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Pure platinum: 5 PS3 classics to get you started

Submitted by on Saturday, 29 May 20104 Comments

Arriving late at a party can be a daunting experience; already, everyone will be overly familiar with each other, they’ll certainly be drunker, and the conversations will usually revolve around some crazy incident you’ve missed. There’s only one thing to do; throw yourself in the mix, drink quickly and hopefully figure out what the hell everyone is on about.

Thankfully, arriving late to the PS3 party isn’t quite so much of a struggle, thanks to the platinum (read: greatest hits) range. This selection of classics separates the wheat from the chaff, making it easier for you to know what is essential. What’s better, they’re dirt cheap, so you’ve got no excuse not go on a massive gaming binge.

For a game to qualify for the platinum treatment it must have sold over 400, 000 copies. Qualified games get repackaged with a £19.99 RRP slapped on them. We have selected five of the best, and most of them can be picked up for even less than the RRP.

So what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time you started catching up?

Grand Theft Auto IV

Probably the best description of Grand Theft Auto came from a scaremongering news report for the original GTA which precipitated the following summary by  Jeremy Paxman:

“Grand Theft Auto is a game in which contestants can rise through the criminal underworld by performing jobs for gangster godfathers. Points are awarded for murder, arson and drug running.”

We’re now onto the fourth game and Paxman’s description still reads true; it’s still a banquet of immorality containing enough over-the-top angst to make Tony Montana (aka Scarface) blush, but GTA games have always been about more than mindless thuggery. Rockstar are fully aware of how ridiculous the violence is, and they play it up until it becomes a farce because humour is integral to what makes GTA great. Sure, the latest game is more serious than its predecessors but the humour is still there, thanks to its great script writing and voice acting.

Exploration is also key to GTA. It’s the series that popularised the sandbox genre – that is, a game which encourages freedom and exploration in a vast environment. And vast Liberty City certainly is: the level of depth and attention to detail is incredible. So if you don’t fancy following the story like a dog on a lead, you could go and play some cards, take your girl on a date or simply cruise around in your stolen vehicle.

You shouldn’t pass up on the story though. It’s hard not to find yourself immersed in the misadventures of Niko Belic, an Eastern European immigrant with a troubled past who has travelled to Liberty City looking for a fresh start while searching for the American Dream. It’s a story full of humour, tension and tragedy.

Last month saw the release of Episodes from Liberty City, two contrasting stories which flesh out the city’s murky underworld. They’re available either as DLC or as a boxed release. They’ve proved to be a critical success – which just goes to show that the GTA IV engine is still going strong a few years into this generation. And well it should: Rockstar spent $100m developing the game after all, but you can pick it up at bargain prices today. A steal.

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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Solid Snake’s final chapter was an emotional and absorbing journey that left us in awe and wonder, but it also left us feeling completely frustrated. It explained many of the series’ storylines, giving us closure – but we were left with many new, unanswered questions. Its gameplay was some of the most satisfying and engrossing imaginable, but chances to enjoy its finely crafted game mechanics were constantly being interrupted by cutscenes, some of which lasted for over an hour. The game could easily have been turned into a massive movie quadrilogy. The cutscenes mostly consisted of endless dialogue contemplating the psychological implications of war – very deep, but they were often very laboured. It’s clearly a case of creator Hideo Kojima indulging the wannabe film director  inside him bursting to be let out.

Yet, despite these frustrations, the game offered some of the most emotionally charged and exciting moments in gaming history, and the storytelling was powerful despite being excessive. Graphically it’s still a high watermark for the console, and really showcases the benefits of the HD era of gaming.

It’s still tactical espionage action with stealth being the name of the game, but the Middle East setting adds a new dimension from previous games. It’s a war-torn continent where military soldiers and PMCs fight each other in the streets; bullets fly past your head and there are explosions all around. It’s very claustrophobic, in a different way from rest of the MGS games. The rising dust and the heat are captured brilliantly, really adding to the atmosphere.

Upon finishing Metal Gear Solid 4 you are left completely bewildered, trying to grasp what has just happened – you will probably even question whether it’s really a game. The overriding feeling you’re left with is the notion that you’ve been through an experience like no other before.

It has its flaws, but you can’t help but admire Hideo Kojima’s ambition.

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Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Sure, the Uncharted series really took off with the sequel, but all the components that made Amongst Thieves an essential title are also present in Drake’s Fortune, if only a little less polished: the great character dynamics, exciting gun fights, sprightly platforming action and exotic locations … it has the lot.

Drake’s Fortune came from under the radar: no one really expected the Uncharted games to be as good as they were. As well as exceeding expectations, they managed to reinvigorate the third person adventure genre which had begun to stagnate. With the Tomb Raider series losing its appeal we needed a new platforming hero. We got it with Nathan Drake, the charming and likeable lead, who could scale a wall as well as Lara Croft but with better shooting mechanics, an area the Tomb Raider games consistently fell down on.

At Drake’s side are the journalist Elena, the not-so-soft love interest, and Sully, your old partner in crime. Both are likeable characters who don’t make you wince whenever they open their mouths, unlike most supporting characters in other games.

The story is full of twists and turns and excellent set pieces, an endless rollercoaster which captures the adventure magic of the Indiana Jones films, and leaves you truly satisfied.

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Killzone 2

With Killzone 3 now officially announced and causing a stir, it’s as good a time as any to go back and play the second game.

As Killzone 1 on the PS2 was such a dreary affair, Guerilla Games had a lot to do to win us over with the sequel, but that’s what they did. Killzone 2 is a technical marvel with eye-watering visuals, chaotic gun battles and refined shooting mechanics. It features some of the most exhilarating levels seen on any FPS with enemy AI way ahead of the competition.

It may have a sci-fi setting, but Guerilla went for a more realistic feel with the game’s mechanics. It’s not a fast paced arcade shooter like the Modern Warfare games; it’s a grinding affair where you have to fight for every inch. Weapons feel heavy and your character’s movements feel very tired, as they should with all those heavy weapons and armour.

As well as having a strong single-player campaign, the multi-player is a real treat. The lobbies are still packed with a dedicated community, so if you’re wanting some clan warfare, this will be perfectly suited to your needs.

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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Oblivion’s graphics haven’t aged well, but this massive free-form, first-person, RPG still has the ability to snatch away every last precious second of your life. It’s a game that you could play for over 150 hours and still feel like you’re only scratching the surface. It has a strong storyline but you’re free to take it at your own pace, allowing you to go and explore the world and tackle side quests instead should you wish to.

Todd Howard, executive producer of The Elder Scrolls series, says the aim of the game is to give the player as much freedom as possible:

“Our games have always been about great depth and variety in creating any kind of character you want and going out and doing whatever you want. With Oblivion, we’re taking the idea of a virtual fantasy world as far as it will go.”

You need to give up your life to truly savour this fantasy epic, and in the end you will probably regret not spending that time doing something more productive. Those regrets will soon pass though, and then you can reminisce about your many happy days spent playing Oblivion. The Elder Scrolls games have always managed to evoke this warm sentimentality in those who have played them.

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All sales made through PS3 Attitude help our charity fund.

Coming Soon

Uncharted 2: Amongst Thieves

Sure, we said five games but we couldn’t go without mentioning this belter.

Uncharted 2 needs no introduction. The sequel doesn’t add many new features; instead Naughty Dog stuck with what was good about Drake’s Fortune and turned everything up to eleven. The visuals are better, locations are even more stunning and the gun battles are more frenetic. It picked up “Best Game” awards left, right and centre, and its release as a massive PS3 exclusive has helped put the PS3 in the strong position that it is now, from a stuttering over-priced machine to a powerhouse capable of playing Uncharted 2, making it a true masterpiece.

New to Uncharted 2 was multi-player, and it’s some of the best we’ve played on the PS3. Sure, matchmaking can be a slow process – but it’s worth the wait. There is no other multi-player experience on the PS3 or anywhere else that is as dynamic as that of Uncharted 2. The ability to leap up walls in seconds, dangle from an edge and drop a grenade onto some unsuspecting foe down below is damn good fun.

The platinum version isn’t out yet, but it will be released in a few weeks’ time. You can make some savings by pre-ordering now.

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All sales made through PS3 Attitude help our charity fund.