Saturday, 5 August 2017

My top 5...Playstation 1 games

Oh hai, Jason here.


Get ready y'all, becomes we've hit the most important of all the consoles I've ever owned...the original Playstation. Before I came into possession of this little Grey box of electronic joy I'd intended to ask for an N64 to be placed under my Christmas tree, but pushed back release dates caused me to get pretty fed up and start paying attention to what else was out there. The rest as they say, is history and my first year of owning the PS1, coupled with a boring summer holiday and the local video rental store transformed me into a full fat hardcore gamer that still plays anything he can get his grubby hands on to this day. It's also worth noting that this isn't just my top 5 PS1 games....this list is my top 5 games full stop. Yep every one of my five favourite gaming experiences are PS1 games (although in fairness, one would be more associated with PC). Let's do this thing.
5. Suikoden 2



To put it bluntly I bloody love the Suikoden games (of which there have been 5 entries and a few spin-offs) mostly because of the main two reoccurring gimmicks of the franchise. The first is the fact that all 5 of the main games have 108 characters to recruit, giving every one of the entries a secondary goal to aim for that's pretty hefty in size, the second is that each game has a base of operations that changes and grows as you recruit these 108 characters. But why is the second game on here and not the first in the franchise? Well the first in the series was a flawed gem with an overly simple combat system and a story that just king of gave up in the final quarter...like someone poked their head round he corner and told the development team that they only had an hour left to finish the game off.

The second game however is vastly improved. The combat is definitely improved, although mid-level in terms of RPG's generally. But the story is fantastic...a shockingly grown up tale of two friends who end up on opposite sides of the stories war with both ending up in positions of power. Whenever the story calls for them to meet you and your friend both ask the other to end the war...to stop their side fighting. It feels weirdly reflective of nuclear disarmament and how no side wants nuclear weapons to be a threat, but neither is prepared to disarm...just in case. Throw in numerous returning characters from the first game and you've got a sequel that improves in almost every single way, well except the fact that the graphics are still on the bland side. On a side note it's also one of the most valuable PS1 games, going for a good £150 plus.


4. Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templar's



"Paris in the fall, the last months of the year and the end of the millennium. The city hold many memories for me, of cafes, of music, of love....and of death". What a cracking way to start a game, and yes I know broken sword is really more of a PC game, but my original experience of it was on PS1. Indeed my love of broken sword is a testament to the power of demos as it was the type of game I usually wouldn't have given a second look, but after registering with playstation I received a demo disk which contained the first part of this great story. Special mention must be made of the section in Ireland which is my favourite part....in spite of the awful goat puzzle. Hearing the people chat away in the pub always makes me think of my favourite wrestling podcast, OSW review....and how mentioning this fact in such a shameless way may get this article a retweet....


3. Vandal Hearts



If I had to pick a single game that transformed me into a proper gamer, it would be Vandal Hearts. Yet another game I discovered during my depressing yet vital summer of 97, Vandal Hearts surprised with with a story that while simple, drew me in and made me care so much I actually rented it out twice and completed it twice. The other thing that's special about this Tactical RPG is the varied number of objectives as in most games that are similar (like Final Fantasy Tactics and X-com) you usually just have to defeat all the opponents. But in this game every map seemed to have its own gimmick, such as fighting enemies on a slowly collapsing bridge or having to destroy machines that were slowly lowering an ally into a pool of lava.....and while I would later learn that many of the plot twists were pretty standard for RPG's and anime, at the time they blew me away. This was the game that taught me how fantastic story and character progression could be and made me a massive RPG fan during the PS1's life span.

2. Metal Gear Solid



It's at this point in the list I start to feel a bit sad as MGS is the third Konami I've ranked....and yet the company is now a depressing shadow of its former self. Such a shame as MGS was packed to the brim with innovation and was possibly the only game I've played that made me lose track of time as on the first day I played as Solid Snake I kept playing until it was suddenly five in the morning. But then who can blame me as so much of MGS was deeply engaging. From the cool blues and greens of the colour palette, to the complex and twisty story, to the brilliant boss battles, to the fact that almost every area had something unique to it such as electrified floors or trap doors, or having to sneak into a prison.

The game was a wonderfully ambitious project that tried to pack in so much variety and succeeded more at this than any other game. The only real issue was that this variety meant the core stealth mechanics didn't get used quite as much as you would have expected, but that's a small price to pay for the true starting point of a legendary franchise and the main reason that Hideo Kojima is still rated so highly in spite of not doing much else of note.


1. Final Fantasy VII



Once upon a time when I was younger I was walking to the chippie with my mum (I had mince beef and onion pie with my chips in case you were wondering) when she asked me why I looked so depressed. I didn't know how to reply....since how could I properly explain that my sorrow was because Aeris had just died. We all have things that have influenced who we are, be it music or film....but few would say that a videogame influenced them more than anything else...well screw them because nothing has influenced me as much as FF7 has (in fact one ex claims I have a hero complex, and I'd blame Clouds failure to save Aeris for this).

I cannot express how much I adore FF7 from its varied cast, to the multitude of mini games, it's deep than you'd expect Materia magic system. But above all else I love the world it's set in....ever location has its own unique vibe...from the epic starting point of Midgar....a city on a plate above the slums of the poor, to the dazzling theme park that is the golden saucer, its an amazing a beautiful world that I wanted to explore every little nook of. It's become a bit in vogue to hate on FF7 of late and make out other final fantasy games are better. Of course it depend on which game in the series was your first but everyone who says FFX is the best needs a bit of a slap. While others such as 6, 9 and even 8 are great entries to me the seventh entry is the crown jewel and not just the greatest PS1 game ever...but the greatest game ever,

But before the clean up I'd like to mention all the great games that didn't make it on this list as I think it's often forgotten how many amazing franchises started there life on sony's grey box. Tomb raider, Resident evil, gran turismo, crash bandicoot, tekken, wipeout and many more. There are also alot of games I adore that didn't get to appear here such as legacy of kain: soul reaver, Grand theft auto, oddworld, soul blade, sentient....I could go on. I find it weird that the PS2 is often praised as the best of sony's consoles.....but we'll get to that. But before we hit the next sony console I'll be leaping over to the gameboy advanced and a list that will be a bit depressing. Now it's that there clean up time.

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