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The best PS3 games of all time: 15 games that levelled-up the industry

The best PS3 games are widely considered some of the most influential and enjoyable gaming experiences ever created. Here’s our list of the 15 best PS3 games of all time.

It’s easy to forget that the PS3 got off to a pretty rocky start when it launched in 2006. This was partly due to its hefty price tag and strong competition from the Xbox 360, but it really came down to the fact that the best PS3 games were still a long way from release.

Developers initially struggled to deliver quality PS3 games because the system wasn’t particularly easy to program for. However, as time went by and studios got their heads around the console’s intricacies, the power and potential of the PS3 became all too apparent. Here are the 15 best PS3 games, which when evaluated as a whole, demonstrate just how good the PS3 was.

best ps3 games
Image: Red Dead Redemption / Rockstar Games

Journey

When Journey first hit shelves in 2012 gamers weren’t sure what to make of it. Here was this beautiful game with a unique sense of artistry and flair, yet it didn’t really do what people expected a video game to do (at least in 2012).

Journey has no dialogue, combat, nor virtually any narrative exposition. Instead, the developers chose to rely on atmospheric music and environmental cues to tell their story of the rise and fall of a now forgotten civilisation. It’s an affecting, hugely influential, and emotionally rewarding experience that more than earns its place alongside the best PS3 games of all time.

Dark Souls

Dark Souls was so successful that it not only birthed a trilogy of acclaimed games, but is responsible for creating its own subgenre (Souls-like) of challenging action RPGs. Often mimicked and plagiarised but arguably never surpassed, the original Dark Souls was a ground-breaking gamechanger.

The game’s intricately interlocking level design, deep and intriguing lore, and hard-but-fair combat combined to create what is quite simply a must-try experience. Because if you haven’t been mercilessly pummelled into the afterlife by Asylum Demon, then you also haven’t played one of the best PS3 games available.

God of War 3

Before Kratos received a much-needed makeover in 2018’s God of War reboot he was a bloodthirsty killing machine with some unmistakable edge lord energy. And while I’d be lying if I said I missed him, the gauntlet of memorable action set pieces he battles through in God of War 3 combine to create a phenomenal PS3 game.

Honestly, within the first hour of gameplay you are doing battle with countless foes while riding on the back of a titan, as it and its ginormous brethren scale Mount Olympus so you can slay the gods. It’s fucking badass and God of War 3 is an undeniable video game blockbuster.

GTA V

You’d be forgiven for forgetting that GTA V is actually a PS3 game; considering that it is due to be released on a third generation of consoles in March 2022. However, it is – and it also happens to be one of the absolute best.

Combining the classic GTA formula of crime, freedom, fast cars and great tunes, with one of the biggest and most responsive open-worlds in video game history, GTA V has something to offer almost everyone. It’s so damn good (and popular) that all these years later Dr. Dre is releasing music exclusively though its online mode.

The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

Speaking of PS3 games that appear to have made a deal with the devil for immortality, Skyrim also refuses to be forgotten. The first game in Bethesda’s iconic Elder Scrolls series to be set in the frozen north of Tamriel, Skyrim places the player at the centre of a world exploding with prophecy, political intrigue, war and meddling gods.

So, you can find out what it means to be the ‘Dragonborn’… or you can literally just run off into the game’s stunning open-world and become the world’s foremost expert in Blacksmithing, or whatever else you bloody damn well want. Gorgeous, vast, immersive and one of the best PS3 games ever made.

Dead Space 2

If you like your games a little creepy then Dead Space 2 isn’t the game for you – this one right here is downright terrifying. Mixing its Resident Evil-inspired survival horror mechanics with a space station setting that oozes existential horror (as well as the gory kind), Dead Space 2 is an unforgettable ride into hell.

You once again take on the role of Isaac Clarke, the now heavily traumatised player character from the first game, after you wake up from a lengthy coma. Unfortunately, the horrific necromorphs (think Alien, but more corpselike) are far from finished with you, and round two is just about to begin. One of the scariest PS3 games, as well as one of the best.

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas is the best Fallout game since Fallout 2 and I am prepared to die on this hill. Screw Fallout 4 and its annoying settlement building side hustle. Fallout 3 had a great open-world full of solid environmental storytelling, but its characters and story aren’t particularly memorable.

Fallout: New Vegas is the GOAT because Obsidian Entertainment managed to create a world that is equal to the third and fourth instalments of the post-apocalyptic series, but they populated it with good writing, wit and decisions with real consequences. A classic RPG that stands tall amongst its fellow PS3 games.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

The Metal Gear Solid series, along with its mad genius creator Hideo Kojima, are synonymous with Sony and PlayStation. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Metal Gear Solid 4, the final chapter in Solid Snake’s narrative arc, is one of the best PS3 games ever made.

Polishing the stealth-based gameplay that he pioneered, Hideo Kojima imbues his game with memorable action set pieces, a fascinatingly bizarre narrative, a few awkward missteps, and a surprising amount of emotional weight. By the end of the game I was filled with joy, nostalgia and above all else sadness that it was over. An extremely ambitious near-masterpiece.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Before Cyberpunk 2077 fucked its shit up, the Deus Ex series had already created a working blueprint for how to execute a great cyberpunk RPG. Set in a near-future iteration of Detroit, the world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is full of political subterfuge, shady corporations, conspiracies and ability-enhancing technology.

You play as Adam Jensen who, for reasons we won’t go into (spoilers), finds himself at the centre of a debate regarding the ethics of cybernetic enhancement technologies. The game allows you to perform missions in a variety of ways, but considering how much fun the stealth action gameplay is I can’t imagine ever wanting to go in guns blazing. An oft-overlooked gem that should be remembered as one of the best PS3 games of all time.

 Batman: Arkham City

Despite Batman’s immense popularity, Spider-man had always been considered the undisputed champion when it came to superhero video game tie-ins. That all changed when Batman: Arkham City was released in 2009, levelling the playfield with a Batman video game experience unlike any before it.

What Arkham City gets so right is difficult to pin-down – sure the combat is great and the open-world design was best in show when it came out. But rarely has a game allowed you to step into an iconic character’s shoes and really make you believe that this is what it would feel like to be them. Arkham City accomplished that goal, and its a goddamn blast because of it.

The Last of Us

I was a little late to the party when it comes to The Last of Us. I think that I avoided it initially because I was kind of over the whole zombie apocalypse schtick, which was as rampant in 2013 as it still is now. What I didn’t understand at the time was that The Last of Us isn’t really about zombies or apocalypse, but a simple story of perseverance in the face of tragedy.

Oh, and I should probably say that it is possibly the most affecting video game ever made; I had tears welling up in my eyes before I’d even completed the first hour of the game. The Last of Us is gaming at its most cinematic and grandiose, despite rumours of a remake, its core elements remain beautifully intact.

Red Dead Redemption

Another open-world extravaganza from Rockstar Games, Red Dead Redemption transposes the key mechanics of their GTA games into a sweeping Western adventure. And let’s be real: while stealing cars is great and all, riding and developing a bond with a special horse is way better.

Red Dead Redemption isn’t so much an exercise in worldbuilding as it is a remarkable recreation of a time and place. This game is as close to the Wild West as any of us are likely to get (other than perhaps in this game’s sequel) and it ‘s also one of the best PS3 games ever made.

Portal 2

While everyone else was busy crafting huge open-worlds and hyperviolent shooters, Valve did something remarkably brave and different: they made a 3D platformer/puzzle game. That game was Portal 2, and it proved to be another masterstroke from a company that doesn’t really do games that are anything short of generation defining.

Fantastically clever writing, great voice actors, brilliant puzzle/level design and, well, it’s just flat-out fun. And before I forget: it’s probably the best two player co-op game ever.

Uncharted: Among Thieves

The Uncharted games comprise one of the most acclaimed series in the history of all video games, and Uncharted: Among Thieves sits comfortably at the peak of their reputation. It’s an adventure game that banks hard on two important factors: fun gameplay and likeable characters.

Series’ protagonist Nathan Drake and his crew more than hold down the second part of that equation, and Naughty Dog are in a class of their own when it comes to designing action-adventure games. Essentially, it’s Indiana Jones sans that hat he’s always losing, and I mean that in the most positive way possible.

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