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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.