It’s no secret that of all their main consoles, the Playstation 3 is probably the least successful one—which doesn’t speak ill of the console at all.
On the contrary, it did very well against the competition of the day, beating the Xbox 360 and falling short only of the Nintendo Wii in overall console sales.
Like most cases, a console experience is only as good as the games one can play with it. And the PS3 did not disappoint, bringing to us in the early 2010s an array of games that gave us unforgettable and amazing gaming experiences.
Even after the PS4 came out, the PS3 was still good to go for playing some very good exclusives, and some would argue it’s XMB was actually more user friendly as a home-entertainment system.
Which is why when the news broke out that Sony would be pulling the plug on the PS3’s PSN Store on 2nd July 2021, it came as a shock to many, as it carried many implications. Not being able to buy digital copies of games is a bummer for those who have gone digital, but more seriously, it also means that some games are now at the risk of being lost to the void forever.
Unless you have a physical copy, or a secured digital copy, or if the game has HD remaster/remakes to next gen consoles, the game is going to be gone forever. No respawns. No continues.
So now the race is on. While the issue of game history preservation is a raging on as it were, we’re here to point you to (in no particular order) 5 games we fondly remember from the good old days of the PS3.
Some of them have been lucky to have received remaster ports to the other consoles, while others aren’t console exclusives. Some few however, are truly exclusive only to the PS3, and truly at the risk of being snapped away before they can say “they don’t feel so good”:
Having not made a big splash since the successful Sly Cooper series back in the PS2 era, Sucker Punch made it’s notable return to the PlayStation in 2009 by releasing Infamous—a third person action adventure game that attempts a video game take on the age old question of what you would do if you suddenly woke up with superpowers.
Would you be a boy-scout, or a nefarious meanie?
Players would find out their take, as they play Cole McGrath, an apparent nobody who gains electric powers which can be put to a lot of creative use—from zapping baddies or pedestrians, electric powered parkour, blasting stuff with plasma, or just straight up summon lightning from the heavens.
All this power is either kept in check or unleashed by the Karma system, which tracks Cole’s (meaning the player’s ethical stance) with their power usage, which can affect relationships, the game world’s reaction to you, and ultimately, the ending.
Moral code systems weren’t new before then, and many improvements on this have been done since then by it’s own sequels and other games. But when it came out, (especially against stiff competition like Prototype, against which comparisons were made) Infamous offered a very vivid and consequential feel to your efforts and antics across the game.
The game also did well in offering just enough tools and toys to keep things fresh while letting the player feel comfortable with the play experience.
The series has spawned successful sequels since, but it’s impossible to deny the successful and memorable impact that Infamous made in those early years. Infamous (and its sequels) are certainly a strong recommend.
4. Heavenly Sword
Before Ninja Theory became renowned through titles like DmC and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, there was 2007’s Heavenly Sword—a game which one could argue that Ninja Theory probably owes a thing or two for its future successes.
Set in a fantasy world setting with heavy medieval and eastern culture tones, the game centers around the Heavenly Sword, a mythical artefact with prophesized clashes between forces of good and evil.
Players see this all unfold through the eyes of Nariko, one of the PS3’s earliest solo female protagonists, and a damn good fighter at that—after all, this is a hack-and-slash action adventure game, with combat mechanics that had a mix of intricate melee combat and magic attacks.
Sounds cliché right? Not surprisingly, immediate comparisons were drawn to other well established hack-and-slashers like the God of War and Devil May Cry series. Sounds suicidal right?
Well, no actually. The game actually had its own flair in gameplay, but also made a very good showing in the story and audio/visuals aspects.
In fact, this game was well ahead of it’s time with the facial motion-capture elements in cutscenes. In a time when the PS3 just came out and was fumbling to get these intricacies right, Heavenly Sword managed to make the cutscene story telling a memorable one. And who better to demonstrate the facial motion mastery than the maestro himself Andy Serkis, who voice and mo-capped the villainous King Bohan in the game.
With strong elements in storytelling, visuals and gameplay, it’s a wonder the game never got a sequel. Still, it is worth a play—mind you, this is an exclusive!
3. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
2008 saw gaming’s most legendary bandana clad soldier agent Solid Snake take on his final mission 25 years since the franchise’s first release.
The now aptly named Old Snake finds himself in a world that thrives on war economy, with Metal Gears, nanomachines and AI powered systems steadily speeding the world towards insurrections and armageddon, no thanks to Liquid Ocelot and his machinations (Of course, it wouldn’t be Metal Gear if the story was this obvious now would it?).
Nevertheless, it’s up to Snake to put an end to all of it, but he’s got more challenges—he’s a ticking time bomb, with time being unkind to him over the years, as he visibly struggles through his accelerated ageing to finish the mission.
Hideo Kojima and Konami went all out to ensure that one of gaming’s most beloved characters had his last run in nothing short of a technical masterpiece, which stands well among the best even today. With more open maps and access to a plethora of weapons including portable railguns, the whole world is open to the player to engage in however they wanted to approach it. Guns blazing or sneak about? Your call.
The visuals, soundtrack and cutscenes were sublime. Speaking of cutscenes, it is worth noting that the exposition and story telling can be a bit heavy. With a lore of over 25 years to try and reach fitting conclusions, there’s a lot of cutscene time, clocking in at over 9 hours. The game still holds the Guinness world record for longest cutscene in a video game at 71 minutes.
For new players, it’s a hell of a game. For the series faithful, this was a hell of a nostalgia laden experience, and a tear jerking farewell to a legend. A game so good, that it was lauded as a technical masterpiece, and became benchmark of standard against which future PS3 games would be compared to.
My personal opinion is that the Metal Gear Solid series should have ended then and there (I see Survive, and I shudder.)
2. Fallout New Vegas
Ah, how the Fallout name has become sullied in this day and age, especially when I think back to the masterpiece that is Fallout: New Vegas.
Now, this might be a contentious opinion, but I’m just going to throw my hat in on this one—Fallout New Vegas is my favorite Fallout game. It is also one of my favorite RPG games. This game is available on the others, but the PS3 variant was particularly enjoyable for me.
While it used many of the styles and engine of Fallout 3, New Vegas still had a very strong showing on its own. As is with any Fallout game, New Vegas is a post-apocalyptic RPG, with you taking the role of a courier whose delivery goes awry, and now are on your own to fend for yourself in a hostile nuclear wasteland where anything and everything tries to kill you.
From bothersome radscorpions, man-eating super mutants, psycho robots and even giant lizards with a penchant for messing up your day pretty badly with one hit kills, the courier will face all manner of interesting ways to die while traveling throughout the Nevada state to complete their delivery.
It is possible to run into a deluded Julius Caesar and his ‘Roman’ army, or an elitist group of wannabe medieval knights a.k.a. the Brotherhood of Steel wearing super cool power armor and bearing laser gatling guns, among others.
And you? You can choose to be brainy and meddle with machines, or just be walking muscle mass mashing anyone in your way with super sledgehammers. You also have the power of slo-mo! The VATS mechanics allow players to be very creative in surgically taking out enemies, allowing for very gruesome combat indeed.
If you can move past a couple bugs here and there, the game promises days, nay weeks of fun.
1. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
It is not possible for me to talk about a great PS3 era experience without speaking of what I personally believe to be one of the greatest action-adventure hack-and-slash video games of all time, even by today’s standards.
It is also not possible for me to ignore the achievement that this game did, in redeeming a character from the original series in such emphatic fashion—from a labelled parody knockoff then turned into an emo glass cannon character, to arguably the most bad-ass cyborg ninja in all of video gaming.
I speak of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Rising), a spin-off of the then aptly concluded Metal Gear Series, featuring Raiden as the main character in a post MGS4 world rife with cybernetics and super advanced machines running point on human conflicts. PlatinumGames took on an extremely difficult task of repackaging and delivering a previously OK character from a tried-and-done universe in a more fresh and engaging manner.
And boy, did they deliver. In typical PlatinumGames fashion evident in their other games like Bayonetta, Vanquish (also great PS3 era games), the gameplay and mechanics feature blindingly fast and powerful swordplay and melee combat afforded by Raiden’s incredible cybernetic enhancements and his HF blades, allowing him to cut just about anything in sight.
No really, the game features a Zandatsu (Cut and Take) Mode where time slows down, and the analogs are used to make very precise cuts to expose enemy weak points, and it is so damn satisfying when you can pull off well timed parries that are followed by utterly devastating counter attacks. The battle system is sleek, easy to grasp but hard to master, which is just right. In the hands of a skilled player, watching combat in this game is poetry in motion.
And we haven’t even talked about the visual sound effects. The scale of some of the enemies in this game is titanic, with the very first boss of the game being a Metal Gear Ray, which serves to me as the best opening boss battle ever, showing off Raiden’s power and skill, and the tone of this game in relation to the original series.
The soundtrack—particularly the boss battle tracks, are among the best in action-adventure games, and will definitely hype up the intense 1v1 encounters that the battles would offer. The story is a bit meh, but Raiden’s personal development is organic and well brought out in line with his past showings.
A great game and a character redemption? Yes please!
And those are 5 games that are definitely worth a play from the PlayStation 3 era.
We’re sure there are plenty of others one could think of. If you’ve got any in mind, let us and your buddies know about it! This is a very good time to be keeping an eye out for some exclusives that may never ever show up in the digital libraries again.
So take it all in while we got them.