228 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

It’s been a fun seven or eight years, but the Playstation 3 is finally nearing the end of its life. Sony has stated that they’ll be dropping support for the console after next year, and the bulk of new releases for Sony consoles are squarely focused on the Playstation 4.

The Playstation 3 had something of a shaky launch, with stock problems and some technical issues. However, with some stunning exclusive releases and the hugely successful Playstation Plus subscription service, the Playstation 3 has gone on to be a beloved home console.

Together with the Xbox 360, the last gaming generation has been the longest ever, and it’s played host to some huge advances in the industry. From online gaming to motion control gimmickry, it’s been a good time to be a gamer.

In celebration of the life of one of gaming’s greatest consoles, here’s the 20 greatest ever Playstation 3 games. These are the releases that were either best played on the PS3, or exclusives that were reason enough to buy the console. There’ll also be a top 20 hitting What Culture next week for Xbox 360 games, so don’t worry too much if some of your multiplatform favourites aren’t featured here!

20. Super Street Fighter IV

229 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

Originally released in 2008, Street Fighter IV was the first numbered release in the series in almost a decade. Considering the game had ten years of hype and a huge, dedicated fighting community anticipating its release, there was a lot resting on the shoulders of Street Fighter IV.

Fortunately for fighting fans, Street Fighter IV was a hit, both commercially and critically. With a tight combat system and beautiful cel-shaded graphics, the game was a truly worthy entry in the series.

Numerous updated versions of the games have been released for the game, with Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition coming out in 2010, and Ultra Street Fighter IV arriving just last month. It’s Super Street Fighter IV that was the most noteworthy though, featuring numerous improvements such as ten additional fighters and the Ultra Combo system.

19. LittleBigPlanet 2

230 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

LittleBigPlanet was a surprise hit for the Playstation 3, with its focus on user-generated content proving popular with gamers young and old. Its sequel, LittleBigPlanet 2, took what made the first game great, and improved just about everything.

It was in LittleBigPlanet 2′s online functionality that the game really shone. The level creation tools were simple to use yet deceptively powerful, and there were some incredible player-made content to be found.

Most of all, LittleBigPlanet 2 was about having fun with others. Local co-op was also a big part of the game, something that we could have seen a little more of in the last generation. Little Big Planet 2 was witty, beautiful and imaginative, and there’s no telling what its sequel will be able to do with the Playstation 4′s hardware.

18. FIFA 14

231 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

If you’re a football lover, then you need at least one FIFA game in your collection. If you’re a video game lover, then you still need at least one FIFA game in your collection. While the Pro Evolution Soccer series was once the football fan’s series of choice, last generation saw the FIFA series snatching the crown.

One of the most highly polished game series of all time, the FIFA series has gone from strength to strength with almost every consecutive entry. Despite criticisms aimed towards the yearly releases tending to feature somewhat insignificant improvements, the games are incredibly easy to pick up and insanely difficult to put down.

FIFA 14 was a great entry in the series, although you could just about switch it out with any other FIFA release of the last few years. A solid engine, great graphics and strong licensing make FIFA 14 the best way to play football without having to venture outside.

17. Rock Band 2

232 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

Guitar Hero may have introduced musical instrument rhythm games to our living rooms, but the Rock Band series perfected it. Rock Band allowed up to four players to ‘perform’ at once, with lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals.

Rock Band 2 was the culmination of the genre, with improved drum and guitar controllers, 104 songs that came with the game, and a vast, online musical library of over 1400 more. It was the ultimate party game, and contained something for just about anyone.

Unfortunately, despite its popularity only a few years ago, the music rhythm genre appears all but dead at the moment. Here’s hoping we’ll see a return to this fun style of game though, at some point the Playstation 4 and Xbox One’s lifespan.

16. Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch

233 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

One of the later RPGs for the system, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was only released early last year in the West. A collaboration between developers Level-5 and legendary animation geniuses Studio Ghibli, Ni No Kuni was a fun role-playing game that somehow managed to capture what makes Ghibli’s films so magical.

In many ways, Ni No Kuni was very atypical of modern RPGs, or any other genre for that matter. The main character is a cheerful, thirteen-year-old boy. Enemies are often adorable and tongue in cheek, while the world is at once quaint and fantastical.

Ni No Kuni is a game that simply cannot be missed by any self-respecting RPG fans, and it’s well worth dusting off your Playstation 3 to give it a go. While it might not have been revolutionary from a gameplay perspective, Ni No Kuni’s charm more than makes up for it.

15. Rayman Legends

234 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

Platforming is not dead yet. While the genre isn’t (and probably never will be) as insanely popular and profitable as over a decade ago, Rayman Legends proves that platforming still has a whole lot to offer to gamers.

With its stunning 2D graphics, a screen grab of almost any part of the game wouldn’t look out of place in an art museum. The level design is also masterful, and the entirety of Rayman Legends is a high-speed, deadly gauntlet through beautiful, twisting environments filled with hilarious enemies.

Rayman Legends is most certainly not ‘just for kids’, and many of the game’s levels and challenges are enough to make even the most hardened Dark Souls fan break a sweat. Not just the best 2D platformer for the Playstation 3, Rayman Legends is a noteworthy entry in a genre that spans over thirty years.

14. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

235 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

As one of the poster boys for Sony’s console, Nathan Drake had a huge amount of success on the Playstation 3. The first Uncharted game was a fun adventure that showed off the PS3′s capabilities, while Uncharted 2 redefined how to make a cinematic video game.

Because of the critical acclaim and commercial success that Uncharted 2 was met with, there were a lot of expectations for the third game in the series. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception didn’t quite hit the headiest heights of the second game and it was a bit short, but that’s not to say it isn’t one of the best adventure games ever released.

With its globe-trotting story and some of the best graphics of any game on the console, Uncharted 3 was a compelling romp to find a lost city, the Iram of the Pillars. Packed with action and spectacle, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will have a lot to live up to when it releases next year.

13. The Walking Dead

236 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

Who’d have thought that many people’s game of the year in 2012 would be an interactive graphic adventure by Telltale Games? The Walking Dead: Season One was an incredible accomplishment, and possibly the greatest thing to come from the zombie franchise outside of the comics.

The Walking Dead’s best trick was making us care about the various cel-shaded characters depicted throughout its shifting narrative. In particular, the relationship between Lee and Clementine is one of gaming’s finest. It was also filled with tough decisions that outdid even games like the Mass Effect series.

Deftly switching between disturbing, uplifting and depressing, the story weaved together in Telltale’s The Walking Dead is unforgettable. The second season is now well underway, with positive results, although only time will tell whether its final moments will match the emotional climax of the first.

12. Heavy Rain

237 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

Heavy Rain was a game that divided players and critics. To many it was too lacking in the gameplay department to be considered a great game, while others consider Heavy Rain to be a cinematic accomplishment that is the closest anyone has come to making a playable movie.

Set in an eternally dreary city with a remarkable resemblance to Philadelphia, Heavy Rain takes as many cues from the cinematic greats as it does from other video games. Influenced by the works of M. Night Shyamalan and David Fincher, Heavy Rain’s story and setting was memorable, moving, and totally unforgettable.

Heavy Rain’s greatest strength was in how the game would proceed regardless of the player’s actions. For example, if Madison were murdered by a psychopath, that’s it, she’s dead forever. Director David Cage even stated that he hoped people would only play through the game once, without any reloads, because “that’s life”.

11. Portal 2

238 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

The first Portal game was the biggest surprise success of last decade. Its witty, immersive narrative and ground-breaking, physics-based gameplay struck a chord with gamers everywhere. In 2011, it spawned its own fully fledged sequel, in the form of Portal 2.

Portal 2 brought a more fleshed out plot to the series, introducing characters like Wheatley and Cave Johnson that have since gained a cult following thanks to the excellent writing and perfect voice acting. While the gameplay and puzzles themselves weren’t quite as tight and expertly crafted as the original game, Portal 2 was still a highly enjoyable adventure through the inner bowels of the Aperture Science complex.

The co-operative modes were also a welcome addition, allowing players to work together to solve some fiendishly difficult testing rooms. Portal 2 was crammed with content, and offered one of the best, funniest single player campaigns on the Playstation 3.

10. Infamous 2

239 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

One of the best exclusive franchises for the Playstation 3, the Infamous games are more than just Grand Theft Auto: Superpowers Edition. Taking place in an alternate 2009, Infamous 2 sees Cole MacGrath continuing his journey as a powerful superhero or supervillain.

While the morality system could be a bit clunky, Infamous 2′s strengths lay in its incredibly fun gameplay and exploration through a busy, vibrant city. The game really made players feel like a superhuman traversing a world filled with normal people, much like Superman 2 did on the Playstation 2.

Infamous 2 also featured the ability to create and play user-generated content, establishing an impressively dedicated community that was creative enough to be worth the asking price alone.  This, combined with the amazing set-pieces, unforgettable boss fights and fun power mechanics made Infamous 2 one of the greatest superhero games ever made.

9. Grand Theft Auto IV

240 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

Grand Theft Auto IV was a brave new direction for the series, with a far grittier narrative and setting than its predecessors. Putting players in the shoes of Eastern European immigrant Niko Bellic, Grand Theft Auto IV might not have contained as much wacky fun as San Andreas, but it was an epic tale of crime, loyalty, and betrayal.

A hugely ambitious undertaking, Grand Theft Auto IV’s world was almost unprecedented in its depth, realism and density. The gunplay was also a lot less fiddly than previous entries, although fans were split regarding the choice to reign down the arcadey feel of the driving that had been seen in previous entries.

The dark horse of the Grand Theft Auto series, GTA IV was a brilliant work of cultural satire, filled to the brim with memorable characters and scenes. While some resented the game for not featuring the same silliness that had traditionally marked the series, Grand Theft Auto IV was a landmark title, and a stand-out of the open-world genre.

8. God Of War III

241 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

7. Journey

242 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

About as far from a God of War game as you can get, Journey is a meditative title that offered a unique experience, unlike anything that has been released before or since. The basic premise entails the player travelling towards a distant mountain across a vast desert, with only the ability to move, jump, and briefly float.

Along the way, the player also encounters other characters that similarly jump and float around, with the only communication being a series of chimes. Without spoiling anything, Journey’s inimitable adventure explores a wide range of emotions, and its bittersweet end will leave you in a flurry of elation and sadness.

Journey might only take around two hours to complete from start to finish, but every single moment of it is an absolute joy to play through. A strong argument for video games being art, Journey is a masterpiece that will stick in your mind for years after playing.

6. Batman: Arkham City

243 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

Batman: Arkham Asylum surprised everyone, thanks to its clever interpretation of the Batman mythos, as well as intelligent gameplay that really made players feel like the caped crusader himself. Batman: Arkham City took the first game’s concept and expanded on it in every way, this time granting players access to a far larger and more open environment.

Upon the announcement that Arkham City would be set in a large open world, many were worried that it would lose the narrative focus that was so celebrated in Arkham Asylum. Fortunately, these fears were unfounded, and Arkham City was able to weave a darkly entertaining tale even managed to surpass the original game.

Vastly improved boss fights, the enjoyable traversal of the open world, and a polished combat system all combined to make Arkham City possibly the greatest Batman game ever made. Arkham Origins might have been a tremendous disappointment in comparison, but there’s no doubting that Rocksteady’s Arkham series was a huge step in the right direction for licensed superhero games.

5. Demon’s Souls

244 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

Dark Souls might be the big thing right now, but before it came Demon’s Souls, an exclusive release for the Playstation 3. Although the game is set in self-contained levels rather than Dark Souls’ open world, the gameplay and mechanics are very similar to its spiritual successor.

Demon’s Souls is also brutally difficult, arguably more so than the series that came after it. Upon death, rather than simply returning to a nearby bonfire, the entire level (and all your progress in it) is completely reset. Clearly not a game designed to be enjoyed by everyone, Demon’s Souls appeals to those looking for a challenge, and greatly rewards those with the patience and skill to succeed.

The aesthetics of Demon’s Souls were also acclaimed, with its imposing, dark fantasy world filled with twisted creatures to slay. Regardless of how many times you’ve played through Dark Souls 1 and 2, it’s well worth your time to go back and experience the game that started it all.

4. Grand Theft Auto V

245 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

One of the latest releases on the Playstation 3 is also one of the best. Grand Theft Auto V is an absolute masterpiece that somehow managed to live up to people’s expectations for the most highly anticipated entry in Rockstar’s crime series.

Returning to San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto V allows players to control three different characters, and it’s possible to switch between them on the fly. This was a genius move from Rockstar, as it meant that players could truly make full use of the massive open world around them. Trevor was able to be left running around causing mayhem in the streets, while Michael provided covering fire from above and Franklin prepared an escape vehicle.

The story, while not quite as enthralling as the tight narrative from Grand Theft Auto IV, saw a return to the crazy humour and antics of the first few games, and the whole game had a much more comical vibe to it. Grand Theft Auto Online was disappointing, but the single player component made Grand Theft Auto V the best entry in the series so far.

3. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots

246 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

The Metal Gear Solid series is as compellingly epic as it is impenetrable for newcomers, at once deadly serious while featuring some of the most bizarre humour in gaming. A franchise that baffles as much as it amazes, Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid games have garnered a colossal cult following ever since the Playstation One era.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots continues the series’ tradition of a sprawling, convoluted narrative and overblown action sequences. And it’s absolutely bloody marvellous. Concluding the story of Solid Snake and the Patriots, Metal Gear Solid 4 is a work of art that could only ever come from the mind of Hideo Kojima.

Metal Gear Solid 4 featured some of the finest stealth and action combat from the series, and graphics that still look great even today. Above all though, Guns of the Patriots was able to provide a satisfying conclusion for the beloved character of Solid Snake, in a package that was fun, challenging, and totally absorbing.

2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

247 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves absolutely took the gaming world by storm upon its release in 2009. A tour de force of incredible aesthetics, smooth gameplay and undeniably cinematic storytelling, Uncharted 2 somehow made the first game in the series look like the work of an amateur in comparison.

Nathan Drake’s second outing was the absolute definition of entertaining, and packed full of extraordinary moments. Who could forget racing through a hotel while it crumbles and smashes to the ground? Or the opening moments after waking up in a train that’s dangling off a cliffside?

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves might not be the most nuanced or revolutionary entry on this list, but it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable. Rivalling most Hollywood blockbusters in its looks, writing and story, Uncharted 2 offers one of the best single-player experiences of any game, ever.

1. The Last Of Us

248 20 Best PlayStation 3 Games

Proving that Naughty Dog are the kings of cinematic, single-player gaming, The Last of Us is the developer’s third entry in this list. It’s tough to place this relatively new IP over the classic Uncharted 2, as both games are about equal in terms of entertainment. The Last of Us just about wins out though, thanks to its unrivalled ability to emotionally involve just about everyone that ever played it.

Set in a post-apocalyptic United States that’s been torn apart by a devastating infectious disease, the player (mainly) takes control of Joel, as he escorts the young Ellie through the dangerous environment. At once terrifying and heart-warming, The Last of Us evokes imagery from such literary classics as I Am Legend and The Road, across its gripping, twist-filled narrative.

The Last of Us spends a lot of play time drawing players in and getting them emotionally invested into the relationship between Ellie and Joel, making the resulting payoffs far more climactic and effective. Naughty Dog’s action-adventure survival horror is a love letter to one of gaming’s greatest generations, and more than deserving of the greatest Playstation 3 game title.

221 6 Video Games That Take More Brainpower Than Chess

People who say that video games will rot your brain are full of themselves. Video games have come a long way from a dot bouncing between two lines. While being good at games like Chess has long been the symbol of intelligence, there are new games that deserve just as much respect. The gaming industry has come up with games involving management of so many details and strategies that they put Chess to shame.

There’s a good reason Chess has been around for so many centuries. It’s a solidly built game that takes a sophisticated level of strategy and creative thinking to master. Even though the standard game of Chess has 32 pieces with only six different types, the possibilities for each and every game are limitless. But even a game like this can’t keep up with the advances in computing and game design theory that have emerged in the last few decades. There’s an immeasurable amount of depth and options available in modern games that would have stupefied the creators of Chess.

The game of kings will always have its place, but the future of intellectually-challenging games lies on consoles and home computers.

6. Total War: Shogun 2

222 6 Video Games That Take More Brainpower Than Chess

Total War: Shogun 2 brings the Total War franchise back to Japan. The games in the Total War series are unique in that they mix together turn-based and real-time strategy gameplay. The turn-based mechanics come from the player acting as the leader of any of the many playable clans. The real-time aspects of the game are explored when the player takes the role of the general of the military. As the general you will be leading combat units into battle to fight against your enemies.

While the military is a huge focus in the game (it has “war” in the title, after all), there are factors in victory that don’t involve any fighting at all. Diplomacy and subterfuge are powerful tools in this game. The player can gain advantages through political means. However, one must also keep an eye on their own suffering from nonviolent means. Trading with foreigners will improve the player’s economy, but it is also likely to bring trouble. Coming into contact with these foreigners opens up your population to Christianity, which can increase religious unrest.

This game is all about building an empire and conquering your enemies. Your tools are your soldiers, your economy and your ability to plan ahead while simultaneously adapting to constantly changing situations. Not just anyone can rule Japan. Can you?

5. XCOM: Enemy Within

223 6 Video Games That Take More Brainpower Than Chess

The updated version of the classic XCOM games is one of the most critically acclaimed titles of the last few years. This turn based strategy has been the gateway drug to strategy games for many people who weren’t around to enjoy the original games back in the 90s. In this game you play as the commander of XCOM (Extraterrestrial Combat Unit), a paramilitary organisation tasked with dealing with the alien threat. The council that runs the program gives you authority to raise a fighting force, research alien technology and provide protective satellite coverage to member countries.

The game breaks down into two major modes. The bulk of the game comes from the ground combat. You can take up to six soldier units to fight a variety of enemies.There are four basic classes of soldier and each of them has a tree of customisable perks and abilities. In addition to this, you can either genetically modify your soldiers or augment them with a mech suit, adding additional layers of strategic customisation.

When you’re not on the battlefield, you’re at your headquarters managing the global situation. You have to decide which technologies are most important for the success of your mission and which facilities need to be built in your base to support your needs. You also have to build and maintain a fleet of interceptors to shoot down alien ships and prevent them from destroying your satellites. And while all that is going on you need to keep an eye on global panic levels and what you can do to reduce them. If a country’s panic level becomes too high, then they will withdraw from the program and will cease funding. Keeping a country from pulling support involves making a series of difficult decisions where you have to weigh the various risks to your own soldiers and your relationship with other countries against the threat of losing a member nation. You are the only one who can stop the alien threat.

4. Starcraft II

224 6 Video Games That Take More Brainpower Than Chess

Starcraft II is one of the pillars of the global professional gaming scene. The game has sold over six million copies and is known for its enormous tournaments. There’s good reason that people pay so much attention to this game.

The goal of Starcraft II is to collect resources and raise an army powerful enough to either force your opponent to surrender or to obliterate them completely. Like most games on this list, Starcraft II is just as much about managing your economy and resources as it is ordering around your combat units. You start the game with nothing but a home base and a few workers and have to build up a massive force of dozens and even hundreds of units working on the war effort. Keep in mind that this is a real time strategy, meaning that you will have to keep a running tally of every situation going on throughout the entire map while anticipating your future needs.

If you want to win, you have to start playing before the game even begins. Each map has its own advantages and disadvantages to certain styles of play and have their own strategic points of interest. A chessboard never changes, so becoming familiar with it takes hardly any effort. Starcraft II players need to be intimately familiar with several maps in order to make the most out of their match.

You play as any of the game’s three races, Terran, Protoss and Zerg. Choosing which race to play as is a critical decision, as they are all unique and come with their own units suited specifically for different situations and play-styles. You have to come up with ways to make these units work together in ways that will dominate the competition.

3. Xenonauts

225 6 Video Games That Take More Brainpower Than Chess

While XCOM: Enemy Within is a great modern update to the original games, a lot of the deeper mechanics were lost. Compared to the original XCOM games, there is a lot less on your plate in terms of base management, customisations and overall scope. The recently released Xenonauts is a love letter to the franchise that keeps the depth of the originals.

To put it simply, Xenonauts allows you much more freedom to fine tune the way you combat the alien threat. Think of it as XCOM: Enemy Within on steroids. Instead of being limited to only one base, you have the ability to build multiple bases across the globe. Once the new base is constructed, it still needs work. You decide how much space will be dedicated to different facilities including laboratories, living quarters and satellite arrays.

There are several types of customisable aircraft specialising in different types of aerial combat. You can even customise the dropships used to transport your soldiers to and from the crash sites. This is much more robust compared to XCOM: Enemy Within, where the dog-fighting boils down to building the second type of aircraft and giving it the best weapon.

By putting more decisions at the discretion of the player, it increases the amount of information the player has to keep track of. XCOM: Enemy Within made this more manageable by making a lot of the decisions somewhat autopilot. You would pick a research project, forget about it and come back in a few days to pick a new one. In Xenonauts, you can now work on multiple projects and allocate your scientific staff however you see fit. In this game, you have to constantly keep an eye on this information and update your strategy and priorities on the fly as new events occur. If you want the human race to survive you need to outsmart the alien menace.

2. Democracy 3

226 6 Video Games That Take More Brainpower Than Chess

Leading a country can’t be that hard, can it? According to Homer Simpson all you have to do is “point the army and shoot”! Well, it turns out that it’s a lot more complicated than the fat, bald cartoon character suggested. Democracy 3 is a political simulator in which you run a country and attempt to be re-elected. You can run the country any way you like, from turning it into an educated utopia to a polluted crime-infested hellhole. But the latter might not get you the Latino vote.

Part of the fun to playing Democracy 3 is molding the country into your own vision. But to do this you need to be strategic in your decisions in order to keep the loyalty of not only your citizens but also your cabinet members. Not keeping your promises can make the country’s voters cynical and less likely to support you. You won’t get very far if you don’t have the help of your cabinet either. You have to figure out the best way to get voters on your side through policies in tax, economy, welfare, foreign policy, transport, law and order and public services. The game does a great job of portraying the complexity of making decisions on these issues.

There are a number of overlapping voter groups that you need to keep track of. Whichever ones you prioritise is up to you, but you always have to keep them in mind when making decisions. What might make environmentalists happy may make the conservatives less likely to vote for you. And don’t forget that decisions you make for one issue will impact others. Higher education means lower crime. Introducing tobacco taxes improves public health. It’s a complex network of decisions that are all connected. If you ever want to know what it feels like to run a country, then this game is for you.

1. Civilization V

227 6 Video Games That Take More Brainpower Than Chess

Sid Meier is the master of the 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) style of strategy games and Civilization V is his most recent masterpiece. In this game you play as the leader of a civilization that starts from a single city in the days before even agriculture and archery were invented. Then you grow your empire into a global force capable of building space colonies and giant death robots. This game involves a lot more than just conquering your enemy. To win you have to keep a healthy economy, make your citizens happy and manage relationships with other countries. You play against several other leaders in the game, all of whom have distinct strategies for making their own empire thrive.

There are five ways to win in Civilization V. Winning through domination involves conquering the original capital city of every other country. The science victory is awarded when a country successfully launches into space and creates a colony. The cultural method is done through influencing the culture of all other nations and building a utopia through social policies. The diplomatic victory condition comes from earning enough allies to be voted the world leader in the United Nations. And finally, one can win by having the most points by a certain date.

Any of these victories takes several hours of planning and cooperation with other nations. The player can make alliances with other countries, but these can lead to tensions with other nations and even open the player up to being double-crossed. It’s not easy ruling the world. It takes a brilliant mind.