Even if you haven’t heard of developer PlatinumGames, you’ve surely heard about their releases throughout the years. PlatinumGames is a powerhouse developer team founded by Shinji Mikami, Atsushi Inaba, and Hideki Kamiya, whose combined producer, and director credits include Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright, Viewtiful Joe, Okami, the list goes on and on. The trio share a philosophy of always trying to innovate when making new games, and it shows in the games they’ve developed as PlatinumGames.
As a video game developer team, PlatinumGames often worked on intellectual property created by other parties: they’ve made games in partnerships with SEGA, Nintendo, and even Hideo Kojima. While their licensed works are stellar and retain all the charm and character of a PlatinumGames-developed game, it’s in their original IPs that the spirit of PlatinumGames truly shines, and just last month they teased Project G.G., a new, 100% percent original IP that fans can’t wait to hear more about.
In celebration of PlatinumGames recent announcement, and while waiting for more teasers, here are five of their best and most unique games that you can play now.
If you’ve ever played a Bayonetta game and thought of it as a spiritual spinoff to Devil May Cry, you’re absolutely right. Hideki Kamiya, the director of the original Devil May Cry, created Bayonetta after he was excluded from the development of the Devil May Cry sequels (which were helmed by Capcom’s Hideaki Itsuno), and many of Bayonetta’s themes and combat features borrow heavily from Kamiya’s original vision of Devil May Cry.
In Bayonetta, you play as the titular character as you traverse grand, gothic-style stages finding new weapons and upgrades and taking down hordes of creepy-yet-cool enemies. Gameplay is a frantic mix of melee and long-range combat, with an emphasis on performing stylish combos just like in Devil May Cry. The more weapons and techniques you have at your disposal, the more creatively you can drain the life gauges of the stone-faced, gold-winged angels that seemingly never stop going after you.
The Bayonetta franchise just oozes with style, and its titular protagonist would give even Dante a run for his money. If you love the DMC games’ signature slash-and-shoot gameplay, horror-themed stage design, and whimsical sense of humor, you’ll love Bayonetta. And if you’re already familiar with her bleeding cool fighting style in Super Smash Bros., you can bet that the original game’s got more where that came from.
As we’ve previously covered on Playback, Vanquish is now playable on the PS4 through its 10th Anniversary Remaster, which is bundled with none other than Bayonetta. If you’ve never heard of Vanquish, it’s because despite critical praise and great reviews, the game never quite got the attention it deserved due to it being a shooter game released at a time when shooter games all played like Call of Duty clones.
Vanquish is different from most shooter games because it’s a third-person shooter, and its developer being PlatinumGames means that it can’t just be any run-of-the-mill shooter. Aside from the running and gunning action, Vanquish features bullet hell-style stages, over-the-top boss sequences, and a bullet time system that allows you to slow down time to avoid getting hit and to shoot down fast-moving robots before they can get away.
If you’ve ever wanted to kick a robot into oblivion while being boosted by turbo jets attached to your super soldier armor, Vanquish can fulfill that fantasy for you. Take my word for it, Vanquish is no ordinary shooter.
Transformers video games have a bad rap, because most of the latest Transformers games feel like underwhelming tie-ins to the underwhelming Michael Bay movies, despite a lot of them being based on source material rather than the movies. That said, you can count on PlatinumGames to disrupt this streak of edgy and mediocre Bumblebees and Optimus Primes, doing just that with Transformers: Devastation.
Transformers: Devastation is both a sweet throwback to the classic Transformers cartoons, as well as a refreshing update to Transformers video games. Instead of simply being a third-person shooter where your Transformer of choice is either shooting down enemies or chasing after them in vehicle form, Devastation offers a fun melee combat experience that once again borrows from the Devil May Cry and Bayonetta games.
With a variety of weapons to choose from, as well as a combat system that fully capitalizes on your character’s ability to transform, Devastation offers a Transformers game experience like no other. It’s part mech-battle game, part Twisted Metal, and part action-platformer, and it’s the one Transformers game whose over-the-top gameplay lives up to the larger-than-life nature of its titular characters.
We’ve spent a lot of time throughout the years playing as Solid Snake and Big Boss, and we’ve taken care of a lot of difficult bosses with some tranq guns, chaff grenades, and strategically placed explosives. The Metal Gear franchise’s signature stealth and shooting gameplay system is well-loved by many, and it’s what the franchise will be remembered for in the decades to come; but what if you had a sword? And what if you played as a cybernetically enhanced Raiden? This is the question Hideo Kojima brought to PlatinumGames, and their answer was Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
MGR: Revengeance is the hack-and-slash spinoff that Hideo Kojima had always wanted to make with his team at Konami, but due to the game being focused mainly on swordplay and fast-paced action instead of stealth and shooting, its original development team couldn’t get it done. After several delays and the game almost getting cancelled, Kojima took the risk of having PlatinumGames develop MGR instead, and it resulted in one of the most underrated Metal Gear games ever made.
In MGR: Revengeance, you play as Raiden as you uncover military secrets all over the world, slashing your way through any robots and other cybernetically enhanced soldiers that block your path. Gameplay is fast-paced, and Raiden’s cyborg body allows the player to move and attack with great speed and enhanced range. There are even quick-time events where time slows down and the player can freely cut an enemy to pieces while Raiden coolly floats in mid-air.
If you’re tired of crawling into cardboard boxes and CQC-ing enemies into submission, Revengeance is a fun change of pace to the Metal Gear series. It’s the Metal Gear game in which the weapon that’ll finally surpass Metal Gear, is actually you.
No matter how many times I recommend NieR: Automata to friends, explaining the entire game in just a few sentences never gets easier. It’s characteristic of a masterpiece such as NieR: Automata to be hard to describe, as all masterpieces can be written about in volumes but can never be fully understood unless experienced firsthand.
NieR: Automata is one of PlatinumGames’ greatest triumphs, and its eclectic mix of varying modes of gameplay, integration of bullet hell elements, and stunning visuals could only have been achieved by a team whose previous works are as varied and well-made as PlatinumGames’. It’s a masterclass in game design, showing how one story can be told in varying forms; NieR: Automata seamlessly combines several video game genres in order to fully flesh out the shared journey of 2B, 9S, and A2.
Briefly put, NieR: Automata is a harmonious mix of everything good about video games. One minute you’re piloting a mech and shooting down a ship-sized boss, and the next you’re hacking into a tiny robot’s circuitry through a Galaga-style minigame. In the 40 to 60 hours you’ll spend finishing NieR: Automata, new features continue to become available to you, and even in the game’s last minutes you’ll find yourself in awe at just how well the game transcends form, going so far as to go meta in the game’s “true” ending (for which a spoiler would just be unforgivable).
NieR: Automata is a near-perfect game (or should I say, NieR: Perfect game…) that could have only been the result of PlatinumGames’ experience and skill combined with Yoko Taro’s poignant and deeply human writing. It is the PlatinumGames game.
Nowadays that video game production costs are higher than ever, it’s rare for developers to take risks as big and as frequently as PlatinumGames have, but it’s their penchant for innovation and pushing boundaries that led them to create their many unique and well-loved games. It’s something we ought to appreciate.
We’ll be posting updates on PlatinumGames’ latest IP as soon as new details come out, but in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy these games.
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