Game Picks: Uncharted remasters, Rock Band 4, Prison Architect and more

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

A screenshot from Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection. PHOTO: SONY

Why didn't Sony build backwards compatibility into the PlayStation 4, allowing you to play PS3 games on the new machine? Cynics will say it was so that the platform holder can sell you old games again, as remastered editions that run smoother and at a higher resolution.

Joining the likes of God Of War III and The Last Of Us comes the entire Uncharted series, revived as a collection. The good news is that the three Uncharted games, which are among the PS3's most critically-acclaimed, have never looked or played better.

Think of the collection as spiritual successors to the rollicking adventures of the Indiana Jones movies. Protagonist Nathan Drake attempts to make quips, shoots bad guys and climbs to safety (Be warned: Expect half of the objects which Drake lands on to collapse dramatically) all while he hunts for treasure and lost cities in South America, the Himalayas and the Arabian desert.

If you've played it all before, you may be better off waiting for the fourth instalment, which is due for release in March next year. But if you've never laid hands on an Uncharted game, it's worth giving this latest collection a shot this weekend.

Available on: PlayStation 4

Rock Band 4

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It wasn't that long ago when rhythm-game series Guitar Hero and Rock Band were all the rage. In 2008, three years after Guitar Hero made its debut, music games represented 16 per cent of all software sales. Yet in 2010, both franchises were shelved after too many releases left players burnt out.

This weekend, prepare to sweep the dust off your plastic guitars and drum-set controllers. Both Guitar Hero and Rock Band will see new entries this month, with Rock Band 4 coming out earlier this week. Harmonix and Activision are banking on a half-decade break to get people strumming and drumming in front of their TVs again.

Don't expect radical changes in Rock Band though. Given its compatibility with old peripherals and downloaded songs, the game is pitching itself as more of a one-stop music game platform for a whole new console audience.

If you already know how Rock Band plays, this is an easy recommendation and a great chance to get back into rhythm games - if you can spare the money and the space.

Available on: Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Mega Man Legends

While you can watch a movie from decades past with a few clicks or easily read a book from a century ago, the same can't quite be said for video games. As consoles break and TV standards move on, gamers can only rely on studios to ressurect older games on newer machines.

The digital re-release this week of Mega Man Legends, first released for the first PlayStation in 1998, is therefore a significant victory for game preservation. Its absence from the PlayStation Network, where PS1 games are re-released to play on the PS3 and Vita, has long been the subject of speculation. Fans had wondered why this beloved classic stayed missing while many others found their way to the service.

Surprisingly, the game is still good. Mega Man's quest to fix his airship and leave Kattlelox Island, helping its inhabitants along the way, is suffused with a charm that makes it worth playing, even 17 years later.

Available on: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita

Prison Architect

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In the 90s, PC gamers could run hospitals, amusement parks and even dungeons - virtually that is. You would protect your property from heroes keen on claiming your treasures for their own.

Introversion Software's Prison Architect is very much in the mould of those classics. The title says it all - you build and run a prison, with your responsibilities ranging from building cells and facilities to keeping the inmates happy and content. There's even the option to see things from the other side in an escape mode, in which you're tasked to break out of the prison you just painstakingly constructed.

The cartoony art style belies a robust simulation in which things can go horribly wrong. Prisoners riot if they don't get food, attempt escape and smuggle contraband in any way they can - all problems you'll have to solve.

Prison Architect's also notable for the way it was released. It spent three years in Steam's Early Access programme - where users can buy games that are still in development and play these unfinished versions, which are updated periodically - and racked up more than US$19 million (S$26.7 million) in sales before the full version came out this week.

Available on: PC

The writer is a digital sub-editor at The Straits Times and an avid gamer on all platforms. He won an ST newsroom PES 2015 tournament in what was the undisputed highlight of his (gaming) career so far.

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