30 Best Sony PlayStation Network Games

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Cost: $14.99
Metacritic Rating: 76
If you've been following the Ratchet & Clank series, Quest for Booty is one part of the adventure you shouldn't pass up just because it's not a disc-release. Taking place after Tools of Destruction and before a Crack in Time, this game fills the gap between the two games as Ratchet goes on a solo adventure with a distinct "Pirates of the Space Caribbean" flair. Lots of weapons are carried over from the previous R&C title, and there are a good number of puzzles packed into this bite-sized package. At three to four hours of game time, it's a decidedly lighter installment, but the price makes it perfect for the PlayStation Network.

Cost: $5.99
Metacritic Rating: 89
Out of all the characters in the Resident Evil series, it's easiest to sympathize with rookie cop Leon Kennedy. Not more than a few hours into his first day on the job, Raccoon City's inexplicably infested with zombies, and the only way to figure out what's going on is by infiltrating the nearby laboratory that created the whole mess. No wonder Leon's so well adjusted by the time Resident Evil 4 rolls around.

Although it's hard to imagine being frightened by this game today, Resident Evil 2's claustrophobic level design and grim ambiance was more than enough to kick-start anyone's itchy trigger finger. Making it through the entire game is a careful balance of juggling scarce ammo and even rarer healing items, along with being outnumbered by undead everywhere you turn. It's classic survival horror at its best, and for $6, it's probably the best retro Resident Evil experience PS3 owners can buy.

Cost: $7.99
Metacritic Rating: 86

When you first see Shatter in action, you might instantly think, "Hey, that looks just like Breakout." And while the loose association isn't entirely wrong, it's still not an accurate representation of all Shatter has to offer.

Although there's a subtle similarity to older "brick breaking" titles, Shatter takes a simple concept and integrates enough new elements to make it play like a fresh experience. Instead of just being able to hit a ball back and forth with the paddle, Shatter also gives you the power to manipulate gravity within the game -- loose blocks can be pulled and pushed around the vacuum of empty space. There are even a handful of inventive boss battles crammed into this $8 game, which add a fresh dose of challenge as you try to combat living golems of blocks and bricks.

Shatter also features a lot of graphical flair with heavy techno tones reminiscent of Rez. Most PSN games don't pull off a retro evolution as well as Shatter does. It's colorful, easy to dive into, and it somehow manages to retain basic gameplay that many gamers will know on muscle memory alone.

Cost: $29.99
Metacritic Rating: 78
Taking place in an abandoned Japanese village with a history of ritual human sacrifices, Siren: Blood Curse weaves a story around an American TV crew that's descended upon the place to shoot a documentary. Predictably, everything goes awry as living corpses start running amok through the village. The game has over 12 episodes packed with enough pulse-pounding gameplay to give Resident Evil a run for its money. But the real attraction here is the story, which is interwoven among a huge cast of characters, with each person's actions directly affecting someone else's chances of survival.

Siren: Blood Curse also has content available on a PlayStation Home Game Space for the diehard Japanese horror gamer, with unlockable rewards for players who compete in the available mini-game. At first look, $30 for a downloadable game might seem steep, but Siren: Blood Curse is a deep horror game that does its damnedest to scare you to death every step of the way.

Cost: $9.99
Metacritic Rating: 85
Super Stardust HD is often summed up as "part Asteroids and part Geometry Wars," but neither game by itself even begins to explain the sheer insanity at hand here. Where Asteroids had the constant-but-manageable onslaught of space debris, Super Stardust HD multiplies the rubble tenfold and throws over-the-top explosions into the mix. Sure, Geometry Wars had frantic shooter mechanics within combined spaces, but SSHD throws even more enemies at you, while thoughtfully allowing players to run for dear life across spherical planet-like maps.

Armed with only a single spaceship, Super Stardust HD supplies you with three types of ammunition and proceeds to send wave after wave of sparkly, explosive death descending upon your vessel. Success depends on how well you can make use of bombs, speed boosts, and power-ups, although the resulting chaos looks so good that's easy to get distracted. With leaderboard stats showing scores in the hundreds of millions, there's definitely a method to this madness, but the average gamer can still have a blast with these multicolored fireworks.

Cost: $14.99
Metacritic Rating: 87
Capcom sure loves to revamp their classic games, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo would have been easy as a quick port with few thrills. But, as the "HD Remix" tagline indicates, there's a lot that's been overhauled.

Truly, this Street Fighter II remake is one that's gotten a total makeover. Art design by the famous Udon Studios breathes new life into the World Warriors, and everything from Ryu's Hadouken to Zangief's bone-crushing piledrivers has been reworked for additional balance. It's literally not the same game, and with the addition of online multiplayer, there's a reason for even the most untouchable players to get back to practice. At $15, you get a graphical facelift, new endings, as well as a whole new soundtrack in a budget package, and most importantly, a new Street Fighter game that won't steal your quarters.

Cost: $5.99
Metacritic Rating: 72
By now, you'd think that the Tetris formula has been improved on so many times that developers would stop trying to modify it. Luckily, that's not the case with Trash Panic -- a weird little game from Sony's Japanese branch that takes an everyday house chore and turns it into an addictive puzzler.

We've all had the same problem before: sometimes when taking out the trash, there's an oblong object taking up too much space at a weird angle. When that happens, we have to do an irritating amount of shuffling to find enough space for all the garbage at once. Strangely enough, Trash Panic took this idea and actually built a game around the concept.

Starting with an empty garbage tank, you sort trash into it from a conveyor belt, dropping in one piece at a time. Where Tetris has you lining blocks to clear space, Trash Panic tasks you with crushing certain breakable items with other objects -- like smashing an old guitar with a microwave. While it sounds simple, Trash Panic's gameplay throws enough curves at you that you'll feel the pressure to keep your garbage from overflowing. But unlike trash duties in real life, it's actually fun to go digging through these waste bins (especially when you start dropping matches onto the special, flammable items).

  • Trine
  • Also available on PC

Cost: $19.99
Metacritic Rating: 83
Fantasy games filled with medieval warriors and magical monsters may often be relegated to JRPGs, but Trine is a throwback to a time when Lord of the Rings-style characters were front and center in numerous genres. For now, Braid may be the king of puzzle platformers, but Trine is a worthy challenger nonetheless.

In a kingdom that's fallen on harsh times after losing its ruler and being overrun by undead armies, Trine tells the tale of a thief, a wizard, and a knight -- three heroes who are forced to work together to save the kingdom from imminent ruin. Much like the retro classic Lost Vikings games, each character in Trine has a specific skill that can help fend off evil minions and solve puzzles: the thief packs a bow, arrows, and a grappling hook; the wizard has the ability to both conjure levitating platforms and use telekinesis to move and throw objects; the portly knight comes equipped with a much-needed shield, sword, and sledgehammer.

Due to a magical snafu, the three heroes actually inhabit the same body, meaning that the player must switch characters on the fly in order to use the right ability for the task at hand. Each level in Trine puts your planning skills to the test, but another welcome treat is the richly detailed world around this game. Trine plays as good as it looks, and artistically, it's one of the best PSN games you can get -- even at the $20 asking price.

Cost: $5.99
Metacritic Rating: N/A
If games like Super Mario Kart and F-Zero are too tame for your tastes, Twisted Metal 2 adds enough destruction and mayhem that your bloodlust will be appeased almost certainly. In fact, it does away with actual racing entirely. Instead of a finish line, your only concern is the utter and total obliteration of every other vehicle in the game. Twisted Metal 2 is a blast with multiplayer in the mix, and it's just plain fun ramming full speed into someone's tank with your machine gun-laden hot rod.

Few titles revel in their delightfully over-blown violence quite like Twisted Metal 2. Honestly, name another one that lets you blow up the Eiffel Tower just for the Hell of it.

Cost: $19.99
Metacritic Rating: 87
For all intents and purposes, it seems that the Wipeout series has supplanted F-Zero as the high speed, futuristic combat racer of choice. That's bad news if you're a Nintendo fan, but good news if you happen to be a PlayStation owner. Needless to say, Wipeout HD is easily the slickest looking game in the series yet, thanks to amazing 1080p resolution with 60 frames per second visuals. But aside from looks, Wipeout HD has a ton of offerings for a downloadable title.

Single player races, tournaments, online multiplayer, and time trials are all part of the deal here, and with over 30 trophies to win through multiple courses, Wipeout HD should be any racing fanatic's high-definition dream come true. It's both the most visually impressive and explosive racer fans can find outside of Dirt 2 and Burnout.

  • Zen Pinball
  • PSN Exclusive

Cost: $9.99
Metacritic Rating: 80
Pinball might not pack the groundbreaking experience you'll find in games like PixelJunk Eden or Braid, but Zen Pinball, however, is one of the best video game iterations of the classic game that's worth $10 for the downloadable content alone. For starters, you're unlikely to ever see a pinball machine modeled after Street Fighter II or Ninja Gaiden Sigma, and Zen Studios has the only title around that puts some effort into creating that feeling of lifelike pinball physics and borderline unrealistic special effects.

This story, "30 Best Sony PlayStation Network Games" was originally published by GamePro.

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