There are rumours that robo-dinosaur hunting adventure Horizon: Zero Dawn is coming to PC soon, which would be the first time a game produced by a Sony-owned studio has shaken loose from its console shackles. We’ve also seen other former PlayStation exclusives developed by third-party studios make the leap to PC in the past year, such as Journey and Detroit: Become Human, and 2020 will see the release of Death Stranding.
If Sony are looking to follow in Microsoft’s footsteps by making the PC their second home, then that’s good news for us. It begs the question: what current PlayStation exclusive games do we crave most urgently?
No, PlayStation Now doesn’t count.
Alice Bee: I was 12 when the first Ratchet & Clank came out, and I think it was the first action platformer I ever played. How spoiled I was! It played a pretty big role in my childhood, as me and my younger brother took turns bouncing around all the different planets, squabbling and telling each other what to do. The 2016 reimagining was subtly different, but broadly just the 2012 game but… better.
Mechanic cat alien Ratchet and tiny intelligent robot pal Clank, they of the determinism most nominative, get caught up in a big space war, and you explore evil factories, tropical islands, big space cities and other sci-fi favourites.
Ratchet and Clank have different abilities, which you expand as you find new weapons and tools. They open up new areas and secrets, so the levels have a bit of a metroidvania flavour, but with big juicy colours the like of a Saturday morning kids’ cartoon. I think the PC audience would eat this up, so I can’t understand why it’s not already in our mouths.
Nate: Good old Dad of War. Just like Aloy’s big archery adventure, this was one I played through with my wife (cos that’s what we use the PS4 for), and we got really into it. I know it’s a bit cringe to act like the idea of a big action adventure game with themes of FATHERHOOD and RESPONSIBILITY and ENDING CYCLES OF VIOLENCE is anything groundbreaking or rare. But fuck it, God of War did it really well, and it was a welcome change in a series I’d never touched because it seemed like a teenager’s dick had been allowed to design a game.
And yeah, I get that even this change was less a case of toxic masculinity being defeated forever, and more a reflection of the fact that the cohort of bloodthirsty young white men making games in the mid-2000s are now a cohort of melancholy middle-aged white dads making games. The big takeaway here is that it would be better to have more games – especially “prestige” games – being made by people who aren’t either of those things. But alas, I am a melancholy, middle-aged white dad, and I was a melancholy, middle-aged white dad-to-be when I played God of War. It spoke to me pretty well. And anyway, whether they’re symptoms of over-representation or not, I’m much more keen on protagonists like old, sad, thoughtful-even-if-he’s-self-regarding Kratos, than young, cruel, gurning-as-he-pops-a-boner-and-jabs-out-a-monster’s-eye-with-it Kratos.
There’s lots more to love in this one, too. I was really into GoW’s particular aesthetic take on Norse myth, an area just as overplayed as sad war dads are, and it really reminded me of Age of Mythology, of all things. The weird, alien elves were a treat, I was a big fan of the way each of the nine realms were so visually distinct (although really only four of them saw any game time), and the gigantic friendly snake was an absolute legend. I had all the time in the world for him. Next game in the series to be about the snake, please.
Graham: Dreams looks like a technical marvel. It’s the new game from Media Molecule, the makers of Little Big Planet, and it feels like the logical next step. Where LBP gave players the tools to make platformer levels, Dreams gives you a suite of tools to make entire games. That includes scultping models, puppeteering those models to create animations, scripting rules and systems, and constructing your own sound effects and music.
Most importantly, it looks to do all of these things while making the process playful. You’re not just downloading a version of Unity designed to be used with a controller, but a game that aims to make game creation feel as intuitive as sketching with a pencil.
Dreams is due for its full release in February, but has been in early access since last April. In that time, players have already created remarkable things, including a small Metal Gear Solid remake, a Cyberpunk 2077 demake and this ridiculously realistic looking fry-up by John Beech, pictured above.
PC gaming obviously has a long history of user-generated content, and so these tools would feel right at home on PC. In fact, Media Molecule already spoke last year about their desire to allow people who create things with Dreams to export their work to other devices, and suggested there was potential for the whole thing to come to PC. Bring it on.
Nate: My daughter has only recently learned to climb the stairs. It’s a massive endeavour for a one year old, involving loads of panting and ‘hnnnnngh’ noises, and it took her a few abandoned tries to get the hang of it. When she finally made the attempt I knew was going to get her to the top, I put the climbing-the-bosses music from SotC on my phone at full blast. When she made it to the top step, I was very proud, but also having a right laugh. Classic dad chuckles, I know.
But still, the last time I actually saw SotC being played was fifteen years ago, off my gourd and lying on my mate’s sofa as he stabbed a massive, hairy stone eagle (and in the game lol etc). If even the vague idea of a strenuous climb still brings that music to mind, it’s fair to say that was a pretty intense bit of game design. I suppose I’d quite like to have SotC on PC so I could have a go at it myself, but to be honest I’m not sure anything could really beat that first, spectacular meeting.
Nate: Honestly, I would have been so much happier with Spider-Man if it had been shorter, simpler, and much more linear. Cos it’s not bad, by any means. The web-swinging by which you travelled around the city was one of the most viscerally enjoyable means of getting around I’ve ever experienced in a game. I have a really nice recurring dream where I am able to brachiate around like an ape, and the swinging about in Spider-Man is the nearest I will ever come to making it real unless I become unfeasibly strong.
But oh boy, did this game come with a massive case of open-world fatigue syndrome. I just could not have cared less about fussily seeking out the various icons on the map, and the mental admin burden conferred by getting waylaid by sidequest after sidequest was tiring. There was just so much to deal with: with great power, it turned out, came a little too much responsibility.
Usually it’s at least 20 hours into an open-worlder before the chore of playing it outweighs the novelty involved. But for some reason, even with the fun, fun ropes, I ended up crashing out of this one way sooner. Maybe I got too busy. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood at the time. Either way, ever since that night when I put it down and never picked it up again, I’ve felt a bit guilty. I feel like I’ve been mean to Spider-Man. And I’m not sure he deserves it. A PC release would be the thing to convince me to take him for another spin. It would certainly give more people the chance to enjoy some superb aerial acrobatics.
Graham: Tokyo Jungle comes from a time before most of Sony’s exclusive stable turned into prestige dramas about the end of the world. Instead it’s a game about the end of the world in which you can play as a kangaroo and absolutely beast a tiger in the face.
Of course, you can play as lots of other animals too – around 50 in total. Set in a Tokyo where all the humans have disappeared, this is an animal survival game in which you must forage, hunt and eat your way up the food chain in order to survive. You also have to breed with other animals of the same species, ultimately establishing a pack that lets you fell even larger enemies.
I want to stress: I haven’t played Tokyo Jungle. It’s a game that I watched trailers of in the build up to its release, but I didn’t own a PlayStation 3 when it came out. My desire to prompt a giraffe to kick a boar in the face hasn’t diminished in the seven years since, and a PC release would be the perfect opportunity to finally give it a go. Reading just now, via the game’s Wikipedia page, that “Pomeranian dogs are key characters in the story” has only made this urge stronger.
Katharine: I wouldn’t say I’m absolutely in love with Team Ico’s soulful action puzzler The Last Guardian, but Trico, the titular giant, feathered cat-dog-thing that fiercely defends your small cursed boy character as you try and make your escape from a mysterious tower, is a technical marvel. The way he moves, stretches and even bristles his feathers is so gosh-darned life-like that you sometimes forget this isn’t a real, breathing animal onscreen.
We didn’t own our two cats at the time I played The Last Guardian, but man alive it’s actually uncanny how cat-like Trico can be at times, the way he limbers up before making a seemingly impossible leap onto the top of a tiny pillar, or cautiously sniffs at things the first time he lays eyes on them. He’s something I’d love to see reborn on PC, with smoother frame rates and animations, and higher quality textures – much like how the wandering wildlife of Red Dead Redemption 2 were spruced up for PC at the end of last year.
Plus, it’s just quite a good adventure game with some neat puzzles, gorgeous set pieces and a genuinely heart-wrenching story. I didn’t really get on much with Ico (too fussy) or Shadow Of The Colossus (too repetitive, yeah I know, fight me), but The Last Guardian was the first Team Ico game I really clicked with, and it would be great to see it get a second wind over on PC. Do it for Trico, Sony.
Alice0: Probably my favourite FromSoftware game, this one. The city of Yharnham is riddled with a plague of beastblood, so poisoned that even the angry mobs wielding pitchforks and torches are themselves clearly infected. In we go as a hunter on a mysterious mission, cutting through hordes of beasts with our weapons that can transform into new forms. It’s some good Victoriana monsterhuntering, this. The city is eerily familiar to me as a resident of Edinburgh, all weird bridges and tunnels and spires and passages and levels above levels above levels. The wolfmen are wolfy, the hunter fashion tip-top, and my favourite weapon is a gravestone stuck on the end of a sword. Love that gothic horror monsterhunting.
It’s good fightin’. Bloodborne’s violence is built on Dark Souls ideas, with a bloodthirsty twist. Where the correction decision after taking a hit in Dark Souls is often to pull back and heal, Bloodborne will offer a brief window where you can heal by damaging enemies. This opportunity is tantalising, risky, and hugely satisfying. Sekiro would later continue renovating Soulsy combat into a proper great action game but this mid-point suits me well. The ‘trick weapons’ able to transform mid-combo are great fun too, both as a combat tool and a stylistic flair. Snapping the saw cleaver open and closed makes a satisfying threatening clunk and did I mention my favourite weapon is literally a gravestone?
Bloodborne is also some cracking cosmic horror. At a certain point, the veil lifts and you see what’s truly happening in this city. It is proper horrible. The shift still makes me beam when I think about it. It has the usual Soulsy mysteries and hidden stories hinting at something greater, then just WHAM! cosmic horror to the face.
Why do I want Bloodborne to come to PC if I already own it on PS4? Partially because I want PC peeps to enjoy Bloodborne and I want RPS to fill with writing about it. But mostly because my former flatmate took her console with her so I can’t play it anymore.
Alice Bee: I’m cheating here because I have said “Uncharted” and realistically what I am envisaging is “Uncharted: The Full Beans Collection” including all of the games, especially the one where you’re the girls (pictued above).
Uncharted is basically everything I want from a third person adventure game. You leap around pretty maps, do some ancient tomb puzzles, have explosive set pieces against shady men in tactical combat gear, and solve all your problems with guns. Even the archaeological ones.
As such, it’s a crying shame that Nate “Indiana Croft” Drake, his elderly best friend, his wife and (spoilers) his brother he thought was dead this whole time but inexplicably has never mentioned, have never adventured over onto PC.
Seriously, though, some of the pirate jungle environments in Uncharted 4 are really bloody lovely. Crank that baby up to eleven.
Video Matthew: It’s rare to see publishers throw considerable time and money behind VR games, which makes it a shame when flashier projects remain exclusive to one headset: a niche within a niche. This is the case with SIE London Studio’s gangster romp, Blood & Truth, a PSVR shooting gallery that whips you from Guy Ritchie-ish monologues to army flashbacks and high rise shootouts that even Michael Bay would call a ‘bit much’.
It looks fantastic – I’ve not played it myself, as the PSVR is up in the loft and scared there might be rats up there. But I’ve watched breathless YouTubers ducking up giant crane arms as they smash through skyscrapers, or enjoying a pocket of bullet time to pop hoodlums as they fly through the air. It can only be made better by shifting to the more reliable VR headsets on PC. PSVR relies on the spotty view cone of the PlayStation camera (which is why I banished to the rat kingdom in the first place).
VR can feel embattled at the best of times, so don’t divide the troops with further tribalism. Get Blood & Truth on PC now. Or send Rentokil to my house. Preferably the former.
Video Matthew: I’ll always remember working on Official Nintendo Magazine and hearing the gang at CVG talking in a hushed reverence about how The Last Of Us had made another magazine editor cry in its opening 20 minutes. As someone who weeps at stupid things all the time – Smallville, Cheers, Speed Racer – I feel sympathy with the anonymous bawler, but must admit that I felt this aspect of the game, that it was this grand emotional gauntlet, was always a bit oversold. I mean, it has several puzzles where you have to move ladders around. Too many Homebase flashbacks to loosen my tear ducts.
But if it didn’t squeeze the salt from my eyes, it managed to work my jaw: clenching when I heard the tell-tale clicking of the Infected; grinning at the (initially) playful snatches of banter between heroes; gawping at the next post-apocalyptic vista hidden round each corner. Most importantly, my gob never had a chance to start fidgeting or contemplating snacks: it’s a supremely well paced game, tossing in new locations, revelations, mechanical quirks or set pieces every few minutes, for a solid 15 hours. It’s a rough journey, but one so smoothly delivered that I would happily take it again.
Those are our picks, but there are no doubt more games that belong on PC among Sony’s four generations of consoles – and maybe a couple to be found on the PSP and the Vita, too. Let us know what we’re missing in the comments below.