboards. You'll need to already own the original PAIN, so unless you've bought into the game's mix of casual puzzling, this expansion could turn out to be an expensive ride.
Again, the aim is to fire your little man at various obstacles, this time attractions include the Tilt-A-Hurl, Booty Of The Sea and Duaces Wild - before employing aftertouch (using Sixaxis) to steer your hero into as many point- scoring and painful perils as possible.
Sony's ambitious virtual community space opened its doors this month and perfectly illustrated why Home will be an essential part of all future PS3 games. From the main Plaza - a central hub - the developer took us to a Naughty Dog room via a menu on a virtual PSP.
This room was modelled after the dream bar Victor Sullivan talks about in Uncharted. On the wall are pictures of Nathan and Victor, in the corner a Pitfall coin-op machine and in the back is a locked door likely to open once you achieve the required Trophy in Uncharted.
Home is a virtual space to meet friends, hang out, chat and launch multiplayer jaunts in your favourite PS3 games. The scope is vast and it's understandable why Home has been delayed for so long. An October release date is now on the cards.