Feature

Top 25 PlayStation 3 Games

by Joe Juba on Jul 18, 2014 at 06:00 AM

When the PlayStation 3 launched in November of 2006, some gamers wondered whether Sony's system would be able to catch up to the Xbox 360's one-year head start. However, even at a higher price point, the PS3 gained traction. Years later, it even overtook the 360 in worldwide sales. Of course, a console is nothing without great games, and the PlayStation 3's success can be attributed to a healthy portfolio of multiplatform hits alongside a broad selection of fun and innovative exclusives. We sorted through the entire library and picked the top 25 games on the PS3.

We've already covered the top 25 Wii games and the top 25 Xbox 360 games. As with our 360 list, we elected to choose only one game from a series for the PS3. Not filling up the list with Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty titles leaves more room to recognize other outstanding franchises and standalone games. Even then, the competition was fierce, and cutting the list down to only 25 entries caused plenty of arguments in the Game Informer office. 

You'll probably disagree with some of our choices, too. But that's all part of the fun.    

25. LittleBigPlanet 2 (2011)

On one hand, LittleBigPlanet 2 is a charming and lighthearted platformer. On the other hand, it’s a robust creation tool that transcends genre boundaries. Media Molecule's ability to bring these facets together allows players to enjoy a wide array experiences. With great out-of-the-box levels and user-made ones – plus the ability to create your own stages and games – LittleBigPlanet 2 is the complete package.
(Read our full review here)

24. Far Cry 3 (2012)

Filling an open world with worthwhile content isn’t easy. Ubisoft packed Far Cry 3 with tons of activities that ensure players always have something fun to do, like taking down outposts, crafting new items, and hunting animals around the island. Aside from fun missions and satisfying gunplay, Far Cry 3 also introduced us to Vaas Montenegro – a violent and compelling villain.
(Read our full review here)

23. Dark Souls II (2014)

Old-school difficulty came roaring back in the last generation with the Souls series, and Dark Souls II captures everything that is great about an unforgiving game. Monsters kill you in a single hit, other players invade your world, and danger lurks around every corner. For those with the patience for demanding combat and precise timing, RPGs don’t get more satisfying than this.
(Read our full review here)

22. The Walking Dead: Season 1 (2012)

Changing the way we viewed episodic and story-driven experiences, Telltale’s take on The Walking Dead franchise captivated players. Instead of focusing on traditional gameplay mechanics, this adventure game puts difficult choices and interesting characters in the spotlight. Even with some action sequences, the real draw is seeing how your decisions affect your companions through all five chapters.
(Read our full review of the final installment here)

21. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

With a vast open world, tons of interesting quests, and great character progression, Skyrim has an overwhelming amount of quality content. Whether you’re finishing guild missions or systematically collecting words of power, you always have something awesome to do. As a whole, Skyrim is the best RPG of the generation – but PlayStation 3 owners received a significantly diminished experience. Lag, bugs, and other performance issues made the game difficult to enjoy. Several patches later, the dust has settled, and Skyrim is a great addition to the PS3 library…but the PC and 360 versions still have the edge.
(Read our full review here)

20. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012)

The resurrection of XCOM was exciting for old-school PC gamers, but being a fan of the original isn’t necessary to enjoy Firaxis’ reboot. Your squad is responsible for keeping the alien menace in check during strategic, turn-based encounters. The difficulty is high – a single wrong move can kill a soldier you spent time developing – but that raises the stakes and makes you more attentive to research and upgrades back at XCOM HQ.
(Read our full review here)

19. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2010)

“Multiplayer” is the first word that comes to mind in relation to Battlefield, but Bad Company 2 proved the series can also have compelling single-player content. Following the 222nd Army Battalion, the cinematic tale presents likeable characters and a more lighthearted tone, all with fun gunplay and tight controls. The multiplayer is also the best Battlefield offered this generation.
(Read our full review here)

18. Rock Band 2 (2008)

It wasn’t the first or last entry in the Rock Band series, but Rock Band 2 is the standout. Who doesn’t have fond memories of rocking out with friends at a party with this game? Coming out at the height of the music game craze, Harmonix’s sequel has one of the best soundtracks assembled for a video game. In addition, plenty of follow-up tracks were available as DLC.
(Read our full review here)

17. Braid (2009)

Though it was initially exclusive to the Xbox 360, PS3 owners eventually got their hands on Braid in 2009. Jonathan Blow’s exceptional puzzle game became the definitive indie experience of the generation, combining a striking art style, elegant-yet-challenging mechanics, and complex themes. Seeing the story come together is just as rewarding as figuring out the solutions to the brain-bending puzzles.

16. Dead Space (2008)

Hailed as the return of classic survival horror, Dead Space was an unconventional title for EA. This tense and isolating trek through an abandoned spaceship hits all the right scary notes; dismemberment, scarce resources, and a few jump scares create a terrifying atmosphere. The sequels brush some of the horror elements aside, but that doesn’t diminish the brilliance of the original.
(Read our full review here)

15. Borderlands (2009)

Today, the Borderland series is defined by its crazy characters, gonzo action, and bizarre humor. It’s hard to believe that Gearbox was initially going to go in a more serious direction, but the team made the right call in the end. The open-world FPS/RPG has plenty of loot, badass enemies, and more guns than you would ever know what to do with…besides shooting them, of course.
(Read our full review here)

14. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)

The final chapter in the saga of Solid Snake is a fitting tribute to one of gaming’s legendary figures. A new control scheme makes sneaking around and taking down guards more satisfying than ever, and the variety of paths through any given obstacle is astounding. This PS3 exclusive answers most of the series’ lingering questions, ties up the loose ends, and sends Solid Snake off on a high note.

13. Fallout 3 (2008)

The original Fallout titles are isometric strategy games, but Bethesda’s first-person follow-up retains the grim vibe of the post-apocalyptic world. The wasteland is full of strange characters, interesting choices, and mutated enemies. Staying alive involves judicious use of VATS – a tactical combat system that keeps encounters interesting without being pure point-and-shoot affairs. Who would have thought that nuclear desolation could be so fun?
(Read our full review here)

12. Mass Effect 2 (2011)

An amazing cast of characters, refined combat mechanics, and a stunning suicide mission with far-reaching consequences are just a few reasons to love the second entry in BioWare’s sci-fi trilogy. As great as this game is, the PS3 version lags behind its 360 counterpart; the digital comic book at the beginning is a poor substitute for actually playing the first game (which was 360-only until December 2012), and several moments in ME 2 are diminished by the lack of context.
(Read our full review here)

11. Journey (2012)

Explaining Journey is difficult: You control a guy in a red robe, and walk around various environments trying to make your scarf longer. However, the quiet moments of reflection accompanying the jaw-dropping art style are what make Journey unforgettable. If you manage to find a friend along the way, traversing the desert via wordless cooperation is one of the best multiplayer experiences of the generation.
(Read our full review here)

10. Portal (2007)

When The Orange Box first came out, it was a fantastic bargain. Valve included Half-Life 2 and two add-on episodes, as well as Team Fortress 2. However, the standout in the package was a quirky, short, first-person puzzle game called Portal. Players use a space-bending gun to complete tests, all while listening to dubious instructions from a malicious A.I. named GLaDOS. It turned into a phenomenon, and with good cause. This funny, challenging oddity wasn’t just a pleasant surprise – it was a triumph.

9. Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)

This is the Batman game that fans of the character always knew was possible. Developer Rocksteady Studios harnessed every aspect of the caped crusader’s persona – the genius detective, the martial arts expert, the shadowy stalker – to create an authentic experience. The group-focused, timing-based combat makes you feel powerful, but not invincible, forcing you to constantly calculate your odds. With top-notch voice talent bringing the characters to life and a plethora of nods to the larger fiction, Arkham Asylum gives a second chance to a character that video games had left for dead.
(Read our full review here)

8. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010)

Each Assassin’s Creed title contributes new things to the series in different ways, but Brotherhood stands apart as the gameplay pinnacle. Though Assassin’s Creed II came close to taking the nod, Brotherhood’s improved combat and economy give it an edge. It also adds the ability for Ezio to call in initiates to help, giving you even more options for stealth assassinations. This entry is also the first appearance of the unique multiplayer mode, but even without that, the single-player refinements put Brotherhood at the top of the order.
(Read our full review here)

7. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)

The jump in quality from Uncharted to Uncharted 2 is one of the best surprises of the generation. Cinematic camera work, astounding set-piece moments, improved gunplay, and flawless pacing turned this motley band of thieves into video game A-listers. Exciting action sequences blend seamlessly into emotional moments, and the natural banter between characters like Drake, Sully, and Elena makes them feel like real people. Uncharted 2 set the bar so high that Uncharted 3 couldn’t quite measure up, leaving the second entry the best of Drake’s PS3 adventures.
(Read our full review here)

6. God of War III (2010)

Kratos’ revenge did not stop with killing Ares. His war against the gods of Olympus continued, and God of War III is the culmination of the rampage. The stylish blade-swinging combos are fun and easy to perform, and the sheer level of spectacle reaches new heights. Featuring the series’ best combat engine and its most brutal kills, God of War III make you wince just as often as it leaves you staring and amazed. Pushing the hardware to its limits, the visuals here are easily among the best of the generation. Kratos’ future is a mystery, but no matter what happens, God of War III will be remembered as one of the defining moments of the PS3’s lifespan.
(Read our full review here)

5. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)

Call of Duty was a big deal before, but Modern Warfare turned it into the annual juggernaut that we see today. The multiplayer mode deserves most of the credit for this transformation; an innovative leveling system and a steady stream of perks and rewards make it easy to get hooked. This unprecedented level of multiplayer depth changed the shooter landscape, but the single-player campaign also impressed with its fine-tuned, compact action. Well-designed missions and bombastic set-piece sequences round out the experience, making Modern Warfare a perfectly balanced FPS masterpiece.

4. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

Each game in the Grand Theft Auto series is an industry-changing event, so choosing just one to represent such a wide array of innovations and influences is difficult. It was a close battle, but Grand Theft Auto V takes the prize thanks to Rockstar’s strides forward in gameplay. Tighter shooting mechanics, more responsive driving, and thrilling heist missions make Los Santos the ultimate urban playground. Plus, the sheer scale of the city and variety of environments is mind-boggling. Nico Bellic from GTA IV definitely deserves all the attention he gets, but GTA V is just too hard to top.
(Read our full review here)

3. BioShock (2008)

If you just want a game where you shoot bad guys and fire off magic powers, BioShock isn’t for you. It certainly has those elements, but the sophisticated storytelling and complex themes elevate the action beyond any other FPS of the generation. As you fight through the underwater utopia of Rapture, you see the story of the city written in the ruins of once-great buildings and the corpses of creatures who used to be human. You transform yourself with Plasmids, which grant powers like telekinesis and lighting bolts, and you use these abilities to fight off Rapture’s most fearsome protectors: Big Daddies. The battles allow you to combine your abilities in many ways, letting you develop your own play style. This freedom, combined with the unique setting, make BioShock a must-play. It came out later on PlayStation3, but Irrational Games’ philosophical shooter is fantastic regardless of platform.
(Read our full review here)

2. Red Dead Redemption (2010)

Before Red Dead Redemption, no Western-themed game had even come close to capturing the tone of the great Western movies. Then Rockstar gave us John Marston. The gruff hero has all the makings of a classic cowboy, and the sprawling world lets players engage in all sorts of activities that complete the fantasy. Shootouts in dusty streets, gambling in saloons, and even basic farm chores help you become part of Wild West. The story follows classic beats of revenge and redemption, and even the most stoic cowboys will shed a tear at the ending. Red Dead Redemption is truly unique, and unlike any other game of the generation in the best ways possible.
(Read our full review here)

1. The Last Of Us (2013)

Zombies are so played out, right? Wrong. The team at Naughty Dog puts a remarkable twist on the zombie apocalypse, depicting the bleak existence of the humans who remain years after the initial outbreak. The setting is compelling, but the best part of the Last of Us is the interactions between Joel and Ellie as they search for hope. Players use stealth to avoid the zombies, and guns along with brutal melee attacks when combat breaks out. The most dangerous foes are other humans, who are desperate to survive in the crumbling world. With an expert mix of storytelling, character development, action, and top-tier visual presentation, The Last of Us is as good as it gets – not only on PlayStation 3, but for the last generation as a whole.
(Read our full review here)