GameCentral readers name their favourite PlayStation-only games, from God Of War to Bloodborne.
The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Purple Ranger, following the mixed reviews but strong sales of Days Gone. And so we wanted to know what you think is the best exclusive ever released on a PlayStation console, from 1 to 4 and including the portables.
Sony’s first party studios have only gone from strength to strength lately but easily the two favourites were the Grand Theft Auto III trilogy of releases and the Uncharted franchise.
The complete game
I personally think the best PlayStation exclusive is Uncharted. The first one was very good; the second one was excellent, with one of the best openings to a video game; the third one was one of the best games ever, with brilliant action sequences; and the fourth game is as close to perfection as you can get and tied all the storyline together in an extremely good way. It is the best PlayStation game every made. The PS Vita handheld version was one of the best handheld games on the machine.
The characters in all four games, plus the spin-off are excellent, the graphics got better with each release, the music was brilliant throughout, the gameplay was intuitive and easy to learn in. In short, the complete game. The only game to better Uncharted 4 is Super Mario Odyssey, which I rate as the best game ever made.
I’m going to submit two answers here, as one isn’t a lifetime exclusive for the PlayStation, as it eventually came to other platforms and that game is GTA: San Andreas. It came out on PlayStation 2 in 2004 and to this day it is still my favourite Grand Theft Auto game. The scale of the game and its systems was incredible at the time and is still impressive today. The map was huge with a wide variety of terrains and each city felt unique.
The characters were distinctive and had personality and above all it was just a blast to play. You could easily get sidetracked and go off on your own little adventure. GTA V might have had a bigger map and more graphical detail but there wasn’t the same variety as there was in San Andreas. To have San Andreas as a PlayStation 2 exclusive until 2007, when it reached Xbox and PC, was a major coup for Sony and must have sold millions of PlayStation 2s.
My second answer, which I think will always be a PlayStation exclusive, is Uncharted 2. A huge upgrade from Uncharted 1, which was decent but not spectacular. Uncharted 2 ramped up the spectacle times 100 and combined it with some of the best written characters on PlayStation. It really was like Indiana Jones and for me is still Naughty Dog’s best work.
Now playing: Yakuza Zero (PS4) and Yoshi’s Crafted World (Switch)
Do timed exclusives count? Grand Theft Auto III and Metal Gear Solid 2 both made their debut on a Sony console, although later the games came out on other machines.
Metal Gear Solid 2 was the main reason why I bought a PlayStation 2. Grand Theft Auto III was probably the reason why I fell in love with the machine and stuck with Sony’s sixth generation format.
I expect that Grand Theft Auto III sold a lot of PlayStation 2s. The game was ground-breaking and more importantly, an absolute laugh.
The best exclusives are games that are so good they sell hardware. For a short time at least, Grand Theft Auto III was a prime example of this phenomenon.
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After the jump
Mine has to be Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. The very first one. I was in awe by the sheer graphical jump from PlayStation 2 to PlayStation 3. I spent hours just looking at the scenery and taking it all in. of course not mentioning how good the game is, it even got remastered for the PlayStation 4. All of them did.
First game I stuck in my PlayStation 3 was Virtua Tennis 3, I still remember not adjusting the HDMI cable in the back of the TV correctly but when I corrected it again the graphical jump was amazing.
Going back to graphics, the jump from PlayStation 2 to 3 was the biggest in my lifetime. PlayStation 3 to 4 not so much.
Setting the bar
I never had a PlayStation 1, I was a Sega boy at the time, but my favourite exclusives across the consoles I have owned are:
PlayStation 2: Dark Chronicle
PlayStation 3: Ni No Kuni
PlayStation 4: Horizon Zero Dawn
PlayStation VR: Astro Bot
However, I’m going to vote Uncharted as the best overall series of exclusives. I think Sony’s first party studios really started to come into their own towards the end of the PlayStation 3 generation and the Uncharted games epitomise the level of craft and production values that make up the first party exclusives and also set the scene for the ‘Sony formula.
The release of a first party game is like a blockbuster event now, with each one expected to top the last. Hence the disappointment when one falls slightly short, Days Gone being a prime example (I’m really enjoying it but it’s not up there with Sony’s best). I think it’s Uncharted that initially set the bar for this with great games across multiple consoles.
I’m sure there’ll be another instalment on PlayStation 5, with or without Nathan Drake, it’s now too big a franchise to lie dormant.
Talk of the playground
The best PlayStation exclusive, for me, has to be Grand Theft Auto III. I don’t recall there being much hype for it, but within weeks of release everybody I knew was playing it. To be fair, I was 15 years old, arguably the age that is most attracted to such a game, but it was all that was discussed in the playground for months.
I’m aware the Grand Theft auto games did release on Xbox later that generation, but I know many people who bought a PlayStation 2 purely to play GTA III. The fact that Vice City, which exceeded III in every way, came out a year later still amazes me.
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Best PlayStation exclusives for me is Bloodborne by quite a long way. It’s impressive after so many great first party Sony games this generation that an exclusive that launched so early in the PlayStation 4’s life is still the best.
I always regarded Dark Souls as a distillation of so much of what’s good about games (right back to the 80s) and Bloodborne is itself a distillation of so much of what’s good about Dark Souls. It’s a more streamlined experience, shedding many of the convoluted and obtuse aspects of its predecessors but with most of the challenge intact; more satisfying combat and a story, presentation and atmosphere that are more interesting than the usual high fantasy.
For me, PlayStation arguably never had a truly classic exclusive ‘killer app’ until well into the PlayStation 3 generation when Naughty Dog started to become more celebrated. Before that, you maybe had the first God Of War on PlayStation 2, which I really liked but the best games on their consoles still never blew me away as much as a lot of rival exclusives. Maybe Metal Gear Solid on PS1 before that (if it was indeed exclusive) but despite playing most of the big ones, nothing until Uncharted 2 or Demon’s Souls made me want to buy Sony machines as much as the sheer quantity of good games did.
God Of War is an obvious current darling but as great as that was, some shortcomings for me included the needlessly fiddly and convoluted gem/perk upgrade system that the game could easily have done without. It also felt a bit too derivative in terms of actual gameplay.
The way things stand, Bloodborne looks likely to be my top non-Nintendo exclusive of the generation. Considering it’s over four years old, that might seem quite depressing but it’s definitely a reflection of the game’s quality and impact rather than an indictment on modern gaming.
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