PlayStation has a near 30 year history creating memorable gaming experiences that have captivated the masses and have created plenty of fond memories and nostalgic moments. Their catalogue features everything from iconic titles like Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, and God of War to lesser known titles such as Socom, Tokyo Jungle, and Lair.
Ask any long time PlayStation fan what their favorites were, though, and you may be surprised by some of their answers. For your consideration, we have sought out five of PlayStation’s most iconic yet oft-forgotten games that we feel deserve a new lease on life.
5 – Heavenly Sword
A solid hack-and-slash title released for the PlayStation 3, Heavenly Sword had the misfortune of being largely forgotten by the wider gaming populace. Its development started off promising enough with its creators at Ninja Theory hiring Andy Serkis of Lord of the Rings fame to write, act and serve as the “cinematic director” to teach the cast about motion capture. Unfortunately Ninja Theory didn’t break even on Heavenly Sword, as the title only sold around half a million copies and a planned trilogy was scrapped.
Even though Heavenly Sword seemed to come out to a mediocre reception, the title has retained a cult following and sometimes emerges in conversations about possible PlayStation remakes. With some claiming the game was ahead of its time, there’s a pervasive belief that the PlayStation 5’s capacity for 60 frames per second gameplay and full 4K visuals could bring this seemingly dead game back from the brink.
For sure, there is a lot to work with in Heavenly Sword. The title boasted a deep combat system that brought along positive comparisons to God of War and Devil May Cry. It also featured an epic story that laid the groundwork for a signature PlayStation franchise, starring a strong female lead in the warrior Nariko who had the potential to be an industry icon. A sequel wouldn’t be hard to develop given that the story was already written and was ready to go into pre-production as soon as Heavenly Sword was released.
If PlayStation were to team up with either Platinum Games or Bluepoint Games I believe Heavenly Sword could be a bona fide hit in this new generation. That said, the only caveat we have is that they should convince Andy Serkis to come back and help write and direct.
4 – SOCOM
Initially developed by the now defunct Zipper Interactive, SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs was touted as one of the first real attempts at delivering an online team-based military shooter on consoles, akin to Counter Strike on the PC. The developers at Zipper wanted SOCOM to feel as authentic as possible, leading to their decision to collaborate with the United States Naval Special Warfare Command during production. Using the knowledge given to them to develop the setting and story, Zipper also used motion capture to make sure the character models would move like soldiers out in the field.
It was a tremendous effort that ended up paying off – the first game alone sold over 1.4 million units and earned over $82 million in the U.S.. After the success of the first game Zipper got to work on its sequel and cemented SOCOM as a PlayStation staple for years to come. Unfortunately people lost interest in the series as the PlayStation 3 came along and flooded the market with first- and third-person shooters alike. With 2011’s SOCOM 4 unable to keep up and having the bad luck of releasing during the infamous PSN outage, the SOCOM series as a whole went dark.
Now that the industry has calmed down on producing military shooters outside of big hitters like Call of Duty and Battlefield, SOCOM could have a chance at a revival. It has been 10 years since SOCOM 4’s release, and in this modern age of looter shooters and online play there could be a market for such a classic’s rebirth.
3 – Twisted Metal
For a time, all I knew about Twisted Metal was that it was a vehicle combat game, and admittedly I have little to no experience with it. However, I have since learned that if you were into destroying your Hot Wheels as a kid you would probably love Twisted Metal, a game all about wreaking havoc and just having fun in a fully destructible environment.
Players were tasked with destroying their competitors with a multitude of different vehicles, weapons and characters. Four games were released on the original PlayStation to mixed critical reception, yet despite that they all seemed to have sold quite well.
I think that Twisted Metal deserves a second chance to improve its story and receive a much needed graphical overhaul that could lend itself to some truly gorgeous destructive spectacle. Adding a few new characters couldn’t hurt either, especially given that was a point of contention with 2012’s Twisted Metal. With a TV show being worked on, there is hope that it could bring more brand recognition and push Sony to greenlight production on a new Twisted Metal game.
2 – Syphon Filter
When people think of stealth games most would likely think of Metal Gear Solid, Splinter Cell, and Dishonored. Not many would remember the series that helped popularize the stealth shooter. Syphon Filter released in 1999 and starred Gabriel Logan, a secret agent who was tasked by the United States government with apprehending an international criminal. The story was never anything to write home about, but the original game set a standard for future stealth games.
Syphon Filter saw releases on both the original PlayStation and the PlayStation Portable. After the release of Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow, however, the series went silent in spite of positive reception and good sales. Its developer Bend Studio moved on to other projects like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and recently Days Gone, which has sparked theories of Syphon Filter returning.
The industry also lacks in third-person stealth action titles nowadays, seeing only the odd release at present. Most titles that even try to integrate stealth elements don’t focus much on a pure stealth approach, creating a void which I think Syphon Filter could fill with ease. Given that Bend also remains passionate about the series, that feels like enough to warrant a reboot.
1 – PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
Released in 2012, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was a brilliant concept that perhaps inevitably brought with it many comparisons to Super Smash Bros., which ultimately proved detrimental to the game’s success. That said, I still turn the game on from time to time and find myself having a blast with its more technical combo driven combat, power meter and varied stages. PlayStation All-Stars was a love letter to fans and the characters they adored, and I fell in love with all the small details and character matchups.
PlayStation All-Stars was a much more advanced game than its Nintendo-created counterpart, taking time to learn the intricacies on account of its developer Superbot being made up of fighting game veterans. A more casual audience would find that the controls were easy enough to grasp but to truly understand which combos to use and follow up on could be daunting, a likely factor in players being turned off.
Unlike Super Smash Bros., which sees players throwing one another off the stage, All-Stars decided to make players build up a Super Bar to win games. The Bar added a tactical element to play, as players would have to choose whether to rack up points using smaller super moves or save up for one full power move that could result in at least three to four kills. That aspect of choice, along with knowing when to use supers and how to cancel or avoid them, lent so much to the gameplay and made each match unique.
Alas, the roster was a bit on the smaller side with only 20 characters at launch and four DLC additions, bringing the total up to 24 when all was said and done. Fortunately, most characters in this mix of first- and third-party mascots played completely differently, aside from Cole McGrath’s good and evil forms. That meant that not only was the roster well balanced, there was always a character that suited whichever playstyle a given person preferred.
If All-Stars were revived we could see new characters added including The Last of Us’ Joel and Ellie, Horizon’s Aloy, and Ghost of Tsushima’s Jin Sakai to name a few. Furthermore, with companies growing more willing to cooperate on such projects, we could see Crash and Spyro make their way into the roster.
While Superbot Entertainment was shuddered shortly after the launch of the game, that does not mean Sony couldn’t create a new studio or outsource it to one of their existing first-party developers. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was something too special to be abandoned, and I think the PlayStation 5 could benefit from having a sequel to this criminally underrated game.