Gaming 2008: The PS3, PS2, and PSP

With my 360 still on life support, and the Wii not meeting my needs, the PS3 remains the *de facto* platform I did much of my “real” gaming in 2008. The PS2 provided my usual fixes (long RPGs and IIDX titles), while the PSP gradually shrank into nothingness.
I still maintain that PSN is the best download service across all the consoles – not just for a lot of compelling, full-blown titles, but because of a good UI, fair DRM principles, and the lack of space bucks-style currency.

## High Points & Surprises

While I can understand the frustration from those wanting a tight platformer, LittleBigPlanet is the best full-blown platforming experience I’ve had since Super Mario World. The community features are just icing on an already delicious cake.

I have bought nearly 100 songs for SingStar. It is one of my fall-back games, something I can always play to unwind.

I’ve only just started it, but kudos to Sega for Valkyria Chronicles. This – along with Disgaea 3– means I have a nearly endless supply of strategy gaming in my future.

My favorite studio this generation is PixelJunk. Every PS3 should come with PixelJunk Monsters and PixelJunk Eden. (And if you’ve played those two but not played Racers, you really should.)

Metal Gear Solid 4‘s campaign was exactly what I wanted it to be. As someone who played through the previous three games multiple times, it had the same level of absurdity and over-the-top story telling I have come to expect from Kojima Productions. It was worth waiting in line for 9 hours for.

Echochrome has the best soundtrack of any downloadable title I played this year. It provides the right contrast to the brain-rupturing puzzles.

I could sit and start at the WipEout HD UI all day. It reminds me of the best of the IIDX themes, only…you know, actually HD.

We imported Sony’s Afrika once the Chinese/English version came out. I can understand why Sony is hesitant to bring it out in the US – but this game pierces me at the core. It is the ultimate photo-geek game. I can only hope I have enough money for a zoom lens soon, because I’m tired of scaring the animals away. (I also hope they patch in an Export To XMB function, so I can upload my photos to Flickr.)

Almost all of my RPG cravings this year were filled by a game that started with the word “Persona“. All of my button pushing/disc spinning cravings were filled by two more IIDX titles. The PS2 is still good for something, I suppose!

Patapon was the sole shining point on my PSP this year.

After 10 years of playing Gran Turismo on a Dual Shock, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue convinced me I needed to buy a wheel. It’s a different – and much better – experience. Now I just need the final version.

Buzz! Quiz TV finally became a reality, and all other quiz games pale in comparison. Having had a handful of parties where I pulled out the controllers, I can only describe this game as a crowd pleaser.

## Low Points & Disappointments

Hey, Konami – way to bog down the Metal Gear Online with a needless registration process and a completely separate store!

After being a huge proponent of the first game, I had high hopes for Resistance 2 – but ended up feeling let down. It’s not bad, it’s just not gripping. It’s very middle-of-the-road and currently lost in my pile.

Had it been released last generation, SOCOM: Confrontation would have been fine. But with the current expectations of the basics for online play, it is broken garbage. Until it gets patched to a working experience – any day now, supposedly – it is the quintessential “shitty peripheral pack-in” title, and indefensible as a standalone release.

Who greenlighted Jeopardy!? Even at the new reduced $9.99 price point, it’s still $20 too expensive given the horrible presentation.

Final Fantasy: Crisis Core was mindless enough to keep me entertained but a little *too* converted for a portable gaming experience. Is it too much to ask for a proper Final Fantasy game? I’d take a remake of FF8 over Crisis Core.

## Open Questions

Does Sony know how to advertise? Buzz! Quiz TV, Singstar, LittleBigPlanet – do non-core gamers know these titles are out and absurdly fun?

Will anyone still be using Home in a year?


Singstar Rocks US Is Out

Dan rocks out and Buttons throws a wink

You will be forgiven for forgetting – what with the Wii and the PS3 launches – that Singstar Rocks (the US version, anyhow) shipped last week. [I posted about the tracklist previously.]( $50 gets you two microphones, 30 songs, and the ability to torture your cat by rocking out to Bloc Party.

The interface remains mostly unchanged from the UK version of Singstar Rocks. One thing I don’t recall being in the UK version (maybe this is in other version) is a “rap meter”, which appears at the very least in Summertime. Also, the menu music has changed.

High recommendations.

(Thanks to Katie for the somewhat embarrassing picture.)


Singstar Rocks US Tracklist

Anyone who’s talked to me about music games since our trip to London in April knows that finally got my hands on Singstar, Sony’s karaoke game for the PS2.

US gamers haven’t experienced Singstar yet; their exposure has largely been limited to Konami’s Karaoke Revolution in terms of singing games. While K-Rev certainly has its appeal, I’ve always been captivated by Singstar’s clean design, original artist recordings and videos, and better designed songlists.

Singstar is coming to the US in two forms. There is the overwhelming PS3 version, scheduled for around the PS3 launch; this is the one that will hook into the online store and have a limitless track selection.

To get gamers warm to the idea of a different karaoke game first, Sony is releasing a new version of Singstar Rocks in the US on November 14th. (“New version” is because the 5th Singstar game in Europe shared the same title.) The game ships with two very nice microphones and is apparently priced at $49.99. I cannot stress how much I enjoy this series and how much you should pick it up.

Anyhow, the track list went out with the press release today, and I’ve broken the tracklist down by which game it came from.

From Singstar

Good Charlotte / Girls & Boys

From Singstar Party

Scissor Sisters / Take Your Mama
The Police / Every Breath You Take

From Singstar Rocks (Europe)

Bloc Party / Banquet
Blur / Song 2
Coldplay / Speed Of Sound
Hole / Celebrity Skin
Jet / Are You Gonna Be My Girl?
Keane / Everybody’s Changing
KT Tunstall / Black Horse And The Cherry Tree
Scorpions / Wind Of Change
The Hives / Hate To Say I Told You So
The Killers / Somebody Told Me
The Offspring / Self-Esteem
The Rolling Stones / Paint It Black
Thin Lizzy / The Boys Are Back in Town

From Singstar Anthems

Gloria Gaynor / I Will Survive

New To The Series

Aretha Franklin / Respect
B52s / Love Shack
D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince / Summertime
Dusty Springfield / Son Of A Preacher Man
Elton John / Rocket Man
Fall Out Boy / Dance, Dance
Gwen Stefani / Cool
Joss Stone / Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin On Me?)
Lynyrd Skynyrd / Sweet Home Alabama
Marvin Gaye / I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Naked Eyes / (There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me
The Cure / Friday I’m in Love
The White Stripes / Blue Orchid