It’s great to be a gamer nowadays. We have a wide range of video games to choose from, though there are certain unique gameplay mechanics in video games that we can’t seem to forget. In case you missed out first part of the list, check out the article here.
In the second part of this series, we reveal another five video games that delivered innovative gameplay that changed the way we play video games.
1. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is definitely worth the time to jump back into this series that has been collecting dusts since Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed games have been taking over the action-platformer genre.
This game catapulted the popularity of Prince of Persia series into big success due to the Prince’s acrobatic skills as he walks along beams, poles or walls to traverse the environments. It’s also famous for solving large environmental puzzles that mostly required the help of Maharaja’s daughter, Farah as well as highlighted the unique usefulness of Dagger of Time in both combat and platforming.
During combat, the dagger is powered up by the Sand Tank and Power Tank which enables him to slow down time or freeze enemies respectively. Either way, this allows the Prince to attack the enemies swiftly while time stands still. The defeated Sand monsters crumble and replenish the Sand Tank meter which helps you prepare for the next battle. In terms of exploration, the dagger also comes in handy for platforming with the ability to rewind up to ten seconds in case players placed the wrong foot into crumbling walls or fall into death traps.
2. Katamari Damacy (2004)
In my opinion, Katamari Damacy on PS2 is one of the most bizarre games that I’ve ever played in my entire life. It’s not bizarre because the game has violent or disgusting elements but it definitely left an impact on me to this day.
The Japanese name of the game (Katamari Damashii) literally translates to “clump spirit” and the game involves you rolling the “katamari”, a magical ball that made any item smaller than its size to stick onto it. Every mission has a standard ball size that must be met under the allocated time. As the ball grows bigger and bigger, the completed “katamari” would be absorbed by the royal rainbow (which looks like Mario Kart’s rainbow road) and turns into stars and constellations above the Earth.
The size of the stars created adhered to the size of the katamari, so players had to roll carefully and choose the right materials to stick onto the ball in various environments. Otherwise, the ball would turn lopsided which would make it harder to roll it and slowed down the ball’s movement. On top of rolling into inanimate objects, you could also roll into humans and animals if you wish. *evil laughter*
3. Okami (2006)
Okami is a breathtakingly gorgeous game with stunning sumi-e paintings (black ink paintings which are normally seen in Japanese and Chinese calligraphy art). The ink paintings were beautifully visualised, complementing the cel-shaded style that was also prominently featured in video games such as Gravity Rush, The Legend of Zelda and Ni No Kuni series to name a few. To make it even better, players could unleash their artistic talents with the unique Celestial Brush that allows players to apply various brush techniques to combat, puzzles and exploration in this game.
The fusion of traditional and modern visual art styles worked hand-in-hand in carrying forward the narration that combined Japanese stories, myths and folklore. Players took control of sun goddess, Ameterasu, who appears in the form of white wolf and was bestowed the powers of the Celestial Brush by the Celestial Gods. With the Celestial Brush equipped, the unique gameplay drawn into effect as a canvas was pulled on screen, players used the Celestial Brush and the canvas to fend off enemies, fix bridges, create elemental effects and more. For example, players can draw a simple line to repair bridges or a circle to revive wilted plants.
Okami was originally released for PS2 in 2006 and it launched on the Wii three years later. In 2012, the game was included in PS3’s greatest hits list. The legend lives on in the HD remaster that was released December last year for PS4, Xbox One and PC with the 4K visual enhancement added along with the options to choose the widescreen 16:9 ratio or the original 4:3 aspect ratio.
By the way, Okami HD is coming to Nintendo Switch this summer, so get your joy-cons ready.
4. Portal (2007)
Portal is a video game that totally lives up to its name. This is not your typical puzzle-solving game, however. You play as the silent but badass protagonist, Chell. In this first-person puzzle-solving game, players created two interdimensional portals on two flat surfaces by using the “Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device" to advance into other puzzle levels under the careful supervision of the supercomputer, GLaDOS.
The device allowed you to create two different portals in two colours: orange and blue. Neither orange and blue portals were clear-cut exits or entrance. Through these portals, you can transport yourself or other objects such as cubes to open level exits. Other than transporting stationary cubes, players had to open portals for moving objects or laser bridges to progress into next puzzle levels.
One important aspect in this game’s unique gameplay is the physics mechanic known as momentum redirection. Let’s say you want to cross a huge chasm in front of Chell, you put an orange portal on the wall behind and you jump into a blue portal created on the floor which will propel her to land safely on the other side. Honestly, there are so many possible solutions to complete the puzzles. I love how GLaDOS neatly explains the portal navigational function: “In layman's terms: speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out.”
The originality of Portal’s gameplay continued to surprise players in its sequel, Portal 2, which featured both single-player and two-player cooperative campaigns. I had so much fun playing the co-op campaign with my friends, it also made me happy and confused at the same time while solving the puzzles.
5. Patapon (2007)
Who would’ve thought that rhythm and music could be implemented into a strategy game? The Patapon series is one of the shining stars of the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and in my opinion, one of the best rhythm games out there, alongside the PaRappa the Rapper series.
What made the game so unique compared to other rhythm games was how the Patapon army patiently awaited your command to move, attack and defend; you can even summon almighty hail and fire upon big bosses. There were various command buttons you discovered in the game such as ‘square, square, square, circle’ (Pata, Pata, Pata, Pon) to march forward, while ‘circle, circle, square, circle’ (Pon, Pon, Pata, Pon) was used to attack.
All you had to do was follow the rhythm of the drum and press the command buttons in sync with the tempo. That way, the army will understand your inputs and move accordingly. If the players were in total sync 10 times with the army, it led to the Patapon “FEVER!” which further enhanced the army’s attack and defense.
I remembered the fun and innovative musical gameplay of the first Patapon on PSP where you had to keep up with the changing beats and manage your best-suited soldiers for upcoming missions and at the same time, enjoy musical minigames. As my love for the Patapon series remains in my heart, my heart rate spiked up when I found out I finally had a chance to play it on the big screen. You can now play the game in a HD remaster that was released last August on PS4.