When The Last of Us came out on the PS3 last year, it made one of the strongest arguments to stick with the PS3 and hold out until there was enough amazing software to justify a PS4 purchase. Now that the game has been remastered and released for the PS4, gamers who know they’ll get the system eventually have one less reason to drag their feet.
Over on the Nintendo front, a pair of low-key indie downloads in Siesta Fiesta and Wooden Sen’Se’Y give 3DS and Wii U owners reasons to fire up Nintendo’s e-shop. And if you’re looking for a soundbar to make your games and movies come to life, the ZVOX: Soundbase 555 has got what you need.
The Last of Us Remastered
(PS4, $50, Mature)
Naughty Dog, the invincible developer behind the Uncharted series, stretched their creative wings and applied their immense technological knowledge to create the consensus game of the year for 2013. The Last of Us, a PS3 exclusive, took elements from the survival horror and third-person shooter genres and infused a narrative that mixed storytelling techniques from novels and movies to produce an absolute stunner and a no-brainer must-play.
Now the game, set in a post-apocalyptic world in which a pair of unlikely friends struggles to survive, has gotten a wholesale graphical polish for Sony’s newer console. Probably the best-looking game on the system — which in turn means one of the best-looking games ever created — The Last of Us shines on the PS4. Textures, lighting, backgrounds and character models come to stunning life, making it worth playing through the story again to see it come closer to the form of the original artistic vision. All the DLC comes in the package, and there’s a new photo mode that lets you tweak the camera angles to take screenshots. The best game created for the PS3 is now the best on the PS4.
(3DS, $6, Everyone)
Hiking along the well-worn path of brick-busting Breakout clones, Siesta Fiesta has you move an assortment of platforms back and forth to ricochet a ball and clear airborne bricks to beat levels. The angle you hit the ball with your platform surface alters the angle, and you can tap a button to put some extra juice on the ball. In the style of a mobile game, you get a gold, silver or bronze medal depending on how perfectly you play.
While there’s not much to Siesta Fiesta that dazzles you, it does have an addictive quality that calls to you when you have a free moment and want to smash your way through a quick level or two. The game may not offer much more than you’d find in a $1 or free smartphone download, but if you’re looking for some mildly challenging fun on your 3DS, you can do far worse.
(Wii U, $10, Everyone)
A 16-bit-flavored ninja sim has you double-jump, toss and chop your way over, around and through quirky anime-flavored obstacles and enemies. Jovial music and cutesy character models lend charm to the paper fan-thin story, and the simple yet surprisingly deep combat and platforming replicate a Mario-style challenge. There are some eye-rolling gimmicks, such as the requirement to flick the GamePad forward in order to jump again while in mid-air, but there’s nothing close to the annoyance of motion-controlled Wii games.
A simple, fast-moving platformer on a system struggling to find enough software to make it relevant, Wooden Sen’SeY delivers plenty of small-time thrills. The difficulty eventually ramps up to the point of constant frustration, but that only plays into its oldsc-school appeal.
ZVOX: SoundBase 555
Those who live in small apartments or lack the funds and technical know-how to set up surround sound can opt for plug-and-play soundbars like this, and the ZVOX Soundbase 555 is one of the best options out there. Its booming base, deep and layered simulated surround sound and relatively compact size make up its winning features. Working nicely as a stylish base you can set your TV and consoles on top of, the soundbar does a spectacular job of projecting vocals with enough thrust to keep them from getting drowned out by background noise.
There’s a 3.5mm jack that lets you pump your music through the speakers, and options for digital or analog inputs. While you may not notice much of a difference with regular TV programming, it absolutely rocks while handling the sophisticated soundtracks of gaming and Blu-ray watching.