By: Dylan Lepore | @dylanslegos
The dreaded 2020 is over, but a new year has begun; issues, problems, and talking points from 2020 still linger into 2021, and for the video game industry - it's where the heck are all the PS5s (and Xbox Series X/S's)?
As a video game journalist and someone who covers a lot on PlayStation, I need to stay updated with new hardware. Still, because I can't get a PS5 and everyone I know can't either, it's also my responsibility to examine older hardware and see where PlayStation has come from since the original PlayStation's release on Dec 3, 1994.
For this examination on older hardware, I will only bring up my most recent history/play-time with these older consoles, and I will not speak on every single one.
Below is a list of every PlayStation device I own:
- PlayStation (1994)
- PS One (2000)
- PlayStation 2 (2000)
- PlayStation 2 Slim (2004)
- PlayStation Portable 1000 (2005)
- PlayStation 3 (2006)
- PlayStation 3 Slim (2009)
- PlayStation Move (2010)
- PlayStation Vita OLED (2012)
- PlayStation 4 (2013)
- PlayStation VR (2016)
I love my PS3!
I have put many hours playing PlayStation's greatest First-Party and Third-Party games. But most recently, I have been fumbling back to older games on the console I haven't beaten or couldn't obtain at the time for one reason or the other.
Since much time has passed since these consoles first came out, these games are cheaper and just as great as they were more than 10 years ago on the PS3. With the calculated total of roughly 12,759 PlayStation games over the span of 27 years - there is a lot to play.
So, what have I been playing?
A Lot of FPS's
Thanks to yard sales, estate sales, and PlayStation Plus, I have quite the back catalog of games I haven't touched for the PS3, and one of them is the Killzone franchise.
Recently I played and beat the main trilogy on PS3 even though my first step into the world of Killzone was the PS Vita's Killzone: Mercenary, which is a must-buy for any PS Vita owner.
The Killzone Games
I was quite surprised by how much I loved Killzone (2004), originally released on PS2, from its story to its characters, although it took a while to wrap my head around the older first-person shooter (FPS) controls - as if I never played an FPS in my life before.
The ending area and boss fight of Killzone (2004) blew me away and was quite a pleasant surprise. I was shocked by Guerrilla Games and Supermassive Games, the developers of the original Killzone, who were able to make such an experience for the PS2. This game was a stepping stone - graphically - on where PlayStation would go from here.
Unfortunately, with Killzone 2 and Killzone 3, I never got that feeling back. While I was impressed with where the stories, graphics, and game mechanics went, these two games didn't pull me in like the original Killzone.
Yes, I played the original Bioshock on PS3, and it was great!
Without a doubt, Bioshock is one of the most excellent video games of all time, and without giving any spoilers away from a game that came out in 2007, it's the epitome of what a First-Person experience should be in gaming.
While unfortunate for me, I played BioShock Infinite (2013) first, the last game in the series so far.
BioShock Infinite spoiled many parts of the original Bioshock for me; however, it didn't spoil the experience of playing the first two games and its downloadable content (DLC), which expanded on the story, for the first time.
The improvements made throughout the series from guns, potions, puzzles, story, and upgrades were necessary updates, but just like Killzone (2004), it had a rawness to it that the other games didn't quite achieve on the same level.
Also, getting a PS3 copy of BioShock is a lot cheaper.
While following COVID-19 guidelines, my girlfriend, my brother, my brother's girlfriend, and I treated ourselves to SingStar, in particularly SingStar (2007) and SingStar Queen (2009).
SingStar become popular in 2004 with over 20 games coming out for the PS2.
I got my first pair of mics and PS2's SingStar Pop (2007) as a gift, and we sang on from there. I eventually lost SingStar Pop and never sang on PS2 again.
My fall from stardom lasted a few years until I found SingStar (2007) and SingStar ABBA (2008) for the PS3. I ended up selling ABBA and later got SingStar Queen (2009).
And to tell you the truth, none of us can sing, and it's terrific! The old mics still work for the PS2, PS3, and PS4, and you can even use the PS Vita as well (though I have never tried).
SingStar's party mode mixes up the action with mics passed every which way, and the ability to hear audio playback cracks the whole room up. Even using the PS3's PlayStation Eye (camera) gives added amusement to a device people rarely use.
Though SingStar on PS4 flopped, and there's no announcement yet for PS5, the PS3 is the place to play, have fun, and laugh with friends if you're a fan of karaoke or ... just like to watch people make fools out of themselves.
Playing the PS3 is great, and there are many gems to take up your time while you wait for a PS5. Here are just some of the other games I have dived into recently:
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells
- inFamous (re-playing)
- Beyond Good & Evil HD
- Medal of Honor Warfighter
- The Sly Collection (re-playing)
- Batman: Arkham Origins
- Dead Island
PlayStation 2: And The Quest to Rock!
The PlayStation 2 is a console legend, but this section won't last as long because I had one itch to scratch ... Guitar Hero II (2006).
My twin brother called me up one night asking if I still have Guitar Hero. I said, "Heck yeah, all I have to do is go to storage and grab the console." I drove to storge and dug through boxes of old video game stuff and found the PS2 and my Guitar Hero II copy.
I already had the old PS2 Guitar Hero guitar, with our original stickers on it, at the house. We plugged it in, and it was perfect.
While we had to find our old save files amongst four different PS2 Memory Cards, the sheer excitement of hooking the system up had my heart racing - I couldn't wait for the nostalgia and good old times to hit me again.
We were rocking like it was 2006 in our bedroom playing on a tube TV, in no time.
While I'm not as good at Guitar Hero as my brother, just like SingStar, it's a fun way to bring life back into your homes and old consoles, even if you're not the greatest at video games.
Playstation 4: The Conolse That Changed the Way I Game
Before I got my PlayStation 4 on New Year's Day of 2014, I played a video game, beat it, and moved on to the next one, but the PS4 didn't want that for me.
The first physical game I bought for the PS4 was The Last of Us Remastered (2014). I played the game initially on the PS3 (2013) and was blow away and still am. The Last of Us Part II (2020) was even better, saying in my HC GamerLife review, "The Last of Us Part II is nothing I can say I have ever experienced before. It's emotionally complicated, dark, beautiful, scary, and real. Part II pushes the PS4 to its limits creating gameplay that's slick, immersive, and heart-pounding with a narrative that would make the toughest men cry."
Further, into the beginning of my PS4 experience, I played the PlayStation Store's free games: Blacklight: Retribution and Warframe. Additionally, anything I got from PlayStation Plus: Contrast, Resogun, Don't Starve, Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition, and Mercenary Kings.
When I got into Blacklight: Retribution, I started meeting people online and making friends. This one guy I became good friends with gave me a code around June 2014 to play Destiny First Look Alpha (alpha is an early version of a program or application, typically unstable, but useful to show what the product will do).
That's when it all changed for me.
I didn't want to play anything else other than Destiny. I bought every DLC I could to give me more of the game and even some vanity items. I spent money on limited editions of more significant expansions. Then I was heartbroken when they gave almost all of it away for free to attract more customers when Bungie, now the publisher and the developer, split from Activision in January 2019.
I didn't play many games, specifically PS4 games, when I got into college in September 2017 and graduated in November 2020, as I was running the student newspaper and studying all the time.
I was, and still am, great at Destiny and Destiny 2 (2017) in Player versus Player and Player versus Enemy - always getting first in PvP, completing Raids, and collecting everything. I spent months straight playing these two games.
Right up at Bungie's last expansion, Beyond Light (2020), I haven't played or bought anything Destiny related. Call it burn-out, or call it a feeling of not getting anywhere with the sense of doing the same things over and over again a thousand times.
I love my experience with Destiny, but it felt like a job, and as a games journalist, it's hard to talk about games when you only play one.
Besides the few games here and there, Destiny took up my time, and no other game has ever done that to me before. At the time, I would have associated that more with playing PC games like World of Warcraft and League of Legends, because the most popular PC games were typically games as a service, providing video games or game content on a continuing revenue model.
Companies saw this model, and it leaked heavily over to consoles.
So, what have I played recently:
- Burnout Paradise Remastered
- Resident Evil 5
- Everybody's Gone To The Rapture
- Race The Sun
- Titan Souls
- Day of the Tentacle Remastered
- Spy Chameleon
- Killzone Shadow Fall
- The Order: 1886
- Spyro Reignited Trilogy
- Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection
Since the PS5 is out, games for the PS4 will get cheaper, and consoles will be more affordable. There are many games for the PS4, and with PS Plus, there is an endless amount of entertainment.
Looking back up at my recent PS4 play-list, I play various games, and I keep trying new ones, as I'm moving slowly away from Destiny taking up my game time - but I probably will jump back into it later down the road.
Wrapping The Year Up
There are so many great - and not so great - video games to be played across all the PlayStation consoles; it's insane.
Unfortunately, I haven't played many PlayStation VR, Move, PS Vita, PSP, or PS One games in recent memories, and I want to dive back into these systems.
However, Sony Interactive Entertainment made playing games on these consoles harder. As of October 2020, users are no longer able to buy PS3 games, Vita games, or PSP games from either the online or mobile versions of the PlayStation Store, according to an email sent out from Sony.
The Microsoft Xbox team is doing great things with preserving their games from older consoles; however, PlayStation has nothing besides backward-compatibility with PS4 to PS5 games. Limiting access to older games makes PlayStation's old PS3 ad campaign "Long Live Play" seem like a lie, because those systems and games definitely didn't live long.
In the end, I still love PlayStation, but they do need to get their stuff together. There are many great games to play on these systems, and I hope you try some of these out while waiting on your PS5.
Old games are old because they're old, but that doesn't mean they're bad. Now go explore.