Sony’s third home console may not have been the enormous financial success that the initial two PlayStations were, but the PS3 was still a powerful beast, and by the end of that generation became home to some of the best video games ever made. The Wii reached a wider demographic and won that console generation running away, but the PlayStation 3 will still be the console that many remember fondly. With its wealth of exclusives and strong multi-platform titles, the console has a huge variety of games to choose from. However, the following are the best titles that have been released on the PS3.
10. Heavy Rain (2010)
Heavy Rain is one of the most unique experiences in the gaming industry. The game plays almost like a mystery film and is a great cinematic experience, where the story definitely takes precedence over the gameplay. Heavy Rain contains an intriguing plot, and while you would probably think that since the game revolves around a crime story with a surprise ending, that Heavy Rain has very little replay value, that simply isn’t true. The game actually has a number of unique endings in the game, 22 in all, which means you may want to play it more than once and try new things each time. The game has an long list of choices you can make throughout the game that offers the player significant freedom of choice. Whereas other plot-driven games offering choices that matter, such as Telltale’s Walking Dead series, actually just lead every gamer to the same ending and essentially offer only the illusion of choice, Heavy Rain allows you to make game-changing decisions, as players can even have main characters die and still proceed with the game.
9. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (2010)
Ni No Kuni was a surprisingly well-made JRPG, which draws inspiration from the great RPGs that preceded it, while also providing a gorgeous modern presentation. Ni No Kuni‘s battle system has obvious roots in Nintendo’s Pokemon series, as the game allows you to capture strange creatures (called Familiars) from around the game world and use them to fight in battle. Also, battles take place in real-time, somewhat similar to the “Tales” series of RPGs, forcing you to make quick decisions. This means players must be constantly creating a strategy instead of mindlessly tapping a button, as you might see in older turn-based RPGs. While Ni No Kuni’s gameplay and story are very strong, its biggest claim to fame is in its incredible art design. The graphics were produced by Studio Ghibli, a very famous animation company that has won an Academy Award (and been nominated for several others) for the animated film Spirited Away, and the result is the some of the best art ever seen in a video game.
8. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)
The first three titles of the Metal Gear Solid franchise were genre-defining masterpieces on the PlayStation and PS2. And while Metal Gear Solid 4 may not have the same nostalgia and legacy that those titles offer, it is a great game that continues the story begun by its predecessors, and is completely worthy of being a part of this beloved series of games. Metal Gear Solid 4 has an incredibly complex plot with a shocking payoff, as well as superior graphics that push the limits of the PS3 console’s hardware. The Metal Gear Solid series of games may not be for everyone, but they are spectacular games nonetheless, and the fourth entry is a worthy addition to this list.
7. God of War III (2010)
The God of War series has always been one with gorgeous cinematics, tight controls and wonderful mechanics, a tradition which continued with its third core game in the franchise. The series has always offered great “beat-em up” mechanics with some unique twists, and also pioneered the field of massive Quick-Time Events in their boss battles, all tied into a story featuring the entire pantheon of Greek mythology. The combat system is accessible and easy to pick up right away, but actually offers incredibly deep mechanics that more advanced players can toy around with to develop complex strategies. The defining feature of the entire series has always been the occasionally massive scale of its set pieces, and the third game is not different, as it is packed full of frightening monstrosities the size of skyscrapers. These impressive enemies are astounding to see and will blow away players every time they play this beautiful, and also incredibly brutal game.
6. BioShock (2008)
BioShock, a spiritual successor to the System Shock franchise (hence the name), was originally a Microsoft exclusive, but was ported to the PlayStation 3 a year later. BioShock was a tremendous loss for Microsoft, as it was one of the few exclusives that could rival the Sony lineup. The PS3 version offered several advantages, such as cutscene videos that were a much higher resolution than the DVD counterparts of the Xbox 360 version. Overall, BioShock is lauded as one of that generation’s best games and it lives up to the hype. In fact, all three titles are amazing in their own ways, but nothing will ever be able to awe gamers felt on their first time inside the city of Rapture from the original game. Containing the best story in the series, the original game narrowly edges out the other two entries to make this list. As another example of how popular it was, years later, PS3 copies of BioShock Infinite (the third and, so far, final game in the series) included a copy of the original BioShock with all physical copies of the game. Having the ability to get those two amazing games for the price of one may have been one of the best deals, in terms of quality, on the console.
5. LittleBigPlanet 2 (2011)
LittleBigPlanet 2 is the essential party game on the PlayStation 3, but is just as riveting while playing solo. Not only can players complete the levels that the game created for the campaign, they can also enjoy the game’s incredibly detailed level creation tool. As a result, LittleBigPlanet 2 is essentially two games in one, giving players the ability to endlessly occupy themselves creating fun levels, with a plethora of challenges. And for those not interested in the complexity of level design, players can ignore that side of the game entirely and focus on playing created levels or enjoying the hectic multiplayer fun. The original LittleBigPlanet was revolutionary and influential on its own, but its sequel dwarfs it by making massive improvements on its original design, which level creation tools that are more streamlined and intuitive.
4. Red Dead Redemption (2010)
By the time Red Dead Redemption made its way to consoles in May of 2010, developer Rockstar had already proven to be the king of open-world, sandbox-style games through their genre-changing Grand Theft Auto series. The open-world genre became so influential that many games began incorporating a sandbox style of play. As a result, Rockstar was forced to further elevate their game, and they did so beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, with an Old West setting that would become one of the generation’s most popular games. Red Dead Redemption replaces cars with horses and the streets of modern cities with the endless wilderness of the Southern US and Mexico, and offers some of the most best storytelling and character work in video games of that era, especially the protagonist, John Marston, a former outlaw seeking redemption for his life of ill repute. Many people have suggested that Red Dead Redemption is the best game Rockstar has ever made, and we’d be hard-pressed to disagree.
3. Batman: Arkham City (2011)
The original Arkham Asylum reinvigorated the Batman video game franchise and redefined what a licensed video game could offer. In terms of presentation and storyline relevant to the canon of its source material, the game is essentially unmatched. Arkham Asylum still maintains a special place in the hearts of many gamers, but by all measures, it was greatly surpassed by its sequel. Arkham City is a brilliant game that picks up several months after the original title, presenting a brand new Batman story to experience that will make fans of the Caped Crusader feel right at home. A huge cast of iconic Batman characters are voiced by stars from Batman: The Animated Series, such as Mark Hamill (The Joker) and Kevin Conroy (Batman), and they are all top-notch. Arkham City is a significantly larger game than Arkham Asylum, creating an open world environment that allows far more exploration than the contained areas of the original. In many ways, Arkham City is a huge improvement over its already excellent predecessor, and consequently, it’s one of the very best games on the PlayStation 3.
2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)
Developer Naughty Dog showcased as the Jak & Daxter series progressed that they were ready to tackle more mature themes, and that they would no longer be developing games solely aimed at kids. The Uncharted series on the PlayStation 3 marked a shift in tone for the powerhouse developer, featuring realistic graphics rather than the cartoon styles of Naughty Dog’s previous titles. The franchise is a tremendous cinematic tour de force, featuring some of the best graphics and soundtracks of the generation, combined with an incredible storyline. All three games in the series are strong games in their own right, but when discussing the very best of the bunch, the honor deservedly goes to Uncharted 2. The game tightened up the mechanics of the original and provided the best story of all three. From the opening scene, which features a train carriage hanging perilously on the edge of a mountain’s cliff, Uncharted 2 is an exhilarating thrill ride that never lets up.
1. The Last of Us (2013)
The Last of Us represents one of the most cinematic games of all-time and by far the best title on the PlayStation 3. The praises for developer Naughty Dog’s final game to appear on the console have been sung since its release, and for good reason, because The Last of Us is one of the best games ever made. Many games with such a huge reputation tend to be somewhat overrated, but The Last of Us is the real deal, and a truly special game. The game never ceases to amaze, gripping players with its emotional, well-told story right up the very end, with a controversial ending that has spawned hours of discussion. In our opinion, the ending does feel somewhat unresolved, but that is not nearly enough of a negative to detract from flawless gameplay, as well as a strong story that involves complex emotional attachments to the characters. Regardless of how you experience The Last of Us, either in its original PS3 version or the excellent PS4 remaster, just make sure you give it a shot if you have the chance, because incredible games like this don’t come along every day.