It seemed like just yesterday that Sony pulled the curtain back on the sleek, jet-black box known as the PlayStation 3, but in reality, the console has been out for nearly a decade. There have been more than 800 titles released for the platform in the time since. While the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One may be garnering all the limelight with games such as Evolve and the forthcoming Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, there are still still a slew of AAA and indie titles to come before Sony officially hammers the final nail into the PS3’s coffin. However, with so many games to choose from, we know it can be hard to choose your next purchase. There’s a laundry list of fantastic titles available for the console, from The Last of Us to Grand Theft Auto V, many of which you can purchase new at budget-friendly prices or pick up secondhand from some dude on Craigslist.
Below are 15 of our favorite titles for PS3, in no particular order, whether you’re looking for a standalone masterpiece or a highlight from a blockbuster franchise.
‘The Last of Us’
Despite an uneven combat system and a lack of multiplayer content, Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us came away as one of the most alluring console titles of any generation. Its fantastic visual design, rich voice acting, and choice-based gameplay blend together in support of incredible, mature storytelling. The compelling relationship between Joel and Ellie as they fend for themselves in a post-apocalyptic United States is memorable to say the least — so much so the game was quickly remastered for the PlayStation 4. It’s truly a cinematic masterpiece.
Bungie’s post-Halo project, Destiny, is a lot of things. It’s a first-person shooter at its core, sure, but it’s also heavily infused with the character progression and customization of the modern MMORPG. You are a Guardian, humanity’s last hope, scouring a picturesque solar system for nasty aliens and guns with which to shoot them. The lackluster story is forgettable and the missions are repetitive at times, but after a decade of Halo games, Bungie has honed gunplay mechanics down to their satisfying core, and with each new DLC expansion, Destiny‘s endgame gets richer and richer .
The latest installment of Grand Theft Auto is a benchmark in terms of open-world design and narrative. The gorgeous, bustling streets and back roads of Los Santos are chock-full of stuff to do, while the title’s unprecedented three-protagonist system propels you through a gripping story lined with superb, multilayered heists and unforgettable sequences that owe as much to the voice acting as they do the tight vehicular handling. The multiplayer remains prone to hiccups and the game definitely comes off as misogynistic, but frankly, it’s to be expected from GTA at this point.
The charming Ni no Kuni is a pleasure, described by some as Chrono Trigger crossed with Pokemon, in the style of Studio Ghibli, who actually worked on the game’s animation. It’s a sweeping cartoon adventure revolving around a simple boy named Oliver, who sets out to become a wizard in the hopes of toppling evil and saving his recently-departed mother. The timeless world is rich and inventive — whether talking scenarios, enemies, characters, or the surrounding locales — and the heartfelt themes and motifs make up for troublesome leveling mechanics. Drippy is also one of the best fairy sidekicks you ask for, on par with Ocarina of Time‘s Navi.
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption remains the undisputed sleeper hit of 2010. It’s essentially a GTA title set in the Wild West and built on all manners of western cliches. The deserted region you traverse as former outlaw John Marston is vast, peppered with memorable characters and a variety of optional activities, including everything from racing and roping to poker and hunting. The accompanying story and its melange of staggered climaxes are just as sublime, so much so that you often forget there’s an entire multiplayer component with a host of classic options to explore.
Uncharted 2 doesn’t really deviate from the first title in Naughty Dog’s smash series, and that’s fine by us? It once again stars world-class treasure hunter Nathan Drake and an entourage of familiar faces. Like its predecessor, it seamlessly blends platforming and shooting with a riveting storyline and deep levels of exploration. The competitive multiplayer and bundled game modes add to the fun, offering up an attractive perk system designed to keep you engaged beyond the 10-hour campaign. Now, if only the cover system worked better in tight spaces…
Portal 2 is a wonder to play, that is, assuming you can look past the lengthy load times and general lack of replay value. It features a welcome array of spatial orientation puzzles centered around the portal gun, much like its short predecessor, and includes both a story-driven single-player and a less story-driven two-player co-op campaign. Either way, the puzzles are more sophisticated and the characters more entertaining than before, the latter of which owes much to the game’s clever writing and Valve’s ability to bring a surprising human element to its cast of spherical robots and ghostly voices, featuring fantastic actors like Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons.
Assassin’s Creed V: Unity seemed awful, but largely because Black Flag was so mesmerizing. It features all the hallmarks of the series — clever stealth mechanics, high-flying acrobatics, a fluid combat system, etc. — while introducing a vibrant open world where resounding naval combat and a dynamic progression systems reign supreme. The story revolving around protagonist Edward Kenway is also fascinating, and though it’s a bit formulaic and repetitive in nature, it somehow manages to paint a less dismal portrait of pirates and the sea-faring life than most modern media.
Acclaimed game designer Ken Levine knows how to tell a great story — take BioShock Infinite as proof. The lofted, spirited world of Columbia is a sight to behold on foot or via skyline rail. Like any good story, Infinite also has the ability to tug at your emotions through incredible voicework and a mind-blowing plot that will leave your mouth agape when the credits roll. The gameplay can be customized to your preferences, too, with a gratifying swath of vigors, weapons, and upgrades to make you feel like more than just a man trying to wash away the sins of his past.
The crime-ridden, atmospheric metropolis of Gotham has never seemed more appealing than in Arkham City. The terrific adventure sees you grappling and soaring above the city as the everyone’s favorite superhero, before descending upon the streets and engaging in fast-paced combat with a bevy of notable Batman characters using your fists or a host of iconic gadgets. The story itself is lined with a vast assortment of side missions and nerdtastic lore as well, and features standout voice acting from the likes of Batman staples Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, and others.
In a nutshell, the evocative Journey is a third-person adventure title in which you cross the desert as a red-robed figure on a quest toward a mountain. However, it is just as much a work of artistic expression as it is a video game, reveling in dazzling animation and a highly-interpretive story that’s never clearly defined throughout the game’s short length. Nonetheless, it’s a joy to play alone or with any anonymous stranger who might wander into your game without notice. Moreover, gliding and sand surfing provides movement that’s as dynamic as the stirring music.
The third installment of LittleBigPlanet is just as quirky and playful as any platformer Sumo Digital has released to date. It shines when it comes to the rabbit-hole of a level editor and the sheer wealth of inventive gadgets if offers, even if its ineffective tutorials and bugs can sometimes interrupt the gameplay. The game’s new characters and items also substantially change the platforming mechanics, giving you a convenient means for flying (Swoop) and scrambling up walls (Odd Sock). And who doesn’t like clean visual design and Pug costumes?
Occasional disastrous glitches aside, New Vegas retains the winning formula Bethesda first forged in Fallout 3. The role-playing game features an expansive and detailed wasteland strewn with wide-ranging quests, along with a stellar soundtrack and voice work that buoy the prevailing atmosphere to great effect. The deep and flexible leveling and reputation system, the gravity of your choices, and the innate ability to play in either first or third-person allow for a multitude of approaches too, increasing the game’s replay value.
Fumito Ueda’s Shadow of the Colossus was great on the PlayStation 2, sure, but its even better remastered on the PS3. The larger-than-life title has you playing as the game’s two heroes, Wander and his horse Argo, shuffling you through a bleak and somber landscape as you work to eradicate a host of enormous colossi and wake your fair maiden from her slumber. The colossus fights make boss battles in any other game look small and prosaic by comparison. The short story and accompanying score are beautifully orchestrated — as are the updated visuals — but i’ts the way the puzzle and action mechanics seamlessly intertwine that makes it unlike anything else.
The world Bethesda conceived for the latest iteration of the Elder Scrolls is incredibly immersive and big; not just in terms of its massive map and overwhelming number of quests, but in the engrossing lore and battles themselves. Even in 2015 people still use it as a standard unit of measure for the scale of open-world RPGs. Fighting dragons is epic fun, of course, but the title’s subtle atmospheric touches and a stunning emphasis on art design give it the upper hand over its predecessors.