With the recent acquisition of Bungie Studios by Sony’s PlayStation Studio, fans of the PlayStation brand can expect some great new games. It all began with the PlayStation 1 which brought classics like the Tekken series and the Gran Turismo titles to gamers, and they remain some of the best-known releases to date.
Some of the most critically acclaimed games can be found through Metacritic scores, compiling the opinion of the best critics out there. With the PlayStation series moving forward and remaining at the top more than two decades later, it’s worth taking a look back at the titles whose critical success paved the way for the future.
Wipeout XL is a game many fans would like to get remastered, having taken the world by storm upon its release. The title is a futuristic racing game that features hover cars moving like bullet trains in a high-octane environment with cyberpunk elements.
Wipeout XL was a game ahead of its time because of its gameplay elements that took over a decade to become commonplace in the industry. Its use of futuristic styles and presentation along with crisp graphics were widely acclaimed and unparalleled when it came to the racing genre.
Although it was also released on the PlayStation, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night became known as among the best games to be released on a Sega platform. Still, it finds its place among the best PlayStation had to offer too.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was lauded for blending horror elements with action adventure, as the side-scrolling title has a gothic aesthetic that sells the danger of the atmosphere. The most major praise was for the fact that the game allowed players to roam freely, which was a gameplay element that few titles offered at the time.
Street Fighter Alpha 3 was a hard-hitting entry in the series that many weren’t prepared for but were delightfully surprised by. Still ranked among the best Street Fighter games, it was well-received for delivering a complete entertainment experience with an extensive roster and multiple fighting styles.
Players could choose how they wanted a particular character to fight, empowering them to play according to their own tactics. Street Fighter Alpha 3 was released at a time when the fighting genre was becoming more and more creative, with the title still holding a coveted place in gaming history.
People still search for games similar to Gran Turismo because of the entertainment value the racing series offers. Gran Turismo 2 continued the franchise’s critical success by bringing back the same aspects that made the first so great – there wasn’t as much innovation, but reviewers were impressed with the consistency.
As a racing simulator, Gran Turismo 2 brought a clean driving experience that felt unlike any other present in the genre. While other titles were relatively fantastical in presentation, Gran Turismo 2 played it closely with how cars actually drive, and there was its appeal.
The stealth genre was primarily on the back of the Metal Gear series, but it wasn’t until Metal Gear Solid that it incorporated genuine third-person gameplay elements. Metal Gear Solid was revolutionary for its sneak-’em-up style that focused primarily on covertness over action.
Another major plus point was Metal Gear Solid’s story, which emotionally connected audiences to Solid Snake’s journey. It ultimately set the stage for multiple entries in the series to follow, with the debut title credited with influencing the stealth genre en masse, as many other games were released to emulate Metal Gear Solid’s success.
The role-playing game genre had plenty of entries on the PlayStation, but Chrono Cross was lauded for offering different realms for players to check out. The game is set during the divergence of two worlds, and the protagonist can travel within them in completely different environments.
The turn-based battle system was an exhilarating experience due to the presence of trump card moves that could turn the tide heavily in the player’s favor. Chrono Cross was a far less complicated game than its predecessor, Chrono Trigger, which was more user-friendly for new fans.
Final Fantasy IX is usually overshadowed by the success of Final Fantasy VII, yet it’s the former title that received better reviews. The game placed emphasis on exploration, with the world of Gaia free to explore through the control of the many main characters.
Reviewers highlighted how each character had a unique move set that allowed the gameplay to feel fresh each time around. The story is a lot more humorous than previous Final Fantasy titles and such a lighthearted affair opens up breezy playthroughs without getting bogged down by dramatic elements.
Gran Turismo took the world by storm upon release and is generally considered among the best games ever. It was seen as the complete package for offering more than 100 cars in distinct environments without ever feeling cartoonish or gimmicky.
Gran Turismo’s soundtrack and graphics were praised at the time for blending perfectly with the gameplay, as every track had a unique feel. The A.I. was remarkably sharp for its time, enabling races to feel like the real deal and presenting players with a significant challenge in each playthrough.
The Tekken series took a giant leap in quality with Tekken 3, featuring larger-than-life characters and hard-hitting action. The introduction of characters like Jin Kazama, Hwoarang, Ling Xiaoyu, Eddy Gordo, and more changed the series for years to come, with every player having their own fighting styles.
The revamped roster and new elements like side-stepping through the 3D environment offered a fighting platform few had experienced before. Tekken 3 remains the best-received entry in the series by far and is seen as the peak for the franchise that few other titles in the genre have matched.
The Tony Hawk series hasn’t been great for a long time now, but Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 remains in a league of its own. Featuring highly addictive gameplay, players are placed in a world where the three-dimensional skateboard movements are fit for the taking, with breathtaking stunts and tricks performed.
There are multiple modes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, running from career mode where the player has to move up the ranks, to free-play and multiplayer modes where winning through showcasing skills is the way to go. Not many sports games offer such diverse entertainment, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 remains evergreen more than two decades later.
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