I believe 2008 was the year I bought a PlayStation 3. Up until 2020, I had a PlayStation console in my living room. 2020 was… well, it was something else, wasn’t it? When the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X release dates were announced and pre-orders rolled around, I was consumed by this feeling of disbelief. In a time when so many people are dying (from COVID-19), how are we talking about new video game consoles? It didn’t seem like there was going to be an end in sight to the pandemic, and I couldn’t wrap my head around dropping hundreds of dollars on a new console, with so much uncertainty in the world. I missed the pre-order window, and once we reached the end of October I started to regret my decision to sit this one out. On November 10th, I tried my luck at ordering an Xbox Series X, and I actually got one. But what I really wanted was a PS5, so on November 12th I found myself once again with several browser tabs open, frantically trying to get an order to go through. Believe it or not, I managed to secure one with Gamestop, but it was cancelled a few hours later due to stock issues. I shrugged it off and turned my focus to the Xbox Series X that would arrive a few days later.
Microsoft has done some amazing things with the Xbox platform over the past couple of years, and it was great to once again hear people talking positively about Xbox. With GamePass and Smart Delivery, there’s a lot to enjoy on the Series S/X consoles. But at release, I struggled to find games that could take advantage of the new hardware. I sunk over 130 hours into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but there were no first-party exclusives at launch, and that situation never really improved over the course of the following two years. At the time of writing, the only true exclusives for Xbox Series S/X are Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Once Horizon Forbidden West was released and God of War Ragnarök was only a few months away, I knew I had to get my hands on a PS5 sooner than later. After five failed attempts (where I placed an order and it was later cancelled), I managed to secure a PS5 at the end of July 2022. I spent the next few months catching up on PlayStation exclusives I had missed over the past two years and was quickly reminded why PlayStation has been the leading console for most of its lifetime.
You would assume the first game I would jump into once I got my PS5 would be Horizon Forbidden West, but you’d be wrong. I knew Horizon was going to be a huge time investment, so I decided to play a couple of smaller games first. Ratchet & Clank has been one of my favourite PlayStation exclusive franchises, so I figured that would be a good place to start. Followed by Stray, I eventually dove into Horizon. Since then, I’ve made my way through Kena: Bridge of Spirits and finally got around to playing The Last of Us: Part II. Remember when I talked about how I felt about the new consoles back in 2020? I had similar feelings about the sequel to one of my all-time favourite games. I knew it was going to be a heartbreaking experience, and I just couldn’t bring myself to play it back then. I’m glad I waited, as I was good and ready to see where things ended up with Ellie and Joel.
And finally, God of War Ragarök is here. In just under 2 weeks (and 43 hours of playtime), I wrapped up the story and am currently working my way toward the platinum trophy, with just three left to earn. It exceeded my expectations and was one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling gaming experiences I’ve had in recent years.
I don’t really know how to describe it, but top-tier PlayStation exclusives are in a league of their own. I played Halo Infinite and it was good, but it pales in comparison to the likes of God of War, Horizon, and The Last of Us. I missed games with that level of fidelity and finesse. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that it’s good to be back on PlayStation.