It's been a good year for digital console downloads, with more and more publishers taking cues from the indie scene and gradually seeing the benefit in exploring mid-range titles that can still provide triple-A experiences at a significantly lower risk and cost. Hats of to Ubisoft, then, for having two games on this list, but so to will you find indie darlings, quirky niche titles, Defender's futuristic offspring, and loads and loads of zombies.
"Another gaming experience that demands to be played all in one sitting,Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ends up being a triumph in storytelling through unconventional means. Conveying characters without words, co-operation without multiplayer, and daring to construct mechanically polarising game in the name of an emotional climax, Brothers shouldn't really work. But its final act stuns and satisfies and proves something to savour."
"Here’s a game that refuses to be tied down by a digital-only release. The Western setting is a breath of fresh air to the usual Generistan sandy hellholes or grey corridors. Sometimes the aiming feels a little untrue, but the story entertains over at least five hours and the score-chasing combo fun of the arcade mode was a much better idea than tacked on multiplayer."
"Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon shows you a damn good time for map pack money. If you're seeking bombastic freeform thrills, nostalgia value and laughs aplenty, it's hard to go wrong with this quad-barrelled disasterpiece."
"An incredibly elegant game when it comes to both the game design and the mechanisms that power it, Monaco is a glorious gem of a game that manages to capture both the sophisticated strategy of planning the perfect heist along with the frantic, delirious fun of the crime caper. A unique co-op marvel in the right hands."
"Stood against the best SHMUPs of this passing generation, it's not necessarily as special as it seems, helped along by being the first and only current game of its kind on the PS4. But it's a great little PS Plus pack-in for new adopters, and will no doubt please genre fans immensely on the harder difficulty settings with a purity of purpose and execution that makes for a deliciously balanced and focused slice of SHMUP action."
Yes, we're cheating again. But Spelunky saw a re-re-release on PSN this year and found its home on Vita, where it truly shines. "It's a fantastic modern example of how to make a difficult game all about fun. Within the first 10 minutes, I had been impaled by spikes, been accused of being a terrorist, and chased by an immortal ghost 20 times my size. All of them resulted in death, and all of them resulted in me retrying. With its diverse levels and obstacles, its lovable humour, charm, and above all its simplicity, Spelunky is the perfect title for those seeking a fresh, fun challenge."
"I've over-used the phrase "rough diamond" in years past, but now we have a new definition of the term. State Of Decay delivers one of the most authentic, compelling and enjoyable zombie experiences of recent years, and all for an eminently affordable budget price. Indeed, you'll completely forget that we're all supposed to be bored of zombies by now. Outstanding."
Best Console Marketplace Game | Brothers: A Game of Two Sons
There's a moment in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons where everything comes together in a single moment of such beautiful unity and complementation that I want to applaud or, if I could wear the damn things, take my hat off to Josef Fares and Starbreeze. It's a moment that makes you question the nature of the game that came before and irrevocably shadows everything left to come, not to mention any returns to the game that you might make. It arrives at the perfect time too, the game's pacing -- previously rather loosely handled up until that point -- suddenly kicks up a notch and the action builds to a stunning climax.
Brothers is an odd game -- the slightly awkward mechanism at its core should't work. The journey itself may be slightly inconsistent, but Brothers is easy to recommend, added to the slowly growing number of games offering up immersive, emotional interactive experiences that use the medium to tell stories and affect audiences in bewitching ways. It's a simple tale, told with simple tools, but it's artfully constructed and conducted, and its final quarter is spectacular.
But how about you dear reader? What floated your boat when it came to the console marketplace scene this year? Let us know below!