Steve, HITC’s resident PlayStation fan shares his most-enjoyed digital games that joined the PS4 in 2014.
And yes I got some of these through Plus which I’ve heard many a negative word said about PS4-wise this year, to which I respond, ‘be patient, there’s been some big budget games to arrive on Plus for PS3, but that’s after it’s had years to build up a collection of big budget games!’. Sony has pulled out the stops to give out the InFamous standalone add-on and InJustice, maybe to appease the ‘meh’ response from some Plus subscribers, almost certainly to serve up Plus as a reason to buy a PS4 at crunch Christmas console buying time. This all said, I do like the way Sony will plug indie newcomers on Plus (albeit that not all of them have been totally amazing this year). I look at games on the horizon like No Man’s Sky and The Tomorrow Children, both ambitious projects and a huge departure from what the respective studios were doing before, and see Sony’s influence there as healthy. It’s good to give a platform to the small players as that’s where the innovation is and nurturing that is definitely worthwhile, as i’m sure both games will prove. Anyway I digress, these are my favourite digital titles that came out for PS4 in 2014.
(Dons nostalgia hat) Yes! Strider! (Takes it off) Still a nice shiny platformer with an interesting enough progression system. Although it was nowhere near as hardcore as the original, I found it addictive enough. I’m wondering now how the promised Shadow of the Beast remake is going to turn out, given it's also an old platformer that falls into the brief of rebooting a fan favourite with some new relevant sass.
4. Oddworld Abe's Oddysee: New 'n' Tasty
While we’re on the subject of sassy reboots, New ‘n’ Tasty is the one for me that takes the crown this year. A lot of what made the original so good was there (even the slightly wonky controls) although again the reboot feels a whole lot easier than the original. The game still plays on the theme of the empowerment of the downtrodden within a similarly dark setting, without losing its sense of humour. Good job Just Add Water.
Ever since watching Indie Game: The Movie, I’ve been intrigued to play Fez, mostly to see what all the fuss is about, so when It joined PS4 this year on Plus I jumped on it and (at the risk of coming across as an indie hipster) I’m thoroughly glad I did. People into their retro games are going to be able to spot a wealth of references to the old days in Fez and the combination of exploration in a ‘cubist switching 2D/3D world, platforming, meticulously drawn pixel graphics and shimmering electronic soundscapes is a beguiling experience.
2. Child of Light
There’s an initiative within Ubisoft that encourages devs on the payroll to pitch their own personal concepts to the bigwigs and one that got the go ahead was Child of Light. As a result of the game’s success there’s going to be more. Make of this what you will. It’s worth noting that not all 'little' indie games are made by people on the way up, I sense Ubisoft are trying to keep it in the family a bit and try and keep talent from departing and competing, From a devs perspective it makes the company look quite sweet to work for! Child of Light is a beautiful, lovingly made, whimsical hybrid of JRPG and platformer that I’ve enjoyed playing leisurely with my kids and deliberately hardcore on my own so as not to over-level, there’s loads of juicy character trees to delve into and loads of play hours as a result, a veritable bargain.
The spiritual successor to Bastion, Transistor manages to be quite a different game while making improvements on everything it recycles from its predecessor. Luscious artwork, good game narration and a beautiful musical score continue in the Bastion vein. In this cyberpunk isometric action RPG you’re blessed with your trusty Transistor (also your narrator) which you can upload with a selection of different programs to give you a range of interchangeable passive and active abilities. Add to this the cool ability to freeze time and an intriguing storyline and Transistor is a fun, engaging experience to play through and one that completely caught me by surprise, a must-have on PS4 from this year!
So these are my top five digital games for PS4 from 2014. Let us know if any (or none) of them also were enjoyed by your good selves. Currently unplayed, but still on the radar are Valiant Hearts and the new Lara Croft isometric Diablo-esque dungeon puzzler, Temple of Osiris, just to have an alternative to pull out when it's couch multiplayer time.