As Sony loves to do, the platform holder front-loaded the first half of the year with smash hit exclusives. January saw the release of MAG, when Zipper tried to find out how many people would turn up to a party for 256 players (answer: nobody). In early February, the West finally received White Knight Chronicles. In late February, QTEs were given the next-gen treatment and gamers were asked how far they’d go for love in Heavy Rain, while March asked them how many people they could kill by mashing in God of War III. May brought forth race track creator/loadscreen simulator ModNation Racers, and Altus joined in with the nostalgathon 3D Dot Game Heroes, rounding out an incredible start to the year. They also introduced the phenomenal PlayStation Plus service, which every digital gamer should be a part of.
Keen to keep up momentum, Sony released the PlayStation Move in September, which literally began to not fly off shelves. The bundled Wii Sports upClone Sports Champions was a treat, however.
Ending the year of exclusive madness was November’s megaton: Gran Turismo 5. As Sony’s biggest IP, it went on to sell an unbeatable 10 million copies.
But 2010 wasn’t all about exclusives – hairs were raised with Bayonetta, BioShock 2 failed to meet irrational expectations, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West proved that Sony isn’t the only publisher to forget to advertise games, Darksiders launched with Death following it closely, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood marked the annual watering down of a promising franchise, Mass Effect finally decided to come to PlayStation and Final Fantasy XIII introduced the concept of 13 hour tutorials.
The open world game genre was treated to two new gems – the fun, silly and awfully written Just Cause 2 and the powerful, dark and breathtaking Red Dead Redemption. John Marston will forever live on.
After the totally unforeseeable decline of the music genre, Activision put on a brave face, releasing games like Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and DJ Hero 2, while EA popped out the original-sounding Rock Band 3. Confusingly, no one bought the games or their reasonably priced peripherals, and the market bottomed out. The music game genre was dead. Somewhere out there, Bobby Kotick is playing Taps with a plastic trumpet.
Oh, and Activision released Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Being the year of ‘The Hack’, where Sony’s PSN service was down on April 20th for a month and a half, gamers were up in arms about stolen information, and Sony’s lackluster methods of protection. Faith in the console had hit lows that even 360 fans couldn’t even compete with – Sony was in a bad, bad way.
Socom 4: U.S. Navy SEALs launched just before the hack, causing fans to be locked out of Sony’s next big online shooter, DC Universe Online became little more than an exercise on wasting HDD space, as well as leaving LittleBigPlanet 2 and Killzone 2’s online segments unavailable.
As if Sony wasn’t hurting enough that year, it was also still reeling from the tragic 9.0 earthquake and Tsunami that hit Japan, damaging its offices and factories, and causing the unfortunately-themed MotorStorm: Apocalypse to be delayed around the world and indefinitely postponed in Japan.
Resistance 3 came out pushing a plastic rifle and a over-priced 3D Monitor for dorm rooms, and even though it was critically acclaimed, could not find the same traction as previous entries.
Even with everything seeming to fall apart for Sony in 2011, they still were able to release a number of memorable exclusives, the biggest being Uncharted 3, which managed to once again improve upon a tried and true formula.
This lineup was only further complimented by their amazing third party support. No, I am not talking about Brink, Duke Nukem Forever or Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, as they all sucked. I mean EA’s Battlefield 3, a game that looked so good that gamers weren’t sure if they were looking at next-gen or not (actually they were looking at PC). Portal 2 came out and we let Gabe Newell off the hook again for not releasing Episode 3, Skyrim put an arrow in the world’s knee, and L.A. Noire lied about being a good game. BulletStorm and Rage showed the power of the current-gen engines, while Dead Space 2 reminded people why Resident Evil is a joke.
Almost out of nowhere, Dark Souls released and challenged the world by removing many of the standard tropes we see in games today.
Oh, and Activision released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.