Review - Best of PlayStation Network Vol. 1
Best of PlayStation Network Volume 1 is an on-disc compilation of four stellar downloadable games. Putting them together on one disc finally gets these otherwise downloadable-only games on a store shelf! Sounds like a good idea, right? Sure… but it might not be worth the drive to your local game shop.
Obviously, why buy a compilation full of hits and misses? Let's run the titles through the roll call and see what's worth playing.
When Vikings Attack - This is an arcade-style multiplayer romp where each player controls a mob of humorously stereotypical civilians in a tussle with wave after wave of merciless Vikings. To clear the screen of enemies and move on to the next stage, you find new civilians to add to your crowd and use their combined strength to lift objects and chuck them at your Viking foes. The larger your crowd, the bigger the object you can throw, ranging from trash cans to cars to telephone booths. Vikings is very entertaining! Each stage presents new objects and power-ups while increasing the hectic nature of fighting off hundreds of Vikings at once. The single player doesn't offer that much variety, but it's a lot of fun playing with friends or online!
Sound Shapes - Don't let the artsy name fool you, this is a brilliant little platformer. It's a musical game, along the same vein as games like Bit.Trip or Patapon. The levels are organized as albums, and you control a sticky ball glob thing that leaps and rolls around brightly colored stages collecting notes. Each note collected adds a new piece to the stage's underlying music, to which the stage environments and obstacles keep in rhythm with. In order to complete the level successfully, you must complete the song. Yeah, it sounds a little weird, and probably isn't everyone's cup of tea. Still, everything about Sound Shapes is creative and addictive. It even has a surprisingly robust level creator.
Tokyo Jungle - Mankind has all but vanished and the surviving animals have made Tokyo their new home. You take control of an animal, ranging from deer to house cats to massive alligators, and fight to survive in this new, hostile environment. It's a very creative idea and plays quite well with fluid controls, numerous collectibles and unlockable animals, and a unique level-up system that passes on certain attributes to your animal's offspring. Plus, I don't think there's another game on earth where a Pomeranian puppy can battle a Velociraptor!
Fat Princess is arguably the most well-known title and is about four years old. This is about as dumbed-down as a real-time-strategy game can get, but it's very addictive and enjoyable. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of RTS type games, but I really like this. The charming graphics, simple gameplay, and cartoonish gore make Fat Princess very easy to just pick up and play with or without friends.
Yes, for once a compilation disc is full of great games! That's definitely worth a high score and a buy, right? Well, this is where things get weird. I'm still not convinced it's worth a buy. Let's break down the individual prices on PSN, shall we?
When Vikings Attack - $9.99
Sound Shapes - $14.99
Tokyo Jungle - $14.99
Fat Princess - $7.49 (Free with PlayStation Plus)
Best of PSN Vol. 1 - $39.99.
Added up, you're basically getting the same deal as if you were a PlayStation Plus member. Which is decent, but only if you want all four games and are not a Plus member to begin with. Each game is of a wildly different genre from the others, so it's unlikely you'll enjoy each to the same degree. Best of PSN provides a physical copy for collectors, gifts, and… uh… "physical copy enthusiasts," but that's about it. All four games were designed with online play and interactivity in mind, so not even the "sans internet" excuse for that poor, minuscule minority of gamers holds up, as they would not be buying the full experience.
Despite having a fun time with the four games, I'm having trouble justifying this collection. Best of PSN is simply a way to get these games on store shelves. Nothing more, nothing less. Your best bet is to demo each game online first. Otherwise you may end up wasting upwards of $30 on one to three games you don't really care for.
Uhh you guys are talking about retail. I'm talking about longevity. Sure, the PSN servers for purchasing these games might go under before your physical disc does, but I'll bet Sony stops manufacturing and selling the disc even before then, and my digital copy will still work when your physical disc is scratched beyond repair, which will eventually make the resale market meaningless. Both physical and digital production and distribution will always end at some point. That's obvious. But digital survival is not solely dependent on a single fragile disc.
There's a reason why digital copies of old games are far cheaper then physical ones, because the physical ones get lost, broken, mixed up, etc and eventually become rare because there will always be a limited amount of them; only dwindling, never growing. Unlike physical copies, digital copies can multiply. Unlike physical, digital can also be converted for new formats and technology. Having a digital copy available also means a physical copy can be made from it. And yes, digital copies can be redistributed through a "used" market. For a great example, just think about how easy it is to get old DOS games these days through the internet! When was the last time you even held a DOS game's CD? Digital will always outlast physical. Unless Skynet erases it all.
Fat Princess isn't free with PS+ (At least not in the US.). It went on sale for $3.75 when this volume came out though oddly enough.
I really like Tokyo Jungle, but that is about it on the list. One question though about the math. Do these games come with the DLC? I know there were additional animal packs for Tokyo Jungle and I think Fat Princess has some as well.
I'm betting that the PSN servers that contain these titles will go offline before a physical copy stops working.
"xbla took away my ninja turtles... both of them... and i was just about to by them" - Steve said a couple days after they were removed
Can be, isn't always. That's why some games on XBLA and PSN have been taken down and never re-added. It's impossible for anyone to own those games unless they bought them before they were taken down. Physical copies can at least exist and be traded in a used market. Digital copies can't, not the way they are now.
That's actually opposite. Digital copies will always outlive physical ones because while physical copies eventually wear down regardless of use, digital can be backed up, transferred, copied, etc.
Same here, I still get a sense of happiness from showing off my physical copy to my friends, rather than showing them my TV screen.
I hope more of these come out that psn games can be preserved I will hate to see,a game some games to lost in time to be forever unplayable.
I'm a physical copy enthusiast!